By the age of just 17, James had lost both parents and was homeless.
Following Government cuts to young people's benefits, demand for supported housing in Middlesborough and Stockton-on-Teesside is on the rise. Affordable housing and access to work are essential if vulnerable young people are to achieve successful futures.
We've given local charity Community Campus 87 a grant of £75,000 to convert two empty properties in Middlesborough and Stockton-on-Teesside into homes for young people at risk of becoming homeless. The young tenants will recieve support from the charity including personal development plans and opportunities to travel and experience life outside of Teesside.
Almost half of the funding will help pay the salaries of supervisors who'll train apprentices and volunteers in construction skills during the renovation of the properties.
In addition to our funding, we've recruited Lacey + Saltykov Architects to give free design advice to Community Campus to help the charity create new-build housing on empty land.
Due to be completed in March 2017, the project will provide a home and much-need support for four young people who'd otherwise be homeless. Brad, a former tenant with Community Campus told us that the charity has been like a family to him: "I can go to the office whenever there's a problem or to do activities like cooking. I can go there if I need someone to talk to and I have good relationships with everyone." Read his full story.
Could you help Community Campus bring more empty homes on Teesside back to life? Find out how to sponsor a project like this.