Tuesday: I start at Rochester Young Offenders Institution, where I go every week to meet the people who I will be working with in the community. I get to see four people today, which is a good number. I can build up a good relationship with them by seeing them every week, which means that they are more likely to keep in touch once they are back in the community. It's a long day, so I'm glad of the chance to catch up with some mates and head out for a film.
Wednesday: I visit a client who I recently resettled into long-term accommodation. He seems really happy where he is now and it's a nice chance to see the more positive side of the work that I do. I then meet a client who has been released from Portland Young Offenders Institution. After a three-year sentence, the adjustment to being on the outside has been hard. He has forgotten how fast life moves in London and his legs ache because he hasn't had the chance to walk any real distance for so long. He is sleeping somewhere different every night, but I take him to an interview for a place at a hostel. I just hope he gets in.
Thursday: I spend five hours with a client at a homeless persons unit in east London. The waiting times and the sheer number of people down there make everyone want to walk out, which I'm sure is the whole point. I convince my client to sit it out and we finally get to see a housing officer, who tells us that the waiting time for a council flat is seven years. We walk away disappointed and my client uses my work phone to see if there are any direct-access hostels going. There isn't anything available, but he assures me he can find a friend's house to stay at. There isn't any more I can do tonight, but I promise him I'll be in touch soon.
I receive a call from yesterday's hostel and they say that, although they liked the client's attitude, they couldn't accept him because of the nature of his crime. It's frustrating, but means we'll just have to try again somewhere else.
Friday: I meet a client in Victoria who has come straight from being released from Rochester Young Offenders Institution. It's a day of mixed emotions: the elation of being out of prison combined with the disappointment of having nowhere to go.
I have arranged an interview for him at a hostel, but it isn't for another week and he starts to panic. His mum has refused to let him stay at her house, but I give her a call and explain the situation. She agrees to let him stay at hers for the time being.
The Depaul Trust works with homeless and vulnerable young people in the UK.