Homeless man living in tent to avoid ‘crackheads’ begs for somewhere to live

A homeless man is begging the council to provide him with shelter ahead of the harsh winter weather.

Paul Dono has lived out of a tent for the last six weeks and has endured the change in climate from summer to autumn.

However, the 45-year-old is now dreading the conditions he will be faced with as temperatures plummet, and is pleading with the local authority to find him suitable accommodation.

Paul, who admits he is an alcoholic, has been to prison seven times in his life but insists he has been living crime free for five years.

He left his flat to move into rehab about 12 months ago but says he left there as they wanted him to come off his medication.

Paul refused and has since stayed in a hotel.

Paul Dono, aged 45, has been living out of a tent for the last six weeks and is dreading winter

That was until six weeks ago, when he and three others were thrown out after one made a racist comment to a staff member and no-one would say who it was.

Paul briefly stayed at MIND in Newcastle Street, Burslem, but again was evicted for an incident which has now been dropped.

After running out of places to stay, he found himself sleeping in a tent on Wolstanton Marsh, according to Stoke-On-Trent Live.

Initially he was in a small red tent but it was slashed by someone and all his possessions were damaged as water got in.

As he reached the depths of despair, a kind resident who lives near the marsh gave Paul a larger blue and green tent which is pitched under trees and has a tarpaulin cover to provide extra protection from the elements.

Paul said: “I have pitched it here as I did not want to be near where the kids play. I try to keep it out of the way.

“I had a little tent but someone came along and brought this. There are loads of very kind people. I have been given an air bed, quilts and every day people bring me food. They are just people driving past.

“I get hot food, bacon and cheese rolls, burgers, McDonald’s. Some days I have too much. But it is nice to wake up and have a drink of water and a bottle of Lucozade. It is lovely.

“The community has been coming to see me and asking me if I want a shower or if I want to watch a bit of telly. I do not know these people from Adam. They just let me in their houses.

“I get emotional when people give me things. I do not ask people for nothing but I receive it gratefully. It shows there are a lot of good people out there.

“I have a lot of spiders to contend with and foxes come under the tent and nick everything. I have to make sure everything is wrapped up but they still manage to get it.

“All my rubbish goes. I do not cause any trouble. I do not make a mess.”

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Paul said when he was in the first tent he received a letter from Newcastle Borough Council telling him they were going to take his tent.

But since he has been in the larger tent and public support has grown he has been revisited by a council officer and told they are not going to evict him.

Paul said: “Newcastle Borough Council say they have nowhere for me to go. I have been here for more than six weeks.

The council gave me a letter saying they were going to take the tent. But they have now come up and said they are not going to do it because of all the support I have received on Facebook.”

Paul, who spent most of his childhood with his nan in Milton, is on benefits as he has a string of health issues including chronic pancreatitis and epilepsy. And he has recently suffered from pneumonia.

His mum lives in Wolstanton but there is no room for him at her house.

He decided to pitch a tent on the marsh as opposed to sleeping in doorways in Newcastle as the police do not allow drinking in the town centre.

Paul said: “I have had a drink problem since I was 12. I do not take drugs, just medication.

“The reason I do not live in doorways in Newcastle as you are not allowed to drink there. The police kicked me out. I get my medication from Newcastle. I attend there and get in and out. I would not sleep in Newcastle anyway because of all the dustheads and crackheads.

“No hostels will take me because of my drinking. I have been kicked out of them through drink. No aggro, no fighting, just because I am drunk. You are not allowed to drink.

“I go to Newcastle and get my medication, come back from there and just sit here. It is all I have done for the last six or seven weeks.

“It is time the council got me somewhere to go but they just do not seem to care.

“I have the money. The community has donated about £900. My mum will pay the deposit and I will claim my housing benefit again and it is rock and roll. My mum has been on the computer trying. There is nowhere at all.

“I have cut right down on my alcohol. I am still drinking but only have four cans. Instead of drinking nine per cent I am mainly drinking Skol which is only about two-and-a-half per cent.

“Rough Sleepers came out this morning and gave me a Pot Noodle and a coffee. They are going to see what they can do.

“It is getting a bit ridiculous. It has not been too cold yet but when it kicks in it is going to be very cold.”

A spokeswoman for Newcastle Borough Council said the authority was unable to comment as ‘we are still waiting for the outcome of the legal process’.

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