Show more compassion says man who has been rough sleeping in March for more than 18 months

March man Paul Denny wants help to get his life back on track

March man Paul Denny wants help to get his life back on track - Credit: Archant

A man who has been rough sleeping in March for more than 18 months has told how he has had bottles hurled at him, been thrown in the river, given verbal abuse and had his phone stolen.

Paul Denny, 50, said he often chooses to spend nights sleeping in the hut opposite Specsavers simply because it is covered by CCTV and he feels safer knowing if anybody attacks him they will be caught on camera.

He said: “Yes I’m a drinker, but I’m not causing problems to anybody. I’m not offensive or threatening, I just do my thing, I don’t ask for trouble.

“People should show more compassion. People think they can treat you how they want because you’re homeless or drink. Nobody chooses to be homeless, it is just how things have turned out for me.

“I’m not proud of it. I’ve slept in bushes, anywhere where I can keep warm and dry, you never really sleep properly anyway as you are aware of every noise, just in case.

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“A bottle’s been smashed over me, my collar bone broken, two guys picked me up and threw me in the river, some people think its fun to attack a vulnerable person.

“Sometimes I shake where I’m that scared.

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“I just want somebody help me to get my life back in order with a home and for people to be a bit kinder.

“I’ve got a 21 year old daughter who I’m now back in touch with and am desperate to get a place to live so I can build a relationship with her.”

Paul told how he was living in a hostel in Princes Walk and said he was up to date with rents but was picked on by a fellow resident which forced him to move out and become a rough sleeper.

He can get a bed in the Ferry Project for one night in Wisbech, he said, but needs a long term solution, and because he is an adult single male he does not fall into a priority re-homing category with Fenland District Council.

• In any one night in the UK there are around 3,569 people sleeping rough, according to Government figures. The eastern region has seen the biggest rise in homelessness - 38 per cent in the last year. In the last five years rough sleeping nationally has risen by 102 per cent.

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