Damien's story

Humankind provides vulnerable young people with services including housing, education, training and employment.

LandAid’s £60,000 will help fund Humankind's refurbishment of five empty properties in County Durham and Darlington, bringing them into use as social, affordable high-quality housing for ten young people.

As well as having a safe place to live, the young tenants will receive holistic support across a range of areas, including obtaining work, accessing training and education, maintaining tenancies, improving physical and mental health, and confidence building.

20-year-old Damien is just one of the young people Humankind has helped.

This is his story.

'My name is Damien.  I am 20 years old.  

'I have autism which causes me great anxiety and makes it difficult for me to be able to do and say the things I want.  

'As a child, autism made it difficult for me at school to form friendships and socialise with others.  I have also had to deal with challenges within my own family, with regular arguments and incidents.  

'When my parents separated I lived with my dad.  However, due to my autism we would clash and I moved in with my mum.  She has her own behavior issues which can lead to her becoming aggressive and argumentative.  Her partner is also aggressive and there were regular arguments, intimidation and threats of violence towards me.  At times I feared for my own safety.  

'During this period my life was a complete misery and I contemplated suicide on several occasions.  I realised that for my own health and safety I needed to escape this environment, but I didn’t know how or what I needed to do or where to go to find help.  

'Thankfully I was referred to Humankind and my life changed immediately.  

'I felt safe, I was not judged, they listened to me and provided me with the help and support I needed.  

'I was offered a property with Humankind and because of my circumstances I was supported to move in almost immediately.  Within this time Humankind had made sure the gas and electricity was on and the house was clean and ready for me.  

'This is my first experience of living on my own but Humankind provide me with support to help me stay safe and live independently. If I become anxious or have any questions I can contact the Humankind Housing Officer or Support Worker who will help me.  

'Since I found Humankind and moved in to my home in October, my life is much better.  My relationship with my dad is improving and I visit both parents regularly.  

'If anything happens I can return to my own home and know I am safe.  I feel more confident, calm and stable. I volunteer with a local charity once a week and I am beginning to plan for my future.  

'Humankind has helped to make this possible by providing me with a house and support at a time of need.'

Find out more about our work with Humankind here.

This project will be funded by Pledge150.