Preventing homelessness in Reading

Meet Steven*

Steven is in his late 20s and lived with his grandparents in Reading. From the age of 10 he was smoking cannabis. By 15 he was addicted to cocaine and heroin. He shoplifted to pay for them and progressed to selling drugs to fund his own addiction.

Steven first went to prison aged 18 and the cycle of prison, release, dealing drugs to pay for his drugs, prison, release began. He’s been in and out of prison six times.

In September 2013 Launchpad started to work with Steven and he moved into a Launchpad home. He’d already got himself off drugs. Launchpad supported Steven and helped him gain a much needed structure to his life. Steven continued to access Launchpad support including working with Karen our ETE (Education, Training and Employment) Co-ordinator. He’s hoping to set up his own business!

Steven has two children, but he’s missed out on a lot of his eldest son’s life. He felt under pressure to buy him the latest gadgets, take him to Disneyland and on holidays abroad – which meant he kept selling drugs and ending up back in prison. A big part of Steven getting his life back on track has been realising that his children need him and the things that money can’t buy; having them to stay every weekend, trips to the playground and his time.

Pretty much every day Steven struggles with the temptation of returning to drugs, but being there for his children keeps him going. He says ‘Launchpad have helped open doors for me and I’ve found as one door opens, then another one opens and then another one.’

* To help protect the privacy of those we help names have been changed