Hojat had his own home and was running a food business before he became homelessness.
His business collapsed when the recession hit and Hojat began to struggle with addiction issues. After successfully detoxing, he entered recovery and was renting a house until the landlord decided to sell it. He has been homeless since March 2017.
“I lived in the same address for almost eight years, since I started my recovery. I got the house, I rented this house and I was there until it was sold,” he says. I thought I might be able to live in a caravan, but it didn’t work out. I kind of asked for help again and I became homeless and got offered this.”
Hojat is a resident in one of Peter McVerry Trust’s supported temporary acommodation (STA) facilities. However, he is also working on a unique business venture – growing vegetables through a unique method of soilless farming known as aquaponics. This incorporates the cultivation of crops with fish farming.
“Aquaponics is the mixture of aquaculture and hydroponics, simply soilless farming. You can produce the organic foods as well,” he says.
“In this set up, the goal is growing vegetables, growing food, but fish farming on the side. I have a small flower farm as well.
“Maybe my dream is a bit big. But I would like to introduce aquaponics to the whole world and show there is a way to save the water, eat better food, eat healthier food, and also not hurt the environment.”
Hojat hopes to move on to his own accommodation so he can focus on expanding his business.
“Life always has some surprise in the future, not matter what. It can be good or bad, but it won’t be always bad and it won’t be always good. But there is always a surprise and that’s the feeling I get here when I see change happening. I kind of believe in myself that this change can happen,” he says.