Ex-rough sleeper creates interactive map for homeless

Ex-rough sleeper creates interactive map for homeless

Quddous Ahmed

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Hounslow Soup Kitchen

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Quddous Ahmed launched the map to guide homeless people towards support facilities

A former rough sleeper has launched an interactive guide to help homeless people in part of London find help and support.

During five months on the streets in 2015, Quddous Ahmed, 31, had a rock thrown at him, was racially abused and had his sleeping bag set alight.

He has now launched a map signposting where free food, showers and counselling are available in Hounslow.

He said his approach aims to make homeless people feel “human”.

Mr Ahmed described being on the streets as “the worst part of my life” during which “I had suicidal thoughts and felt extremely unsupported”.

Image copyright
Hounslow Soup Kitchen

Image caption

The former rough sleeper talks to people to identify their skills and provide them with a sustainable career path

But securing a position at a charity “switched my life around”, and inspired him to create Hounslow Soup Kitchen.

Speaking about the new map, he said: “It provides hope because you know there is an array of things you can be part of.

“It also centralises all the services that are available and free and open to the homeless without any judgement.”

While homeless people may not have smart phones, Mr Ahmed said they could still access the map by going online at job centres.

Mr Ahmed, who was born in the west London area but whose parents are Pakistani, described how he was couch surfing at a family friend’s house when he was attacked by her son.

“He threw a huge rock at my chest and starting hurling racist abuse at me.

“That prejudice is there against homeless people and in certain situations it comes out in very bad ways and this is one of them.”

Mr Ahmed has since pursued a “holistic approach” to tackling poverty, which involves identifying people’s strengths so they may “find their way out”.

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