£80,000 will turn three empty properties into decent affordable housing for six young people
David and Charlotte were expecting their first baby when they found themselves homeless.
Having a child can be a daunting experience for any new parents, but being pregnant with no real home is truly frightening.
Along with his pregnant wife Charlotte, David was forced to stay at relatives’ and friends’ houses in Bradford – often not knowing where he’d be sleeping the following night. He remembers:
"It’s bad because you don’t know where you are going to be putting your head down, eating or anything. You need somewhere stable, especially when you are having a kid."
Fortunately, David found Canopy Housing, a project in Leeds supported by LandAid funding. Canopy prides itself on a self-help model which sees tenants work with local volunteers to renovate their future home.
“We did the flooring, painting, fitting the carpets - and everything else!”
Canopy quickly found David and Charlotte a house: a derelict property that was soon to be converted into a safe and affordable home. Along with a team of volunteers, David got to work on converting the property:
"We did a good half of the work on the house, the flooring, the painting, installing the units, fitting the carpets, putting up the cupboards - and everything else! I learnt some new stuff doing that and then I became a tenant to that house."
David found the experience rewarding on many levels and benefitted from working with volunteers of different nationalities and learning new skills.
“I wouldn’t change nothing”
David, Charlotte and baby Maddy are now safely installed in their new home. They’ve recently spent their first Christmas together and Charlotte was able to cook Christmas dinner thanks to their new kitchen. David says:
"We’ve got somewhere stable and we’re actually doing alright, budgeting our money a bit better and Maddy the baby has got her own room and so she’s going to grow up in a nice stable environment. Everything Canopy has done for me has been fantastic, I wouldn’t change nothing."
Without Canopy’s support, David and Charlotte could have been spending their Christmas on friends’ sofas or in emergency accommodation. Instead, they are living in safe, warm accommodation and planning their future together.