A former demolition worker who lost his job just before both of his parents died is living in a phone box because he refuses to accept state handouts.
Stephen Pope, 42, has been sleeping rough in a 3ft-wide BT kiosk every night since last October, with only a sleeping bag and a ripped duvet to keep him warm.
His makeshift bedroom is full of rags and bits of cardboard box which Stephen uses as insulation.
Now Stephen – who does not beg or claim benefits – survives thanks to donations from strangers who pass him in Bordesley Green, Birmingham.
He said: ‘It’s horrendous, having to sleep here day in day out but I have no choice. I don’t want to claim handouts. I just want to work and pay my way.
‘There’s next to no space, and I have to crumple my body up just to get to sleep at night.
‘Thankfully it’s a bit of protection from the wind and snow during the night time which keeps me and my stuff dry, but it’s not much of a life.’
MOST POPULAR TODAY ON YAHOO UK
- First victim of Grand Canyon helicopter crash pictured as three British tourists are killed in ‘tragic incident’
- London City Airport closed after unexploded Second World War bomb found in Thames
- Danny Dyer’s daughter Dani Mas Dyer is out of ITV2’s new answer to Love Island
- This year’s flu is exceptionally bad – here’s what to watch out for
- Hundreds of fire deaths may be linked to skin creams, senior firefighter warns
Stephen says that he has been harassed by people who pass, with some even shouting or banging on the glass.
‘I feel as though people are always walking past and looking in, thinking: “God, he must be desperate to be living there.”
‘It’s like I’m in a human zoo or something, people are always trying to peep in at me.’
Despite his situation and growing homelessness in the UK, Stephen says he is grateful to passers-by who donate money, food and hot drinks.
He added: ‘I’m really grateful when people do that, because it’s all that I am able to live off. It’s nice to know that at least some people care.’
Stephen first became homeless four years ago after his parents died within a few months of each other and he was forced to move out of their home in Yardley, Birmingham.
He said: ‘I have a brother and friends who can help out, but I don’t want to be a burden on other people. I’m a proud person. I used to have a job and a home but it all just vanished.’
Stephen describes how he struggled to cope with the loss of his parents. He said: ‘I lost my job, lost the house and suddenly had nowhere to go.’
Since becoming a rough sleeper, Stephen has seen many of the friends he’s made on the streets turning to drugs.
‘People have had their personalities changed, and I’ve lost lots of friends to it. I decided that I had to get out, because it was dangerous and the people around me were becoming bad influences.
‘Personally, I don’t do drugs or drink or anything, I never have done and refuse to do so. For me, I prefer to spend the little money that I get on food and drink.’
Stephen says his dream is to get on his feet again, find a job and get his own flat.