Formerly homeless man thanks Hitchin community for kind-hearted furniture donations

North Herts Sanctuary resident Billy has been the recipient of an outpouring of Hitchin community kindness. Picture: Haven...

North Herts Sanctuary resident Billy has been the recipient of an outpouring of Hitchin community kindness. Picture: Haven First - Credit: Archant

A formerly homeless man who turned his life around after working with a hostel in Hitchin has thanked the community for its support as he prepares for life in his new home.

Billy, who went to the Haven’s Hitchin site after being released from prison in 2019, has shared his inspiring story after overcoming homelessness with help from the team at Haven First – formerly known as Stevenage Haven.

After his time in prison, Billy’s relationship with his family became strained and he registered himself as homeless with North Herts District Council – which referred him to the Haven’s site in Nightingale Road.

Billy described his time at the Haven: “It is a very nice place, and staff are brilliant, but now I have a place to call home.”

During his stay at the hostel, he managed to rebuild a working relationship with family and friends, and addressed other issues that led to him becoming homeless last year.

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Working closely with Charles, his ‘floating support worker’, Billy found a self-contained property in Letchworth which will now be his home.

He’ll be close to his family and support network, which Haven First say is an essential when taking the next step from homelessness.

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Although Billy has found accommodation that suits him and his needs, the property comes completely unfurnished which puts him in a difficult position.

Haven First reached out to supporters who could spare furniture to help Billy, and were “overwhelmed” by the amount of donations they were offered.

A spokeswoman for Haven First said: “It’s so important for people like Billy to be around their support networks and therefore this property in Letchworth is the only option for Billy.

“We have been utterly overwhelmed by the generosity of the community of Hitchin in response to the furniture appeal for Billy.

“We have managed to arrange donations for every single item Billy needed, the only thing we’re still looking for is an electric cooker.

“We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has offered donations of furniture and money to support his move on. It’s the support we receive from the community that really helps us do what we do so thank you again!”

“Just like Billy, we couldn’t do what we do without our support network, so thank you!”

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