Homeless man finally given home after 40 years on the streets – South London News

Homeless man finally given home after 40 years on the streets – South London News

By Jacob Phillips, Local Democracy Reporter

A homeless man with cancer has finally got his own home after nearly 40 years on the streets.

The pensioner, known only as Frank, was sleeping rough in a doorway in Kensington High Street when he was offered help by Kensington and Chelsea council worker Gavin Stewart.

He has now been moved into a home for the first time since leaving a Paddington bedsit in the 1980s.

Frank said: “I hadn’t really been indoors for seven year. I’ve got a locked front door so I don’t have to sleep with one eye open, which is a help. I went to hotels and moved in for a week but I never really bothered to settle down. Forty years later I got prostate cancer.

“The night after I got prostate cancer, Gavin was in the doorway. I knew I had to go indoors. I actually look forward to going back to my flat, turning the telly on, making a cup of coffee and watching the television. There’s a good quality of life there that wasn’t there on the street.”

Frank is one of many rough sleepers being supported by the council’s Dual Diagnosis Service in the last two years.

The scheme helps rough sleepers off the streets into accommodation and provides services like counselling, group therapy, detox and rehabilitation.

Councillor Kim Taylor-Smith, in charge of housing, said: “For many rough sleepers, and especially those who have been outdoors for a long time, the journey off the streets and into a safe home can seem insurmountable.

“Our Dual Diagnosis Service gives rough sleepers the support they need to make those changes and it’s humbling to hear how a warm bed or a locked front door – things that many of us take for granted – mean so much to someone like Frank.

“While the number of people sleeping on our streets remains low, we and our partners will not stop until we eliminate rough sleeping for good.”

Pictured top: Frank was on the streets for 40 years Picture: Kensington and Chelsea council


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