5 Audio clip 2: Danny
Danny is 49 and sleeps rough in the city, as he has done for very many years. He was born and bred in Northern Ireland, and recounted some happy childhood memories. He became a civil servant in London, working for the Department of Health and Social Security, as a higher executive officer, but lost his job and his wife through drink. After sleeping rough on the streets of London for a while, he returned to Belfast. After robbing a chemist's shop, he was sent to prison for seven years, for robbery with violence.
After his release, Danny moved to Wales to live with a girlfriend. Again, he ended up in prison, this time in Swansea. There is no ‘wet house’ accommodation in Swansea, i.e. for those dependent on alcohol. This meant that Danny had slept out for nine years.
Danny was interviewed one morning in the yard of the Cyrenians' hostel, where he was having a bowl of soup. He talks about life on the streets, about violence and abuse, about begging and drink, and about the cold.
Danny died in 2001, two years after this interview was recorded. Life expectancy for people sleeping rough is 47 years.