Pupils hear about living on the streets

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Students at an Ilkeston school heard a first-hand account of what it is like to be homeless as part of a series of workshops.

Chris Mills spoke to year 11 students at Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy about his experience of living on the streets during the session run by Derventio Housing Trust.

Jackie Carpenter, from Derventio, also talked to students about the stereotypes surrounding homeless people, how homelessness can affect anyone and where to go for help.

Derventio Housing Trust, based in Derby, works in local communities across Derbyshire to provide quality housing and related services to alleviate housing problems and end homelessness.

Chris now works for Derventio Housing Trust after it helped him to get back on his feet.

He said: “I have been homeless. I grew up in Northampton where I lived with my family and I never wanted for anything. I left school with five O-levels and then I spent six years in the Army.

“But I lost my job, the relationship I was in broke down and I couldn’t afford the rent so I became homeless.

“I have been more scared sleeping on the streets in my home town than I was when I was being shot at in Bosnia.

“I have been beaten up for my coat and spat at. The biggest thing is asking for help, we all know that there’s help out there but there’s the fear of asking. It’s quite daunting and there’s also your pride too.

“My story shows that it can happen to anyone from any background.”