Young Harlesden actor who found himself homeless during Covid-19 pandemic says single Black males need more support
- Credit: Archant
A Harlesden actor who found himself homeless during the pandemic has spoken out about a lack for support for young Black men.
Ricardo Lloyd was forced to move out of his family home in August after a breakdown, and spent weeks “sofa surfing” at various friend’s houses.
The 26-year-old said he was offered a room in a hotel, where he remains, but only after telling council staff he would commit suicide.
“I was sleeping rough and then put in a hostel for one night only. The council only picked up the case when I said if I don’t have somewhere to stay I will kill myself, but now I’m forgotten,” he said. “If I didn’t have access to my phone I’d be dead now. Many homeless people don’t have access to a phone.”
Ricardo has had a troubled upbringing, but he was turning a corner.
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As a youngster he was permanently excluded from Capital City Academy in Harlesden, but staff allowed him back to take his GCSEs and last year he starred in his first professional play, aptly named Excluded.
The upcoming actor said: “This has been the most challenging time of my life.
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“I went from getting signed, having agents, been listed as part of The Voice newspaper’s Top 20 Ones to Watch Out For in 2020 to facing this.”
He has tried to find private accommodation through Brent Council’s private rental incentive scheme, whereby his deposit is paid, but has so far been unsuccessful.
“I’ve been actively looking to change my situation. Three rooms have fallen through because of the Brent Council incentive.
“I need some support. It’s all a struggle, I don’t know how to cope with it.”
He is in receipt of Universal Credit from the government while at the hotel.
“There needs to be systematic change. It’s wrong young people are going through what I’m going through.”
Brent Council said they have been supporting Ricardo.
A spokesperson said in one instance Ricardo did not give the landlord’s contact details so staff could not follow through. On another occasion, the rent was too high.
Cllr Eleaner Southwood, Brent’s housing lead, said: “For single people who don’t meet the nationally set thresholds for this help, our Single Homeless Prevent Service (SHPS) is there to help people avoid becoming homeless in the first place, or to find a suitable and affordable alternative as quickly as possible.
“We continue to work with Mr Lloyd to find him a suitable long-term home.”