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‘I was a normal kind of guy who fell through the cracks’: homeless man back on the street

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A 52-year-old homeless man said he will be sleeping in a doorway after being asked to leave the Purfleet Trust for behavioural issues.

Alan Martin, a former postman, had been at the charity for four months but said he was asked to leave on Wednesday morning.

He admitted he had been warned before.

Having previously slept on the streets, Mr Martin recalled having his sleeping bag set on fire by a group of youths in the past.

Daniel Clark and Alan Martin (9135474)
Daniel Clark and Alan Martin (9135474)

Paula Hull, chief executive of the Purfleet Trust said asking people to leave is a last resort.

“We are a homeless organisation so we do everything we can but there are occasions where we are left with no option,” she said.

“People need to engage with rules of no alcohol or drug abuse on the premises and no overnight visitors.

“If people do not comply, it’s a last resort to ask them to leave. We do not want to see people on the street.

“We have an independent living coach and try to sign people up to alternative accommodation, but if they refuse then it is difficult for us.”

Taking into account the safety and wellbeing of other clients is also something the charity has to consider, she added.

Daniel Clark, 32, a friend of Mr Martin who is being looked after by the Purfleet Trust, said alcohol has been an ongoing problem for Mr Martin.

“I used to be a postman in London working 9 to 5, basically living for the weekend. I was a normal kind of guy but I fell through the cracks,” Mr Martin said.

“People give a homeless person money and feel good about it, but something needs to be urgently done. It’s crazy at the moment.

“A lot of homeless people have mental health problems. I think it’s probably about 90 per cent.”

Mr Clark, who has eight children, said he has learning disabilities. He told the Lynn News that he would not be surprised if his friend Mr Martin was "dead within a year" because of his vulnerability.

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