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Working with William for a new start

Ilayda Cakir, Stories Officer

Alison, Marc and Bill smiling broadly

William* was in a difficult situation when he came to the Birmingham Skylight. He was experiencing homelessness while he applied for asylum. But thanks to supporters like you, our colleagues Alison, Marc and Bill were able to work together as a team to help William in a time of need.

Initially, William’s Lead Worker Alison supported William with his accommodation. And when she went on maternity leave in 2021, Marc stepped straight in to take her place by William’s side.

“Crisis is really good at building relationships with people and sticking with them, seeing the longer term picture – ending homelessness is more complicated than just giving someone a roof.” – Bill, clinical psychologist

Support beyond accommodation

Our support goes far beyond simply accommodation, particularly in a case like this. Bill, a clinical psychologist at Crisis, explains, “Marc was doing English work with William and supporting him generally with food banks and his relationship with his solicitor. I was working with William on his mental health.”

William’s application for asylum had, frustratingly, been rejected. It became clear that he needed a medical legal report to help his case. Marc got in touch with Freedom from Torture, a charity who could make this happen.

Marc says, “Eventually William was seen and I went along as a chaperone to appointments. There were three: two of them were for his mental health assessment and the third one was physical. They had to do a physical report, so I prepared William for that.”

A bigger, holistic picture

Marc and Bill provided evidence to support William’s case and they both went with him to his appeal hearing at court.

It had been a lengthy and complicated process, but about three weeks later, just before Christmas, William got the long-awaited result that his appeal had been successful.

Bill says, “Taking that kind of bigger, holistic picture and taking the long term view, I think those are both really important factors especially for William. If it hadn’t been for Crisis being with him, he just would have fallen through because there’s no one really that leads them all the way through this process.”

It’s thanks to the ongoing support from generous people like you that members can access support like this.

“It’s so brilliant to hear about William. A lot of people are in a situation, similar to William’s, where they don’t feel comfortable talking about their traumatic experiences or giving the level of detail they need to. The system needs to give people time and keep it within that first application rather than force them through an appeal.” – Alison, William’s initial Lead Worker

*This story reflects a real member’s experience, but we have changed his name out of respect for his privacy. 

Photo credit: Angela Franklin

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