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Hugo & The Streets: Youth Homelessness

Updated: Jul 4, 2020

This post is our CEO's experience of homelessness when he was 18. This blog post marked the beginning of what would later become the Cardon Banfield Foundation, in November 2015. This blog post is taken from our predecessor organisation 'Hugo's Earthquake'.


Hey there, if you don’t know me I think it’s a good idea to mention now that trying to prevent Youth Homelessness is one of the topics that I have SO much passion for. This stems from personal experience of being homeless/roofless and moving on with my life to the point of happiness with how far I have come.

I’ll take you back to when I was 18:

In November 2008 I split from my ex-partner whom I lived in Hereford with. I was in college and family relationships were strained and nearly broken completely. I sofa-surfed for most of 3 months until I was finally housed in a outreach supported house in January 2009. The sofa surfing lost me many friends by the end of it and I had to drop out of college fairly quickly into December because I couldn’t sustain my education whilst I had no home. Just before becoming homeless, I was recruited as a member on the Herefordshire Shadow Board for young people by College which met monthly and talked about different policy that would effect young people in the County. This Board would later become where my youth work career was born.

I was made homeless. I had my worldly belongings on me in a sports bag and a rucksack… 2 bags with my life in them. I had 20p in my pocket for over 6 weeks, could not work, could not claim benefit, could not do anything other than call up anyone I could to get somewhere to stay that night. I sometimes stayed on Nightstop which is a charitable programme where you are put up by a host family for a night – fed, watered, hot water and a bed for the night or more.

SHYPP in Hereford were my lifesavers and without them, I would not be here at all today – FACT.

SHYPP, which celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary when I was in the service, were the key to me being able to get a flat, gain employment and eventually get to University! But before all of that, they offered me a support worker who became the person I relied on for everything. Alongside that they also gave me counselling and this enabled me to have my 1 hour in the week to vent and let off steam/cry… Sometimes it would be endless crying.

When I was walking around each day because I couldn’t stay in SHYPP, Nightstop or the Library I was calling people, going to the Council and trying to get food – I walked over the Wye Bridge to go to Asda.. With the mentality and situation I was in, I thought it would be easier to jump into the murky waters below. However something stopped me every time… I had a warm feeling inside because I knew that my worker, counsellor and friends were there for me. My drive and determination to get better from this situation was what stopped me from ending it.

However there was a night that neither SHYPP, friends or anyone else could help me with. When I had no where to stay, I rung up Herefordshire Council to see if they had emergency accommodation for that night. The answer wasn’t just a simple no..

"You’re 18, single male and can fend for yourself. Go sleep under the bridge"

To which I asked, in shock but determination, could they provide a blanket, pillow and duvet for me to do that she just simply said “no”.

It was this night when I slept in the lobby of Hereford’s Lloyds TSB Bank (below), inside the brown door below on a Wednesday night.

(Picture credit:

This was the night my life went somewhere I never imagined. I was on my own with my only belongings in the 2 bags that I had on me. No money. No covers. Only the clothes I was wearing. I was quite warm, I had eaten a little and I was above a CCTV camera in a sheltered cashpoint lobby… It was something.

What did I feel that night? How did I feel?