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Former homeless man thanks Journal readers after getting a flat and a job
TEN days ago Ivan Halford was sleeping outside in Ringwood Cemetery - torrential rain and icy nights cutting through his sleeping bag.
But now, thanks to the kindness of Journal readers and help from New Forest District Council, Mr Halford, 47, has moved into a new flat, and even started a new job at Sandy Balls on Sunday.
The Journal reported Mr Halford’s story at the end of November, revealing the struggle he had been facing since July 2013, after he lost everything and was made homeless, forced to sleep on the streets in Ringwood.
Readers came forward in their droves, with several well-wishers trying to set up an informal soup kitchen, and others sending in money and vouchers to help him out.
He told us in November that despite having a “strong work ethic”, finding a job had become almost impossible with no permanent address.
He also said he knew of eight other men who live without shelter, regular food or access to basic washing facilities in Ringwood, despite the official number of rough sleepers in the town being pegged at just two.
Now he has been able to get a flat after the council helped him out, and can afford to buy food.
“Since the Forest Journal covered my story, my life has turned around,” said Mr Halford.
“I was squatting in empty buildings, sleeping in various places, rummaging for food in bins and washing in rivers. Life was intolerable. Life was becoming impossible.
“But since the story went in the paper things have been snowballing and now everything has changed.
“I have a stereo, CDs, DVDs, a bed, a kitchen. From nothing I now have everything, including a job as a maintenance technician at Sandy Balls.”
Mr Halford added: “I am resolute in making my life work and, thanks to you and everyone who has helped me back on the right path, I am resolute.
“Everything has fallen into place. I’ve started my job and it is great to feel like a fully functioning member of society once again.”
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