Rough sleeper thankful for fresh start in life

Chris at the New Haven shelter at Towler Street EMN-170215-162239009

Chris at the New Haven shelter at Towler Street EMN-170215-162239009

A homeless ex-convict says he is turning his life around thanks to help from Peterborough City Council.

Former rough sleeper Chris, who did not want to give his surname, is currently being put up by the council at New Haven hostel in Towler Street.

The 37-year-old said he had previously been sheltering in a shed at the disused Golden Lion pub in Stanground having been kicked out of a friend’s house. Before that he had broken up with his girlfriend.

However, Chris is now optimistic about his future. He said: “Once I get my own place and have stability in my life, the only way is up.

“I feel very, very lucky to be where I am and to get this chance to turn things around and get back on my feet.

“What happened to me can happen to anyone.”

Chris, who said he spent time in prison for a stabbing, approached the organisation Outside Links which assists people who have been in HMP Peterborough.

He was then referred to the hostel where he is currently staying, and now he is looking for somewhere else to live with the help of the council.

He said he has been given 12 weeks to find a place to move into, and that the council will help him with a rental deposit if it is needed.

Chris said: “A lovely young lady from the council called Sarah Scase gave me a break and a place to live.

“The council has been very helpful. They are struggling to accommodate everybody, but for what they are actually doing, they are doing a very good job.

“If you co-operate and are polite they are going to help you.”

Chris is currently receiving Employment and Support Allowance as he looks to get back on his feet.

He said he had previously worked as a professional merchandiser, helping out at big chains such as Homebase, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s to make their stores look appealing for when they open.

Chris said he was forced to give up work due to anxiety, but he is now hopeful for a brighter future which would see him start a new job and make positive strides in his personal life.

He added: “I’m 37 and I’ve got a beautiful eight-year-old daughter I’m hoping to see again.”