A STUDENT has told of the difficulty in studying for a master's degree while living in a homeless shelter.

Beck Alford, from Southampton, doesn't understand how the Government continues not to support those struggling in the financial crisis.

The student said studying at university is “hard enough” without having to live in emergency housing.

“I’ve not been able to study, and the university has not helped me," Beck said. "I’m just surviving now.” 

The student was evicted from their home three months ago leading to them staying in a homeless shelter while waiting for council housing.

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The 41-year-old said: “We get treated like we’re all from the streets.

"I rented for five years before being evicted and now I am studying in my Zoom classes in a homeless shelter. 

“People become homeless for a lot of different reasons. Divorce, job loss, house repossession. You can’t get council housing unless you're in a homeless shelter.”

Daily Echo: Beck AlfordBeck Alford

Originally from St Deny’s, Beck said that having poor mental health played a large role in being homeless. Beck has ADHD and depression.

“There is a mental health crisis in homelessness," Beck said.

“I’ve moved around the shelters and when I first went into them I couldn’t properly shower."

Beck plans to release a poetry collection of anonymous works created by other homeless people - and wishes that “more was done” to support the trauma faced by those sleeping on the streets.

They said: “Trauma is the cause of being homeless and being homeless is trauma.” 

Beck plans to continue studying a master's degree in reconciliation and peacebuilding at the University of Winchester, with the aim of one day becoming a human rights lawyer. 

A university spokesperson said: “The University of Winchester does not comment on the personal circumstances of individual students.  

“However, we are aware of the challenges that can be faced by our students. The University’s central Support Services and Faculty teams work together to support mental well-being, disability, and financial and academic challenges.  

“We are committed to providing a supportive and inclusive environment to help all students flourish.” 

In 2020 a shelter report revealed that more than 700 people suffer from homeless in Southampton.

A Southampton City Council spokesperson said: “Anyone who is homeless or currently threatened with homelessness should contact us for advice, by phoning 023 8083 2327, emailing homelessness.advice@southampton.gov.uk or in emergency situations visiting Gateway.

"In most cases, we can help people keep their existing home. If this is not possible, we can provide advice on alternative, affordable housing solutions, and where appropriate guide people through applying for social housing or securing a deposit for a privately rented home.”

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