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"It's my fault, I should've done better" - the suffering of a 26-year-old man sleeping on the streets

PUBLISHED: 13:33 01 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:01 01 February 2018

Homeless man Mark Bruneel has been living in a High Street doorway in King's Lynn since last December. Picture: Ian Burt

Homeless man Mark Bruneel has been living in a High Street doorway in King's Lynn since last December. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

A 26-year-old man woke up on his birthday in the freezing outdoors, with the cold hard floor as his bed and just a blanket to keep him warm.

Homeless man Mark Bruneel has been living in a High Street doorway in King's Lynn since last December. Picture: Ian BurtHomeless man Mark Bruneel has been living in a High Street doorway in King's Lynn since last December. Picture: Ian Burt

Mark Bruneel has been sleeping on the streets of King’s Lynn for two years. He has no home, no money and doesn’t know where his next meal will come from.

He has been camped out in the doorway of a derelict shopfront in the High Street since just before Christmas.

Homeless man Mark Bruneel talking to EDP reporter Taz Ali on the High Street in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtHomeless man Mark Bruneel talking to EDP reporter Taz Ali on the High Street in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

“It is horrible to wake up every morning,” he said. “Some people are quite nasty about it, everybody is just happy to walk past and just leave me here.

“But I know it is not their problem.”

Homeless man Mark Bruneel talking to EDP reporter Taz Ali on the High Street in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtHomeless man Mark Bruneel talking to EDP reporter Taz Ali on the High Street in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Mr Bruneel, who turned 26 on January 29, was born in Leicester but lived in Lowestoft for most of his life.

He moved to Norwich five years ago to live with his partner and his young daughter, but a relationship breakdown left him on the streets.

Homeless man Mark Bruneel is hoping to be given somewhere to live soon in Dereham. Picture: Ian BurtHomeless man Mark Bruneel is hoping to be given somewhere to live soon in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

According to national figures released by the government on homelessness, relationship breakdown is one of the most common reasons people end up without a home.
Mr Bruneel said: “I didn’t want to go around in circles in Norwich that’s when I came here to King’s Lynn.”

For two years, Mr Bruneel has been in and out of hostels and sleeping in doorways. He said he has been moved on by police a couple of times and received trouble from people during Friday and Saturday nights.

He said he is receiving help from homeless charity the Purfleet Trust and applying for benefits through the Job Centre, but he described it as a long process.

Without an address, Mr Bruneel said his previous benefits had been stopped. Being left with no money has meant he was unable to find a new home.

“I suppose it is my own fault, I should have done more to keep hold of my family but I don’t know what can be done to help me.
“I don’t blame anyone else, if you start doing that you stop blaming yourself but I know I should’ve done better.”

A shortage of accommodation has meant Mr Bruneel may be given a room in Dereham, but he said he doesn’t mind moving 27 miles away.

“I want to be able to move somewhere to be more stable,” he said.

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