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Posted on 8th July, 2013

Eddie,

the face of Northampton's homeless.

 

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Eddie, the face of Northampton's homeless.This is Eddie. With that great smile, he probably doesn't have the look you'd expect of the typical homeless person, and to be honest, he's not. It's been a roller-coaster ride for Eddie, having been through the typical highs and lows that all homeless people suffer, but his experience of being homeless probably didn't start in a typical fashion ......

 

Eddie was married with 2 kids, living in his own house, not into drink or drugs, and running a successful business that built exhibition trade stands all around the world. But in the style of Reggie Perrin, life wasn't giving Eddie the satisfaction he wanted, so he made a momentous decision: he broke up from his wife, sold the business, and went on a world tour. He didn't totally abandon his family I must add, as he bought a house for his wife and daughter to live in, whilst his son went with him. The pair got into the rave scene, followed the crowds to places like Goa, and started drinking heavily. However, the money eventually ran out, and they returned to the UK penniless.

 

They both went onto Northampton's housing waiting list, and although his son was successful, Eddie wasn't. In a sense then, to avoid cramping his son's independence by both living in the same place, this is when Eddie became homeless. Refusing to be defeated though, he did manage to find a job driving other people to their places of work, and was thus able to rent a flat over an Indian takeaway. However, he lost the job as a result of a conviction for drinking and driving. At about the same time, he lost the flat when the owner decided to sell up. Having insufficient money to rent elsewhere, this is when Eddie did, in reality, join the homeless.

 

It was his own fault you may be saying, throwing away a good life for short-term gain. But, before condemning Eddie in this way, ask yourself: havn't there been many times in my own life I'd have liked to quit the rat race, but failed to do so because of materialism, because of what others may think, or becuase of fear?

 

Anyway, not to be beaten, and possibly using resourcefulness gained in the business years, Eddie had a bright idea. He'd been doing odd jobs digging gardens, and realised that if he rented an allotment with a shed on it, for just a few pounds a year he could actually live in the shed whilst growing his own food at the same time. It was hard, so during this period, he sought help available to homeless people in Northampton, establishing contact with the night shelter that preceeded Oasis House, and, the Hope Centre amongst others. With their encouragement, Eddie finally accepted the inevitable, and moved in with his son.

 

Things continued to improve from this point, with Northampton Borough eventually providing Eddie with his own comfortable accomodation. Not only that, but he's now reciprocating the help he received, supporting other homeless people as a volunteer for Oasis House night shelter, and on the committee of the Hope Centre. (In fact, he's actually been featured on publicity from the Hope Centre, as the face of Northampton's homeless). He sees both of his kids on a regular basis, and is philosophical about his situation. In his words, 'Life could be better: could be worse'. But with a smile like that, he's the face of Northampton's homeless that shows it could be a lot worse.

 

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