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18 June 2020

Hasen, 42, was born in Eritrea and came to the UK in 2002. Glass Door caseworker Michelle supported him to find accommodation with the council after he suffered a bereavement in his family. Michelle and Hasen reconnected after the coronavirus pandemic caused him to temporarily lose his job.

“Caseworker Michelle is an angel. She has helped me so much.”

Hasen lost his home in the UK because he had gone to Canada for several months to be with his family there. His niece had been diagnosed with bowel cancer and he travelled there to support her husband and children.

“My niece was a healthy and successful person. She had just bought a new house. Then suddenly she went to hospital and got the diagnosis. She had four different types of chemotherapy and then that horrible disease took her from us. It really tested my faith.

“She was like a daughter to me. Her father died when she was young so she grew up in my family house. I am still suffering. I’m not over the fact that she has gone. It’s still so hard.

The most important thing that caseworker Michelle did for me is that she helped me mentally. Her support calmed my mind when I was in a very difficult place.

When Hasen returned from Canada, he stayed with his nephew for a few weeks. He started work as a chef in a restaurant but could not save enough to afford a deposit. Then, because he had nowhere else to go, he began sleeping in his local mosque last July.

Hasen says:

“I would try and help the mosque out by cooking for religious celebrations. But I couldn’t stay long. So I went to Glass Door’s partner day service at Chelsea Methodist Church. That’s where I first met Michelle.

“Michelle helped me apply for accommodation so that I never had to sleep on the streets. And finally last September, Hammersmith and Fulham council found somewhere for me to live. It is close to the restaurant I have been working in since.

Hasen had to stop working on 23 March when the coronavirus pandemic caused the restaurant he worked in to close. He reconnected with caseworker Michelle this month because he noticed that some of his flatmates were struggling:

It is hard to pay rent when you aren’t working so Michelle has helped a lot by connecting us with the food bank. I felt responsible, I am the oldest. I live with seven other people and I lent my food to everyone else. They didn’t ask for help directly – I think it’s because they are too proud. But because Glass Door took care of me, I wanted to pass that kindness on.

“Some of my housemates have had symptoms of coronavirus, like a cough or a fever. So I have been cooking for them and leaving the food outside their door.

“I have been inspired by Glass Door. A priority for me when this situation gets better is to give back. I would love to become a volunteer chef in one of the shelters and make my hearty lasagne or some delicious African food.

But especially, I want to say “thank you” to caseworker Michelle. She helped me stay alive when I had lost all hope.

To provide support to someone like Hasen and make a long-term difference in the life of someone affected by homelessness, consider supporting our Covid-19 Emergency Appeal