If you are single and homeless, aged 18+ and you're in the London Borough of Bromley, then LATCH may be able to help you.
You could be placed in a family home, with your housing benefit being paid to the host family as rent. For more information, please contact a member of the LATCH team on 0208 460 0042 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please view this short video about LATCH clients, why they came to LATCH, their journey with LATCH and what three things they would wish for.
Our thanks and gratitude to Ellie Turner, LATCH Design Consultant for creating this video and to Simon Parga Photography for the professional filming and photography.
Below are two stories, written by previous clients of LATCH, in their own words.
My name is Yannick, I am 22 years old. I am from Douala, the economical capital of Cameroon, where I was born and brought up. I left my mother-land in 2010, when I was 17 years old, to come to the UK as a student. And as a 17-year-old student, leaving my family and the comfort of our home, was going to show me a different aspect of life, from the one I was used to.
For the first time in my life, I had to work hard in order to guarantee myself a place to stay, the next-month-rent and a mouth to feed, mine... However, working hard in the UK when you are a foreigner is not enough; you always have to be in accordance with the country guidelines, rules and requirements regarding foreigners. In my case, it happened that at some point in my life here, I was not. So things got complicated.
As I could not go back home for many reasons, I decided to stay and face the challenge. Living in this condition was tough at the beginning, but I got used to it. The most difficult moments of my life during that period, that I will never forget, were when some people would abuse me, because they knew that I had no right, so I could not complain. And these people were friends of mine and we were living together until they decided to kick me out of the house. I was depressed, sad and aggressive. But I was lucid enough to manage to contain myself and carry on.
Then in late 2014, I asked a gentleman called Brian, whom I had met a few months earlier at a church, to put me up for some time, which he kindly accepted under no condition; so I moved into his flat. However, I was still a burden for him and that created a bad atmosphere and a lots of tension among us.
I lived with Brian for about six months until he asked me to leave. But thank God, by that time I was back on track. I had been able to sort out my immigration issue during that period. Then I went to Bromley Council, as Brian lives in Penge, to seek help. From there, I was sent to the Bromley Homeless Shelter (BHS), which is a non-profit organization of men and women volunteer, united with a common mission to give homeless people a warm and safe place to sleep and a hot meal and also to support them to rebuild their lives. This is where The Latch Project was introduced to me for the first time.
I was given the contact details of LATCH by the BHS administration and told to call the number on it. When I called, I came across a lovely voice that asked me to come to the office in Bromley, for a face-to-face conversation. When I got to the office, I met two ladies, Nana-Ama and Jackie, who then went through various checks to get to know me; as the procedure requires. Afterward, I needed to wait until the first host raised his/her hand for me. After one or two months, my first host came forward and picked me. I was enormously happy! I was about to leave a life full of stress and uncertainties.
My first host was a lady, who was a nice and a cheerful person. When I met her for the first time, I was a bit nervous, because I didn't know whether I would be able to keep her smiling for the next two months. But eventually, things went well, thanks to the advice of Jackie and Nana-Ama, who were always there to back me up.
After a few months, Jackie thought that I was mature enough to handle myself in a responsible way, so she decided to put me forward for a flat which was being offered at the time. This was progress. All the conditions were now united for me to move forward, especially when you have people such Nana-Ama and Jackie to support you. These people at that time were my fuel, they were the reason why I wouldn't misbehave. At my age, I think it is essential, because it will definitely determine the type of person I will be in the future. And I can say today that thanks to The Latch Project, my future is hopeful.
LATCH helped me in a time of need, when I was having home issues and couldn't live where I was anymore. I was put in a hostel before being taken on by LATCH. It wasn't very nice and I didn't feel safe but then LATCH got in touch and offered to house me with a host family. I was so excited when I got the call as it meant I could feel a bit safer and feel better about where I lived.
Meeting the host was great, it wasn't awkward at all and they were very welcoming. They made me feel at home, I didn’t feel like I was being forced to do anything. I was settled in no time with my host and they helped me learn life skills and helped me to feel at ease. LATCH kept in touch all the time and were always there when I needed them.
When the time came for me to move out of my hosts house and into my own flat I was nervous. It's a big step in life to take and I was alone, but I didn't feel alone as I had the support of both LATCH and my host.
