Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Previous section
Leeds Traveller Community

Leeds Homeless Community

What happens when you don’t have a home?


Homelessness in Leeds

Not everyone in our city has somewhere to call ‘home’. What happens when you don’t have a bed for the night? Or a home to go back to?

In 2008, Leeds Museums and Galleries worked with Holdforth Court Hostel to record the personal testimony of three hostel residents and their experiences of being homeless in Leeds. Each of them was given a camera to record their own images of people and locations that had a personal resonance for them - in either a positive or negative way. Their stories are here. Holdforth Court has since closed.

Before using these oral histories in the classroom, please listen to them fully as the residents discuss sensitive issues around their homelessness that may not be appropriate for young age ranges.


Holdsforth Court Hostel

The audio recording below introduces the hostel, what it aims to do and how it works to support homeless men to regain their confidence and independence and get back on their feet and into society. 




Tony’s Story

Tony is a musician who became homeless when he was evicted from his flat. He talks about why he lives in Leeds and about coming to the hostel.  Listen to his story here:


Michael’s Story

Michael talks about his periods of homelessness over the past seven years, memories of his childhood and some of the unusual places he found to sleep on the street.  Listen to his story here:


Alexis’ Story

Alexis talks about coming to Leeds and how he feels about the city and homelessness.  Listen to his story here:


Tony, Michael and Alexis were recorded in 2008 as part of a partnership project with Leeds Discovery centre and Holdforth Hostel in Leeds run by St. Anne’s Community Services.  The project was facilitated by Stretch, an independent charity.