'I am stuck in a rut' - recovering alcoholic terrified of living on the streets (From Borehamwood Times)
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Recovering alcoholic terrified of living on the streets in Borehamwood
A recovering alcoholic who will be made homeless next week fears the stress of living rough could leave him depressed and back on the drink.
Leslie Holtum, of Rossington Avenue, Borehamwood, has just one week to leave his childhood home after it was sold off when his dad died last year.
But despite being on the housing register for two years, the 57-year-old claims he is yet to find somewhere to live and has “nowhere to go” when the new owners move in.
After asking for emergency housing from Hertsmere Borough Council, he was sent a letter saying he is not a “priority” under homelessness laws as he is not disabled.
He said: “I am stuck in a circle and in a rut. I am watching my whole life break around me and there is nothing I can do about it. It is so frustrating.
“I feel sad and depressed but most of all, I am terrified about what those streets hold and I don’t know how I can hack it. It is going to be a struggle.
“I am so worried about it and I don’t want to turn back on the drink again. There is nowhere for me to go and nowhere for me to turn.
“My friend said I could stay with him but he lives in a caravan and I’d have to sleep on the floor – I don’t want to put him out by doing that or feel like a burden.”
Mr Holtum gave up his job 20 years ago to move back home and care for his dad – who he calls his “soul mate” – after he was diagnosed with coronary heart disease.
When his dad died last April, the house was sold and the money is due to be divided between Mr Holtum and his seven siblings in the coming weeks.
Despite his large family, his brothers and sisters say they do not have enough room to offer him a place to stay.
His sister, mum-of-four Michelle Fawcett, said: “Caring for dad was the only job he had known and he is now struggling to get back into employment.
“He devoted his life to them but now he has nowhere to go. I don’t know how he is going to cope and I am so worried about him.”
Hertsmere Borough Council said in a statement: "We have a policy in place to deal with people who are threatened with homelessness, and while there is a lot of history in this instance, we cannot comment further on individual cases to third parties."