'People would walk straight past as if they do not exist' - Brian opens up about life on the streets
PUBLISHED: 16:37 12 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:09 27 July 2017
Londoner Brian Wilson, aged 51, spent between five and seven years without a home - and turned to drugs after he lost his flat.
He said: “When drugs became a major issue that was when I ended up sleeping rough.
“It started like in school, when you are in a gang of friends and you are the only person who is not smoking a cigarette and your friends encourage you just take one puff of the cigarette and that was my downfall.
“With drugs, unless you are a millionaire, comes crime to fund the habit. You become a bit of a lowlife and you lose friends which were not really friends in the first place and you make more enemies.”
Brian said his final homeless spell ‘opened his eyes’.
He said: “When they talk about the great divide between the rich and the poor, one side of the street where I stayed in the West End was a bus station and you could see everyone going to work and this side you have all the homeless people.
“You could see people begging and people would just walk straight past as if they do not exist.”
Things began looking up for Brian when he met a girl from Bristol who encouraged him to move in with her.
However after six weeks he found himself homeless again – and decided to clean himself up.
One of Brian’s friends paid for his fare to Weston and let him stay for a few weeks before he started his treatment.
He said: “I am clean now and I did that with the help of people.
“I started volunteering at STG as part of my treatment and I have now been there for a year and a half. It is brilliant and I really enjoy it.”
Brian is now living in shared accommodation and is taking exams with the aim of pursuing a career in social services to work with homeless people and addicts.