'Life-changing' - homeless teacher with PhD thanks community for £1,000 in donations
A homeless man has thanked Argus readers who helped donations reach £1,000 as he tries to get off the streets.
Richard Martin has also been put into temporary accommodation at a former care home provided by Brighton and Hove City Council, meaning he has his own room to stay in.
The 53-year-old came back to Brighton on December 28 last year after living in Spain for 12 years teaching English.
He told how he became homeless after being attacked and losing his front teeth while moving house in Seville on November 15.
Richard studied in Brighton during the 1980s and 1990s where he got a degree and masters in English and American Literature, as well as a PhD at Sussex University.
He approached The Argus claiming that authorities said he would be facing months on the streets as he would not pass a test that would give him access to universal credit and the council’s temporary accommodation list.
He said: “It’s the best news I have had in a very long time, two really good things happened recently.
“I have been able to find temporary accommodation, this is the next step up from rough sleeping so I’m indoors now while I look for permanent accommodation.
“The other thing was that I set a goal of £1,000 which has been reached. It was reached within one weekend which was amazing. It has made me feel really grateful for those who saw the story and donated.
“For me at the moment, it’s a life-changing amount of money and gives me some options which I didn’t have before.
“The council is going to help me move up from the hostel where I am at the moment, to permanent accommodation but this will take up to two months.
“It’s a massive difference to be inside and have your own room. Everything is so much simpler and you can start to organise things. When you’re sleeping rough, you’re constantly thinking what you’re going to do next.
“You don’t have any time to plan. It’s raining and you are trapped by the weather for example.”
Richard, originally from Devon, plans to get permanent accommodation and find work here.
He also wants to work in the homeless sector once he has secured his future.
Richard said fixing his teeth, which were knocked out when he was attacked, is not his top priority.
"The main thing is to get out of temporary accommodation and into permanent housing”, he said.
“The second priority would be proper treatment for PTSD, I’m planning to see a psychologist soon. I’m hoping they make a referral so I get a permanent therapy slot.
“My teeth are my next priority after that unfortunately. I think I need to get implants if I want to find a job. I’m hiding them quite well.
“People do treat you in a slightly different way when you’re missing your front teeth.”
The council previously said it sympathised with Richard’s circumstances, adding that he was first unable to prove what is known as "habitual residency" in this country.
Workers said they understood his situation had changed and would reassess what support they could give him.