Keon highlights the importance of our homelessness service

Keon York explains how our homelessness service in Ealing has helped to turn his life around.
Mani Mahil, Keon York and Jo Evans
The 68-year-old became homeless in February 2019 following the breakdown of his marriage and found himself sleeping wherever he could, including inside his car.

After several months of rough sleeping, Keon received support from the local authority and was helped to find a studio flat. However, as time went on, Keon began to struggle with his finances and could no longer keep up with the higher rent and utility bills – and faced the real prospect of being homeless once again.

It was not until the local council referred him to our supported services where he began to slowly get his life back on track.

In February 2023, Keon was offered a place at Brentside Cottage in Ealing – our scheme provides support to adults who are often in vulnerable circumstances, and they are helped on their way to living healthy and independent lives.

Seven months on, Keon really enjoys living there and is full of praise for colleagues who have helped him with his health, budgeting money and with his search for a place of his own.

He said: “Services like this are very important when you consider where I was. I was struggling and got a little depressed because I never had no one that was helping me – I was on my own for 18 months.”

He added: “Having people to talk to you, I’ve never really had that support from most of the other places I’ve been, it makes a lot of difference.”

Keon singles out Mani (Support Officer) and Sharon (Intensive Housing Management Officer) for all the support they have given him, including always being there to talk to, helping out with tricky forms, and in his search for a place of his own.

He said: “I’m very good with Mani and Sharon. Sharon comes to the house two or three times a week and spends a few hours. Mani phones me more or less every week, its actually good since I’ve been with them.

“If I need paperwork to fill out, I can call them and they will help me and explain what to do.”

Part of the support colleagues provide is to help residents to live independent lives once again, and Keon is looking forward to his upcoming house viewing.

He said: “I have a house viewing coming up and if it’s a nice little place I’ll take it, because I can paint and put my own stamp on it.”

Keon is upbeat about what the future holds, and admits he would like to stay in touch with staff when he does eventually move out of our scheme.

He said: “I would miss staff here, I don’t think I would stop speaking to someone like Mani and Sharon. Being there is their job, but I think we’ve built a relationship in that time whereby even though you move on, you can still have correspondence, I think that would happen.”

Read more about supported housing