David, Bold St, Liverpool

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 57 and I was born on the Wirral. I’m a painter and decorator by trade.

How long have you been selling Big Issue North?
For the last four months. It’s quite new for me. But people know I’m here now and I’m getting some regular customers, which is very good. I don’t mind selling the magazine. I love working outdoors and in all sorts of weather.

Why do you sell the magazine?
I used to be homeless myself, for about a year and a half. I was in a rented place but the landlord went into bankruptcy, so I was evicted. I ended up sleeping on the streets.

What was that like?
I managed. I’m very strong minded. Very tough inside. Now I’ve got a place to live over in Birkenhead.

Now you want to help other people who are homeless, don’t you?
Yes. Like when we had the Christmas party at the Big Issue North office, I went out with the food that was left and I gave it to the homeless in the city. I want to give something back, because a lot of people are turning to drink because they are out on the streets. They are destroying their lives through it. I talk to them all the time. I see so many people dragging their blankets around the city on the floor and they have got to sleep in them and half of them don’t know what they are doing because they are full of drink.

Have you ever suffered from alcoholism?
I was an alcoholic when I was younger, at the age of 16. My dad was an alcoholic, you see. So it ran from him to me. I was an alcoholic until the age of 32. Then I stopped.

Has homelessness got worse in the city?
Yes. With the government cutting housing benefits, ESA and job seekers, things like that, things are getting tighter and tighter and there are a lot of people out on the streets who can’t take what they are going through. I think a lot of them should be rehoused and given more help. I think the state is in one hell of a mess.

Do you have any family?
I’ve lost most of my family though illness and things like that. I haven’t got much family left now. But you’ve got to carry on with your life and put things behind you.

What makes you happy?
Talking to people, especially homeless people, because they can understand me and I can understand them. And the shop owners near my pitch. They come and talk to me. They are always polite. I always say if you give people respect, they will give respect to you.

What makes you mad?
Nothing makes me mad. Because if people try to make me upset I just tell them to go and get a life and grow up.

What do you do in your spare time?
I do a lot of walking with my dog. I’ve got a staffy called Caesar who has been with me for a long time now. And I do this, selling the magazine, six days a week. I just keep going.

What are your plans for the future?
Nothing at the moment. One day at a time.

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