For most of the time I lived in London, I worked in hostels with young people. All of them were without a fixed address for some reason or another when they came to us. Some were fleeing violence in their countries of origin, trying to get their status fixed as refugees and asylum-seekers. Some were just coming out of prison, or had just come from care homes (modern-day orphanages for the bigger kids). Some had been rough sleeping, or spending a few days on one couch and a week on another, carrying everything they owned in a backpack now tearing at its seams. As I’ve written before, it’s never not complicated.
At any rate, there we were, staff and young people, under one roof, which was now some sort of abode. For some of them, I know it was terrible. For others, I think it might have been the safest place they’d ever laid their heads at night. Everybody’s experience is different. And all of them were different from one another. There were young men and young women. There were people of all ethnic backgrounds, all religions. And while they all fell into one age category (16-25), let me tell you: there’s a mighty big difference between 16 and 25. About the only thing they had in common was that life had gotten really hard, really early on.
But for all the many differences among the young people living there, there were two more things they shared: the roof over their head, and their postal code. That last one meant a lot of things, but for purposes of this post, it meant that they shared something that affects us all so profoundly: weather.