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Man who refuses to beg or claim benefits is living in an old telephone box

A man who refuses to beg or claim benefits has been forced to live in a phone box after he lost his job shortly before both his parents died.

Stephen Pope, 42, has been in the 3ft-wide BT kiosk in Birmingham since last October and lives off donations from passers-by. 

The former demolition worker 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.

He described his living conditions as “horrendous” but said he had “no choice”. 

“I don’t want to claim handouts. I just want to work and pay my way,” Mr Pope said. 

“There is 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,” he added. 

Mr Pope said he does not drink or take drugs and uses any money he gets for food and drink.  

He added that often it felt like he was in a “human zoo” as people peered in but sometimes people offered him drinks, food and money. 

“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,” Mr Pope said. 

“At the end of the day, I got myself into this situation, so I should be the one to deal with it.

“I’m not going to be the sort of person that’s a burden to other people, that’s not what I’m about. “

Mr Pope said he hoped to one day get his own flat and be back in work. 

“I don’t want to spend the rest of my life living in a phone box or on the street, I just want a second chance to make something of myself.

“I would never live in a hostel, because I know that the sort of people that live there are bad influences and do drugs, which is not the environment that I want to be in.”

SWNS


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