This time last year Craig Sheehan had ‘everything in life‘, a wife, family, a house and a good job, now he is homeless, sleeping rough and using the gate service at St Mary’s Hostel in Bangor for food.
Craig was born in Prestatyn but grew up in care in Manchester and he is not in touch with his wider family.
Craig said: “I’m, 35, and have just spent my 43rd week surviving living rough in Conwy, Holyhead, and generally up and down the North Wales coast line, searching for a lucky break.
“I have been left sleeping rough since my marriage broke down, I lost my job due to injury, I no longer see my four children, and have completely ‘succumbed’ to mental illness.
“I suffered a breakdown after my relationship collapsed, but i also have underlying conditions, I have depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder.
“I have been sleeping down mineshafts on the Great Orme and in Llanrwst, they are a bit dangerous but at least it keeps you out of the wind and the temperature remains constant, I’ve slept on beaches and in woods after struggling to find a new home. Occasionally I ‘sofa surf’ with what remaining friends I have left, but I feel like a burden.
“Until my relationship broke up I had everything, I had a family and worked in a well-known hotel in Conwy. But everything unravelled and I ended up on the streets. I’ve also been mugged and had two teeth knocked out and I lost my tent in a storm.”
Craig said that there are times he wishes that he doesn’t wake up in the morning, he added: “I take several different tablets to get me through each day, and I’m drifting a lot of the time, the only thing that keeps me going is my dog Angel. She is so special, she’s loyal, true… She knows when I’m sad! I’d be lost without her.”
Craig also believes his homelessness is ‘not enough of a priority’ because he isn’t addicted to drugs or alcohol. He said: “There’s not help out there for the homeless, I’m not seen as a high priority as I don’t have a drink or drug problem unlike many other homeless people.”
Craig said: “There are glimpses of light. I go to a homeless shelter in Holyhead called the Lighthouse Centre and the staff there are amazing and caring people, and I’ve got friends who will let me have a shower at their homes.
“But what I really need is a roof over my head so that I can try and rebuild my life, until then all I’m doing is surviving.”
Despite Craig’s homelessness he has started a Facebook page called Homeless in Wales which continues to grow and he hopes it will become a network of information and support to homeless people.
Craig said: “I also started a campaign for life systems survival bags for the homeless, along with a fellow homeless man we’ve collected and donated sleeping bags, gloves hats, and survival bags to St Mary’s Hostel in Bangor.
“I’ve been in contact with Leanne Wood from Plaid Cymru and she’s going to arrange a visit to some local hostels and convey our message to the Senedd.”