Carl, Sheffield city centre

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Tell us about yourself.
I’m around 42 years old and I’ve been selling the magazine for just under a year. I used to deliver papers when I was a teenager.

Where are you from?
I was born in Bradford but was brought up in different areas, different cities. And I did a bit of travelling. I used to hitch it when I was in my teens. I’ve been down south, to Wales, Scotland, all over.

‘The bills get paid now that I have a job selling the magazine.’

How did you become homeless?
I had some problems with my family. I was homeless for about 10 years – stopping in hostels and things like that. I was in a tent for nine months. I stayed under a bridge near the canal, and then I moved on to a roof top near the trams. It was a concrete roof and at the end there was a bridge where the trains and trams went underneath. I thought it would be OK to build a small camp fire on the roof but the firemen came and put it out and the police said I had to move. And then I went into the nearby woodlands and stayed there for a bit. It was hard to find somewhere to live.

Where are you living now?
I am in my own council flat now, which feels good. I’ve got a good flat, brand new carpet and curtains in the bedroom, a washing machine. Now I have a permanent address. My flat is all kitted out. It’s all decorated and the bills get paid now that I have a job selling the magazine. It’s better than being stuck in a hostel where things can get a bit hectic, or being stuck in a tent. I couldn’t really take it anymore and it’s much better now.

How do you find selling the magazine?
Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes hard going. It depends on who is about and what the atmosphere is out in town and the weather.
It’s nice getting out and about. I don’t like stopping in. It gets a bit boring. I like to see people and be around them. I like to get to know them and talk about things. You get all types of people talking to you when you sell the magazine, from all sorts of places and all kinds of backgrounds.

What do you do in your spare time?
I don’t really do anything. I have a walk around town or a bit of a country walk. Or I go sit in the Peace Gardens.

What are your hopes for the future?
My priority is just keeping what I got. I don’t think about anything else. No point in making plans. I don’t want to go back to square one – no one wants that. Just keep paying the bills, paying the rent and keeping it clean. That’s it really.

Do you have any advice for people?
Look after what you’ve got.

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