Birmingham’s streets are no place to call home, yet too many find themselves stuck in hazardous temporary housing. To shed light on this issue and raise awareness of the lived experience of those who have slept rough or have been placed in unsecure housing, Shelter, Grand Central, HSBC, and ten talented local artists have joined forces to share the stories of those facing homelessness in Birmingham in 2023.
The heartwarming project features ten doors, each adorned with a unique design inspired by the struggles and triumphs of those who have experienced homelessness. These doors are now on display at New Street station, ready for you to explore and discover the personal stories behind each artistic piece.
One artist participating in the art installation is Fungai Benhura. Fungai’s work is made up of multiple layers of different materials, each layer representing history that’s being buried and rediscovered. The end product unveils a painting that has a character and personality of its own. Their work also explores being at a stage of creation or destruction.
Fungai’s door was inspired by Zoe’s story
Zoe ended up homeless after being evicted from her home in 2017. She was stuck in a cycle of homelessness and financial hardship because she did not have access to a bank account, resulting in her universal credit being stopped. By getting a bank account through HSBC UK’s ‘No Fixed Address’ scheme, Zoe was able to turn her life around. She now lives in a two-bed social home with her partner and daughter and is starting to build up her financial resilience.
I was evicted from my home and then everything spiralled out of control. I was sofa-surfing for about a year before I got put into a hostel when pregnant with my youngest daughter. My support worker Hayley helped turn everything around – she helped me get on the list for a two-bed flat and helped me open a bank account through HSBC’s ‘No Fixed Address’ scheme.
‘Before I moved into my current flat, I didn’t have a bank account for 10 years because I didn’t have a permanent address or a photo ID. I didn’t have the spare £75 to get myself a provisional driving licence, as there were always more pressing things I needed to spend the money on. Without a bank account, I didn’t have any money coming in – I wasn’t able to claim child benefit for my youngest daughter, and eventually my universal credit account was closed.
‘Getting that bank account made a whole world of difference to me. If you don’t have access to a bank account, you are stuck – so I was ecstatic that I was able to get one open. Now I have a secure home, I’m able to pay my own bills and receive benefits for my daughters. It has helped me move forward with my life.’
Shelter’s Partnership with HSBC
Evidence suggests that poor financial health and homelessness are closely intertwined. That’s why HSBC UK and Shelter have teamed up to help people build financial resilience and break the cycle of homelessness.
In Birmingham, HSBC UK is providing funding for targeted interventions that cater to those at a higher risk of homelessness, such as single-parent families, marginalised individuals, and those with complex needs. Shelter works alongside people with lived experience of homelessness and other charitable organisations to develop the programme, improve access to support, strengthen financial resilience, and challenge discrimination within the housing system.
‘No Place Like Home’ runs from 11-18 December at Birmingham New Street station. Find out more information about Shelter’s partnership with HSBC UK, or get help with your own housing issues by following Shelter’s online advice.
You can also look at ways to #GiveHelp on their website and support Shelter’s work to campaign against unfair systems and policies and to intervene and support individuals and families on their journey out of homelessness.