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Life after homelessness: 'When I moved into my own flat, I cried tears of joy all night'

Andy Palfreyman, 54, spent 30 years on the streets before he had a chance encounter with an artist

‘When I moved in, I cried tears of joy all night’ ... Andy Palfreyman at home in London.

After living on the streets for 30 years, this month I finally moved into my own place. I knew this was going to be life changing, but I was a little bit scared, because the mundane parts of domestic life are so alien to me.

I was a bit of a rebel as a teenager – I thought I always knew best and my relationship with my family broke down as a result. When I was 19, I left my home in Sandbach, Cheshire, for the bright lights of London.

The little bit of money I had soon ran out and I ended up living on the streets, which became my home for the next three decades. I have struggled for years with my mental health, and depression kept me from seeking help. I would mostly bed down in doorways in central London, around Westminster and Covent Garden. Most rough sleepers in the capital congregate here, as it is where most of the help can be found.

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