A man in Manchester is living on the streets in preparation for what he says is the inevitability of being evicted. The 54-year-old, whose name has been changed to James to protect his identity, believes it is only a matter of time until he becomes homeless because of the cost of living crisis.
James had been sleeping rough for 25 years before securing accommodation in September thanks to Manchester City Council and a housing agency. But he says an accumulation of debt and expensive bills have left him in a hopeless predicament once more.
And he’s not on his own. More than 66,000 extra people will become homeless by 2024 as a result of the rise in living costs and frozen benefits, according to a study commissioned by housing charity Crisis.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, James said he was debt-free when living on the streets but has found himself owing large amounts of money since finding a place to stay. He said: “I should be on £300 and odd a fortnight with my illnesses but I’m only on £200 and I’ve got my loans coming out which is leaving me in arrears.”
“I’ve got a new flat and I’m in arrears on that, my council tax comes through and my electricity and gas have gone through the roof. I’ve still got my gaff, but what’s the point of living there when I can’t afford gas, electric and can’t get no help.”
“I feel like I’m going to lose it soon, very soon. Since all them bills come in I’ve been on the streets five, six weeks, just to get used to it again, because I know it’s gonna happen again.”
Research led by Heriot-Watt University surveyed 155 council across England. It predicts that in another two years there will be an additional 8,000 people sleeping rough and a further 9,000 forced into unsuitable temporary accommodation.
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