Mo* first came to Barnabus in September 2021, he had just been released from prison without an exit plan for anywhere to stay. He went to his previous address and discovered this was boarded-up and because he didn’t have any benefits in place, the only option was to sleep rough.

Many people successfully engage with rehabilitation during their sentence and make huge strides in recovery but the stress and trauma of sleeping rough and a lack of hope for the future after serving time can often result in re-offending. This is sadly a common story we see as people are offered little to no support as they leave prison and move straight from prison onto the streets.


Surviving and bedding down on the streets of a city like Manchester is scary and dangerous. Mo was using drugs while living on the streets his lifestyle was chaotic and his behaviour impulsive. Thankfully, he started to attend our Barnabus Support Centre regularly and gradually accepted help. We helped him to set up his benefits and connected him to a housing assessment from the council. Mo was offered accommodation in a couple of hostels but his transient lifestyle and lack of a mobile phone meant he would often come late to appointments and didn’t find out about the offer of a bed in time. Due to the limited number of beds available in the city a failure to show up on the first night results in the offer being withdrawn.


Eventually after a tough winter on the streets, Mo was accepted into supported accommodation. Unlike a hostel, supported accommodation is more accepting and understanding of the chaotic lives our friends can lead. With our support, Mo also registered with a GP at The Urban Village Medical Practice. He sought help and was able to begin recovery from his heroin addiction with a methadone script. He also took up the offer of mental health support. Mo continues to be supported by our caseworker Eleisha and has now been trained as a partner volunteer, helping in the Beacon Support Centre sessions. Here he not only has the opportunity to support our work, he is importantly an inspiration to those who are still on the streets especially those who slept near him and knew him when he was rough sleeping. Mo particularly enjoys cooking for everyone at our sessions in the Beacon and sharing the food with our staff and guests.


Mo made so many positive changes to his life in such a short period of time. He is more confident and happier and is gaining new skills through volunteering in the Beacon. It is a pleasure to be with him on his journey and already see how far he has come.


*Name has been changed to protect our friend’s identity