#WorldHomelessDay & #WorldMentalHealthDay 2021

Daniel talks about how his poor health resulted in homelessness on his return to the UK

Daniel was married and living in the Middle East, when he developed deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and became unable to work or travel. As his health declined his savings became depleted and he went on to suffer a heart attack as well. After a move to Hungary for a new opportunity did not work out due to Covid he returned to the UK, but he was unable to find anywhere to live and was not entitled to any benefits for the first three months, having been out of the country for so long.

Daniel spent one night in hospital due to his DVT, but after that he had nowhere to go and slept in a bus shelter for three nights, before being found by the police and taken to local emergency accommodation.

Here, he began to feel more settled, celebrating his 63rd birthday and taking important steps to rebuild his life such as registering with his local GP surgery and joining the local library. But then one Friday in June, everything changed when he was given notice that he had to be out in three days’ time, by 10am on the Monday.

“They said they had looked into my situation and thought they were not obligated to house me,” Daniel recalls. “I had no work and I still had DVT and was taking tablets from the surgery, but I was pushed out onto the streets. However, the letter did say that they had spoken to P3.”

Daniel was located by the Cambridgeshire Street Outreach Team who immediately found him somewhere safe to stay, while setting the wheels in motion to secure him more suitable long-term housing. Today thanks to their dedication he has a home and work with Emmaus (an organisation who provide stable homes for people who have experienced homelessness) and he’s hoping for his wife to be able to join him from the Middle East soon.

“How did I become homeless? Health,” Daniel says. “I couldn’t drive or get out after developing DVT and having the heart attack. Also, when I first went to the Middle East, you could earn very good money but now there are too many companies working the area and there just isn’t the number of potential customers that there used to be.”

Daniel is now much happier, he has stability and purpose.

“I’m now secure,” he says. “I don’t earn a great deal of money, but I get free accommodation and food, and I can get my tablets and medication, as well as transport to the surgery. A part of me wants to cry with gratitude.

“I just don’t understand how they can put someone who needs medical attention on a regular basis out on the street.

“My advice to anyone facing homelessness is to talk to someone, make contact with people. Don’t do it alone.”

Photo by George Pagan III on Unsplash.

Name changed for anonymity.