A former homeless woman has been named a new ambassador for 99 Percent, the London-wide campaign celebrating young people who live positive, crime-free lives.
Six years ago Katie Montgomery, 21, was homeless and in a violent relationship, now she is married and working for the Turnaround Centre run by Croydon Council, where she is a key team member providing vital support to young people in need.
After being forced out of her family home, Ms Montgomery became homeless at the age of 15 and moved in with her boyfriend, but the relationship became abusive. For the next two years she moved between friends’ houses and the home of her depressed mother, before finding herself on the doorstep of a Croydon Council housing service.
One week before her eighteenth birthday, after some time in temporary accommodation, Ms Montgomery received a place in supported housing. With encouragement from the Council she attended college, gaining an NVQ level 2 in Business and Administration. As well as working for the Turnaround Centre, she now lives in her own accommodation and is working towards an NVQ level 3 in Advice and Guidance.
The 99 Percent campaign seeks to challenge negative stereotypes of young people, by telling the story of the 99 per cent of young Londoners who are not involved in violent crime. Metropolitan police statistics show that 1,336 people under the age of 20 were accused of Serious Youth Crimes in 2009, a total of 0.7% of London’s under-20 population.
Ms Montgomery said: “My experiences help me understand the needs of other young people. I am delighted to be a 99 Percent ambassador for Croydon and to be viewed as a positive role model.
“It is wonderful to receive this award, especially for doing a job I love. I hope this will show young people in trouble or in need, that there is another way”.