This is Mark.
He is 46 years old.
He has been rough-sleeping for the last 10 years – following a family breakdown.
He is a father.
He misses his daughters.
He spends his nights beneath a Leeds structure that has come to be known by the city’s homeless community as ‘Mark’s Bridge’.
His closest friend is his pet dog – and because they could not be separated – securing accommodation of any type is virtually impossible.
He is addicted to Crack Cocaine.
He uses Crack Cocaine to quote: “Numb the pain.”
He funds his addiction by begging in the city centre.
He is clear that easier access to addiction services and housing would change his outcomes.
He believes that addiction services in the city (both statutory and third sector) are overwhelmed.
While I was speaking with Mark (on a busy Leeds street), two passing men took the opportunity to launch a verbal attack on him – for being homeless. He did not respond. He explained that such treatment is usual.