Charlotte aged 17 and Darren aged 19
Lantern, Cigarettes, Phone
Charlotte It started off for me when I was 15. My mum lost her house and we were homeless. We were living with my stepfather but he got ill and we lost the flat. From then I was on the street for a year in a tent. My mum was homeless herself. Not much she could do.
Darren Basically when I was 17 my mum kicked me out due to not being able to pay the rent with no job. I couldn’t claim to pay the rent. Then I was living in tents, sheds, on a park bench, on the streets, wherever I could. My nan and granddad used to say if I could help I would. But they couldn’t. Sometimes I went round a friend’s place but that wasn’t always possible. Charlotte was in the same predicament as me. On certain occasions we used to pitch up with both tents. If we didn’t have each other as friends it wouldn’t be the same. We’ve known each other for years.
Charlotte At the time we was living in the rain. We used to wake up soaking wet. Adventurous. But after a while you’ve had enough of it. We lived in the tent when it was snowing at one point. All year round.
Darren In the tent we had a big power pack. We could leave it at a mate’s house to charge up then it would last all night. We could plug in the torch so we could see what we were doing.
Charlotte We shared the power pack, we had some duvets, some covers, little bits and bobs. Not a lot. It’s a tent.
Darren I think it takes a lot of will power to get through it. You’ve got to be strong deep down. Recently Charlotte was robbed. They took her cigarettes, her phone. It’s not nice.
Charlotte Social services did get involved but I just didn’t go near them. Every time they came to the door I ignored the door. When they called me on the street I would walk away. I wouldn’t go into care.
Darren From what I’ve heard care’s not great. Some people have it, some don’t. That’s life.
Charlotte You’ve got to be happy go lucky. Every day, get up, do your thing. Go round a friend’s house, get your clothes washed, get a warm cup of tea down you. Otherwise you’ll be sitting there shaking all day. Some days we would wake up and have a bit of sun, slight sun twinkling on our toes and we’d hang out our little tent bits.
Darren We used to buy food or go round a mate’s house. Or get food at relatives. If you’re sleeping at a friend’s house, or a relative puts you up for a few nights then it’s the good life.
Charlotte I was on the street for just under a year. But the council did help me. People say they don’t help but they do. You’ve got to keep bugging them. But they do help. We got emergency housed into the foyer. From then, things are getting better. You do get through. Friends help you through.