Er, hiya, my name’s Mooch, I’m 61 years old.

The very first time on my own? Was when I come out of prison this time, in 2014. Even I was scared. And I didn’t have anywhere. I didn’t think I didn’t have anywhere, I just never thought about it. ‘Cause I’d have gone back to my old life, or whatever, but it’s scary. You don’t… Nobody wants to see people on the street, and if they do they really must ask them the story. You know.

There was another time, me and someone else, we was going down London, and we were stopped in Stoke, and the bloke that I was with was charged with seven armed robberies. Er… And then that was me—they just took him—that was me then, I was just on my own, walking round. I made it, for some reason, I made it up to Nottingham, I think. But I know I’ve been there.

But it was hard for me to come back because I didn’t know where I was going, or what I was supposed to do. So it’s scary, I can understand why… I can understand why people walk around all night, and then sleep in the open in the daytime, because they won’t get their head kicked in whilst… Footfall there. So it was scary.

I slept in town one night. I found it pretty easy ‘cause I was knackered, but then it felt difficult and I was still under probation, so I just phoned them up… Well, my probation officer, [?Cerise], she phoned me up and said, ‘You’ve got to come in.’ And they got me a place in the hostel, Newbury House. And I’ve gone on from there, into voluntary work and everything. And I will try and help them who’s been on the streets a couple of nights, ‘cause of the sanctions and that, and try and help them before they get captured into the homeless community.

The easy way I can explain, and everyone seems to understand what it is: if you move house to the other side of the country you’ve got to make new friends, new neighbours. And you know yourself, it’s not easy. So, as soon as you hit them streets you’re vulnerable, and you’re scared, and your dignity’s stripped away from you, because you’ve got nobody. You’ve burned all your bridges, you’ve had rows, you’ve done this, you’ve done that, you’ve ripped people off. So you think, ‘I’ll go on the street, I don’t care.’ And then all of a sudden you’re sat there and you look around and you think, ‘Fucking hell, what am I doing sat here?’

Er… So, it’s… I try and get hold of them… The community… Where you live is a community; homeless people are a community. It’s a group of people that make a community underground and not in houses. It’s not like, you know, an estate or anywhere. It’s just a violent cauldron, which is scary, and because you’re scared when you first sit down, someone says summat to you, you tend to… Not do it because you want to, it’s just… You just feel better ‘cause someone’s talking to you, you know what I mean? And that was that part, really.