Now I am settled into my own flat and am getting on so well! I've never been better and LATCH still keep in touch to see how I am.
I want to thank LATCH for all of the help they gave me!
My name is Fatima, I am 23 years old now and I am one of the lucky youngsters who has been helped by the LATCH Project. One morning in November 2012, I was told by my stepmother to leave the family home with a pretext that I was old enough to live my own life and also that she couldn’t afford to take care of me anymore - meanwhile her own children who aren’t my father’s could stay, but not me. At first I thought it was a joke so didn’t take it seriously but later realised that it wasn’t when she gave a month's notice to leave the house. I was really stunned by her attitude but most of all by my dad's reaction- he didn’t even say a word and approved of her decision to throw me out of the family home. That’s where my troubles started because I didn’t have anywhere to go.
First, I went to the housing department in Bromley to explain my problem thinking I could get help from them but I was wrong 'cause all they did is gave a list of rental accommodation agencies to call before I could get they help. Unfortunately all these agencies were asking for a deposit which I couldn’t afford to pay because I was just working part-time and studying full-time at Bromley College. Having nowhere to stay, I started to asked friends if I could at least stay with them for some days until the time I found a place. So I was living a kind of gypsy life moving around from place to place until my college directed me to LATCH.
I was sent to Nicky and after hearing my story said she would be able to help me but I’d have to wait after Christmas because the host she could place me with was on holiday. But she made sure that I had a place to stay until the time they would place me with a host. Soon after Christmas, as promised, I was immediately placed with a host whose house wasn’t far from my college and work. I was now able to concentrate on my study which was disturbed due to my situation.
The LATCH project even helped me to sort out my housing benefit and other problems I had to deal with, with the help of one of their wonderful support workers. She helped me and dealt with everything little problem I had during my stay and even more. She always made sure that I was fine and wasn’t stressed out and also that my study was going well. She was always there for me and was always there to listen to me.
The LATCH project even helped me with my university application form. With the help of LATCH, I had my life back and due to them I will be able to start University in September in Aberdeen Scotland in Biomedical Science. I just can’t thank them enough for helping me and also because due to them, I am able to look at the future on a brighter side. I am really grateful for what they did for me and can’t thank them all enough.
Fatima, age 23
Where do I start? Life for me got so difficult and unbearable that I didn't know what to do anymore. Sitting on a bench, no home, no clothes, no shelter, no certain future, all my dreams shattered, and suddenly thoughts of education came up to my mind and I remembered my grandma's saying, 'No matter how hard it gets for you in life, never give up on education' and I got up, had £12 left in my pocket and got on the bus and went straight to my college. When I got there I saw this opportunity, this light and a sense of 'Everything is going to be okay' I told my teacher about my situation and she immediately referred me to her colleague who happened to know about Latch Project and booked an appointment for 10 AM for the next morning. I still remember the date, 5th October 2012.
That's when I first met Nici, a happy big smile on her face, such kindness from her, a loving and caring person, was the first impression I got from her. She gave me a form and I filled it up and she told me to wait to hear from her if she's got a place for me to stay for the night. My luck and my good references got me place literally the same day. It was so amazing that even Nici was surprised at how quickly I got a place the first day. It was unusual thing at Latch due to shortage of hosts at Latch and due to high rates of young homeless people coming in at Latch to get a place to live. By 8 o'clock that night I was already lying on a bed for the first time in three weeks.
My new life began. I was determined, focused, and knew what I was doing. Latch gave me my lost confidence back. It showed me that there are people out there who aren't cruel and want to destroy your life. It reminded me to stay kind. I don't know where I would've been if charities like Latch didn't exist. Not only me but hundreds of other young people that are out there, homeless, desperate and needy. It is hard.
Now two years down the road and I am about to leave for University. One of the top 20 Universities in Britain. A next step in my life and I know I will get to where I want to be. I can't say how thankful I am to my teachers, to Latch and Latch hosts who guided me at all times, who provide me an opportunity and hope and who let me stay in their home and be part of their family. For everyone out there who are struggling and confused, just remember there's always a way out only if you REALLY want it. Life doesn't become sunshine and rainbows by itself but you have to make it like that by hard work, determination, sacrifice and focus.
Thank you Latch and a BIG special thank you to Nici. You are a star!
Isaac, age 21