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Dean's Story

Dean's Story

Dean was a young teenager when he entered the care system. He spent 5 years in care before becoming homeless at 18.

Thankfully Dean was able to access the support of organisations like Simon Community and has been living in our Belfast Foyer accommodation, a service for young people aged 18-25, for 6 months.

Recalling his first 24 hours at the Belfast Foyer, Dean describes the experience as nerve-wracking. "It was hard to get used to living with so many people, but the staff were helpful and welcoming."

For Dean, overcoming the loneliness he felt was a significant challenge when he arrived at our doors. We are able to offer a range of activities that provide opportunities for young people like Dean to make new friends, learn about cooking, play games, or go to the gym or on social outings together.

These activities, and the supportive environment, helped Dean gradually adapt and build meaningful connections. He found a balance between his work and personal life.

"The staff at Simon Community are here 24/7 – I always know help is there when needed," Dean was able to work with the team at the Foyer to create a support plan and look at options for how he can finally have a home of his own.

Meg, Simon Community Activities Coordinator, speaks highly of Dean’s progress “Dean has been working on himself and holding down a job since the day he walked through the Foyer. He puts in the work and is a credit to himself.”

Dean's has recently received an offer for his own home and he has been accepted into Belfast Met, where he hopes to start classes in September. Dean's hopes for the future extend beyond personal success; he wants to pursue a career in social work and support others who have faced similar experiences in homelessness and care backgrounds.

Every year, around 120 care leavers become homeless in Northern Ireland. Young people who are leaving care face significant increased risk of homelessness as a result of a lack of family support, limited access to stable homes and, frequently, trauma stemming from their childhood experiences.

A safe and secure home is more than just a roof over someone’s heads – it is the foundation from which young people like Dean can build their lives and futures. Young care leavers have often already faced so much and, despite their increased vulnerability, are not prioritised in the allocation of social housing. We need this to change.

Click below to watch Dean's story in his own words: