A homeless RAF veteran says moving onto the St Michael’s Gate estate in Parnwell has transformed his life and the lives of his two children.
Stephen (32), Lexie (9), and Kieran (8) Holland moved onto the estate last week, more than six months after the previous tenants were controversially evicted by their landlords.
In total, 72 households were forced to leave St Michael’s Gate, with Peterborough City Council then agreeing a deal worth nearly £1 million a year with housing firm Stef & Philips for the vacant properties to be filled by homeless families.
The council claimed that if it did not agree the deal, another council would use the homes for the same purpose.
Stephen, who had a tour of duty in Afghanistan as an RAF driver, said: “It’s awesome. The kids are now sleeping through the night and I’ve had two good nights’ sleep for the first time in two-and-a-half years.”
The family had previously lived in Hope House hostel in Fletton, and Stephen said: “This is a million times nicer.”
Stephen also had sympathy with the families who were evicted from St Michael’s Gate. He said: “It’s hard because I’m a giving person. I do not like taking what’s not owed, but sometimes in life you have got to put yourself and kids first.”
Stephen, who lost his last home after a delay in receiving housing benefits, had his luck change after he saw a story in the Peterborough Telegraph for the council’s armed forces community drop-in sessions.
It was there he met old RAF Wittering colleague Chris Moon of Conduit Engagement. The firm specialises in helping veterans in need alongside its charity Oppo 2 Oppo.
Chris contacted the council to help Stephen, who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, get his temporary home and is now helping him find a job. Stephen added: “He’s been a great mate.”