Kola’s story

by admin on 23 March 2016

Thank you to Josh Halliday, reporting in The Guardian, for highlighting the experiences of people who are homeless in Birmingham, and for spending time with us at SIFA Fireside. And a big thank you to our client, Kola, for sharing his story.

Growing up in Nigeria, Kola was top of his class in almost every subject and had a bright future ahead of him. But in December 2003, everything changed. Kola then 20 years old, was driving when he was involved in a car crash. He suffered severe head injury and broken bones and was in intensive care for three months. When he was discharged, he could not walk and found he had to re-learn even the simplest things.

Kola, now 32, has been homeless in Birmingham for four years. He came to Britain in 2009 to study on a scholarship paid for by his secondary school in Nigeria but his study plans went awry due to complications and so being determined to make the most of life, he found another course and an evening job, but one night after work, he returned to his rented flat to find the locks had been changed. He had been evicted without notice and the landlord, he says, gave him no explanation.

He became homeless, sleeping in the park and foraging for food from local fast-food restaurant bins.  He then began sleeping in a multi-storey car park and was there for three years, but he was beaten and robbed on more than one occasion.

We met Kola a few months ago and with our support Kola has been able to find a hostel. Kola doesn’t drink, smoke, or do drugs and despite his circumstances maintains a positive attitude to life.  Since his accident, he sees each day as a blessing. He has no recourse to public funds – nor does he want to claim benefits – so most places won’t house him. He has a job interview shortly and if successful this means he will be able to pay his way and find long-term accommodation.

See the full story at http://www.theguardian.com/…/a-night-on-the-streets-britain…

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