David Wild, a 36 year old homeless man takes a sip of hot tea in the cafe we meet in. His hands are just withered stumps. His fingers fell off 2 days ago due to frostbite.
“I’ve been homeless for 5 years. Iain Duncan Smith caught up with me. He followed me home from the job centre, worked out where I live and had me evicted. My old house was turned into a branch of Waitrose.”
David’s story is like many. Failed by an education system that wasn’t suitable for him he left school at 15. His intention was to become Rochdale’s answer to Whitesnake. Instead, he became Rochdale’s answer to snakebite.
I ask him what it’s like to sleep outside in this weather. “Rubbish” is his response. He goes on to say that when he sleeps he never knows if his temperature will drop so low hypothermia will kill him.
I asked him what keeps him going in this weather David is quick. “The knowledge that Facebook users are thinking of me” he tells me.
“Every time someone shares a meme about the homeless from the comfort of their sofa in their toastie warm living room the knowledge that facebook users are thinking of me really warms the cockles. Particularly if they’re able to use that selfless act of kindness to get themselves laid.”
Church goer Randy Shearer says, “I offer my thoughts and prayers to the homeless. This morning I was sat on my own in the empty church thinking of the plight of the homeless with nowhere to go. What else can you do?”
As for David, he leaves the cafe to go in search of a new scarf and some dry socks.