MIRROR Online LONDON, By Saskia Rowlands A primary school teacher who sleeps in his car has spoken of his ordeal as the number of homeless professionals surges alarmingly.
Government figures reveal 18,530 working people now have nowhere to call home – 40% more than in 2020. They include nurses and teachers like John, who we have given a false name.
The dad of young kids started sleeping in his estate car 12 weeks ago, after a divorce left him facing unmanageable debt. He told us: “In order to see my children, I was borrowing to pay the rent and maxed out credit cards to cover living expenses. It got to a point where I was going without food and eating scraps to ensure the children were OK, which wasn’t a sustainable way of living. I moved into the car to cut costs.”
“I park up on free streets in the centre of my city, which is unsettling as people are constantly walking past at night. And I use a local gym to shower each morning before work. It’s a lot to take in day in and day out trying to hold everything together, as well as having to make sure my mental health and wellbeing doesn’t deteriorate.”
Some 309,000 people in England, including 140,000 kids, are homeless – up 14% on 2022. And almost half of families in temporary accommodation have been there for more than two years. Matt Downie, chief executive of charity Crisis, said: “Those in work and experiencing homelessness face a huge battle, with normal day-to-day activities extremely difficult to manage.”
“But with living costs continuing to rise and a shortage of affordable housing, we will only see more pushed into poverty if no action is taken. We need the Government to tackle the root causes pushing people into homelessness – starting by delivering social homes, so people on low incomes can have a safe place of their own.”
Mike Amesbury, Shadow Minister for Homelessness, added: “The rise in all forms of homelessness is being driven by a chronic shortage of decent, secure and affordable housing after 14 years of Tory failure.”
John’ is documenting his plight under the handle @thehomelessteacher
Image: Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Star