Former homeless man from Northampton launches charity to help others

Dawn Roland, Yaw Jonas and Linny Meakins at the House of Compassion on Abington Avenue.
Dawn Roland, Yaw Jonas and Linny Meakins at the House of Compassion on Abington Avenue.

A former homeless man who left a life of alcohol addiction to become a lay preacher has launched a new charity to help others back into society.

Ghana-born Yaw Jonas lived on the streets for 10 years in Nigeria before managing to turn his life around when met a Christian preacher in 1990.

Now the former carer has launched the House of compassion, based in the former Trading Post shop at 208 Abington Avenue, which aims to provide homeless people with advice on getting into housing, a warm drink and warm clothing.

Soon Mr Yaw, who is a preacher at Weston Favell Parish Hall, hopes to expand the charity to be able homeless people search for jobs.

But he said it desperately needs donations to help it get off the ground in the form of blankets, shoes, clothing, sleeping bags and toiletries.

He said: “We’ve just got very little stock right now.”

“We give the homeless people a cup of tea, but at the moment we can’t even provide them with enough blankets.”

Mr Jonas, who is being helped in the venture by the Pipers Hollow Lifeskills Course, is also asking for people to donate old computers to the charity, so it can run the job searches for its visitors.

The preacher said he is drawing on his own experiences to help get the homeless people that visit ‘back on their feet’ through various advice sessions. He hopes within time to run a half-way home for people living on the streets if the right property an be found.

“Alcohol is a terrible thing,” he said. “Ten years ago you wouldn’t want to talk to me. I had gotten involved with bad friends, so much so I had gotten to a point of no return.

“This is really about me talking to people about my own experiences and how I stopped - and seeing how I can help people.”