The Government may have tasked councils with finding accommodation for rough sleepers, but Big Issue vendor Craig has vowed to stay on the streets – so we are working hard to protect him.
Despite the March 27 Government order, Craig has decided to stay in the tent where he has been rough sleeping for the last five months in Truro.
The local council and Streetlink have offered Craig a place to stay but he has refused, insisting that he is safer where he is, carrying out social distancing in his own way.
He told Cornwall Live: “I’ve had someone come and see me at my campsite but I’ve refused to be housed for now.
“Although I’m outside I’m not in a confined space so am less likely to catch coronavirus. I feel safer this way and they’re fine with it.”
Vendors on the street have a lifeline which is their phone, so we decided to purchase some solar-powered mobile phone chargers to enable Craig to be safer
There is little that The Big Issue’s sales and operations team in the area can do to force Craig to accept the offer.
So instead we are working hard to keep supporting him.
Steve Carter, our sales and operations team leader for Devon and Cornwall, said that Craig, who sells the magazine at Mallets in Truro, has been provided with solar-powered phone charger to keep his mobile usable for emergencies and to remove the need for him to search out a power point to charge.
“Craig has been offered accommodation off the streets by the council but has decided that it is safer to stay out in the tent where he lives,” said Steve, who remains in regular contact with Craig.
Our vendors buy every copy of the magazine from us for £1.50 and sell it on to you for £3. Which is why we ask you to ALWAYS take your copy of the magazine. We believe in trade not aid.
“I can’t tell him what to do but I do want him to stay safe, especially in the difficult times we find ourselves in now.
“He was having trouble finding places to charge his phone and each time he went looking he was putting himself at more risk. Vendors on the street have a lifeline which is their phone, so we decided to purchase some solar-powered mobile phone chargers to enable him to be safer.
“I want Craig to be able to contact someone in case of emergency and if he started developing symptoms in his tent and I feel it was the right thing for our team to do to support Craig at this time.”
Craig’s case demonstrates the complexities of housing people who are used to living on the streets. It’s not simple as just moving people away from the place and the way of life they know.
He is unable to sell The Big Issue on the streets after we were temporarily forced to halt vendors from selling. That’s why he needs your help – you can support him by subscribing to receive the magazine directly to your door or device. Head to bigissue.com/subscribe for details.
Alternatively you can get a copy from The Big Issue Shop or from Sainsbury’s, McColl’s and Co-op stores across the country.