Street sleeper opens up about causes of homelessness in Leicester

By Mary De-Wind

A person sleeping on the streets of Leicester has described how the causes of homelessness are often misunderstood.

“You never really think you’ll ever be homeless,” said 31-year-old Ryan Smith. “You wake up every day from a young age with a structured life.

“You wake up, go to school then you come home. The cycle continues all the way until you’re 18.”

Ryan dreamed of becoming a teacher to make a difference to future generations.

But due to family issues and the death of his father, he says he lost all motivation to do anything.

“After everything, I started using drugs and we all know how that has ended. If I could stop I really would,” said Ryan, who is now homeless in Leicester.

He added that live-in services such as hostels or night shelters have high levels of violence as well as chaos, which is why he prefers sleeping outside even though the streets are not safe.

“Being homeless makes you realise that life can come at you so fast. One minute you’re living life care-free, next you’re at rock bottom. It just goes to show that you have to enjoy every aspect of life,” said Ryan.

There are many services around Leicester to help those who are homeless, including support for those who have suffered domestic abuse or mental illnesses, or those who have been in prison or hospital, as well as care leavers.

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Part of the By a Wall series. (Source: Gary Knight via flickr, CC BY 2.0 

 

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