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Sean and Sophie's Story
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 09:14

I have been living homeless on and off since I was 13 - I am from a very, very violent home.  Now I've been sleeping on the streets or squatting for about 22 years.  I slept in Piccadilly Circus, but made sure my wife Sophie never slept on the streets, so found squats.  I really want to sort my life out now that Sophie is pregnant.


With our baby on the way, due in August, we want a normal life instead of moving every month in squats.  That's so stressful.  It's hard to get a job when you don't have an address.  It's getting harder to squat now - with the new laws you can only stay in non-residential buildings.


We started coming to the 999 Club in October 2015. The Police had told us about it and when we walked past, we realised that was the place.  We just saw the sign and came in. We'll miss coming here. It was so difficult getting housing, because of the way I look, all my tattoos, people weren't very friendly.  Alison Harrison, the Advocacy and Advice manager at the 999 Club, is helping us with a house.  She also helped us get our benefits up and going. Alison said it would be very hard to get a place in London - how would we feel about moving out of London?  I didn't want to move out of London as it's my home, but with Sophie being pregnant, she needs a stable home, we can't be bouncing from place to place.


Everything is looking up. We've seen pictures of the street we'll be living on.  It's a 2-bedroom terraced house with a garden for Dexy, our Siberian husky, who is my service dog for my epilepsy. With my epilepsy I black out and don't know my name. I've woken up in really random places, so I always carry my emergency contact numbers with me.


I just heard in the West End that there's now a £1,500 fine for sleeping rough, and if you're caught with a dog, your dog is taken away.  They assume if you can't take care of yourself, you can't take care of a dog. My dog has given me home and happiness. Lots of homeless people take better care of their dogs than themselves. It gives you that ray of light. It gives you something else to be responseible for.


Now it's afresh start for us. The house that Alison has found for us is up North. We get to leave London and go to Durham. It's nicer for a child to grow up out of London. We want to know the sex of the baby so we can get ready.




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