A homeless couple have spoken out after they have been living in a tent next to a Stoke-on-Trent police station during the coronavirus outbreak.
Daniel Jeffrey and his partner have been living with their Staffordshire Bull Terrier ‘Lady’ inside a tent they pitched on land next to Longton Police Station.
The couple say they were initially given a room at The Crown Hotel, in Longton, to keep them off the streets during the Covid-19 outbreak.
But they say they were kicked out after just one night due to concerns they weren’t caring for Lady properly.
Daniel, aged 38, said: “We were in The Crown Hotel and we have a Staffie, but the hotel said we weren’t feeding the dog properly.
“They asked us to leave and we have been sleeping here for the last 10 weeks. We pitched up next to the police station because that was where we felt safe and the police have been out to us a couple of times.
“We are in touch with Rough Sleepers and they have visited us a couple of times and they bring us a sandwich and a coffee. We’re waiting for a space at Holiday Inn but we still haven’t got anything.
“They have told us we can get a place easier without the dog but we don’t want to get rid of her because my girlfriend has had her since she was a puppy.
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“We feel let down.”
The couple say the worst thing about being homeless during the pandemic is not being able to keep clean.
They have resorted to using baby wipes and hand sanitiser that Daniel has been given by the public when he sits outside Tesco during the day.
Daniel said: “I know someone who let us go and use his shower last week, but that was our first one in 10 weeks.
“All we have been able to use to keep clean is baby wipes and hand sanitiser and the only toilets we can use are inside Tesco. I sit outside Tesco during the day, I don’t beg, but some people buy me bits of food.
“If it wasn’t for the generosity of some people in this area we would really struggle. When we first pitched up our tent broke after a few weeks and someone gave us some money and we used it to buy a £17 tent from Tesco.
“But the weather this week has caused a puddle to form in our tent.”
Daniel says the couple had managed to get clean from drugs before the coronavirus pandemic hit, but after leaving the hotel they have returned to old habits as a way to cope.
Daniel added: “We’ve both had previous issues with drugs, but we were doing really well before the pandemic and we were stable.
“But since being in this situation we have started using again. More than anything we want to get in somewhere, off the streets to try and get some normality back in to our life.”
At the start of the lockdown councils were instructed to bring rough sleepers in off the street and relocate homeless people living in hostels, such as the Macari Centre.
The city council has received around £16 million of coronavirus funding from government, to help it meet the additional costs of dealing with the crisis, including those related to housing.
StokeonTrentLive has approached The Crown Hotel for a comment and is awaiting a response.
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