Cory, who’s now 29, explained that as a teenager, he had such chronic problems with booze and drugs that he considers himself lucky to be alive today.
He said, “I was a troubled kid. Although I was never homeless myself, I was marginalised.
“Meeting some of the people [who have experience homelessness] makes me feel very humble.
“I feel fortunate that I had the support around so that I was able to overcome a lot of the difficulties I was dealing with.
“The reason I talk about my past is not to seem opportunistic, but to raise awareness that these problems exist for young people.
“A lot of people have come from marginalised situations. It’s not hard to believe that this happened to someone on TV.
“It’s hard to believe there are still such problems in First World countries.”
Cory reportedly started drinking and taking drugs when he was just 13 years old. He then dropped out of school and eventually went into rehab aged 19.
He added, “I was out of control. I had a serious problem – anything and everything as much as possible.”
Cory made the revelations about his past while visiting the YMCA Foyer in Ealing, West London, which is one of 140 such residential places in the UK where people aged between 16 and 19 can live and get help in planning their futures.
He is also working with Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group which supports charities like the Foyer Federation.
He said, “The Virgin Unite RE*Generation programme really fits with what I’m passionate about when it comes to philanthropy.
“I think that, especially in the UK, it’s very important to raise awareness of under-funded programmes.
“Youth homelessness isn’t about kids making bad decisions – they haven’t made a choice to be on the streets.
“The problems exist and programmes which help resolve those problems need funding.”
One 18 year old resident of the refuge told Cory, “If I hadn’t found this place, I don’t know what would have happened. I don’t think I would have been able to go to college.”