An elderly St Neots man with serious health problems has been living in his car with his three dogs since he became homeless in March.
Home for Ian Russell, aged 67, and his three Aierdales, is a Ford Mondeo estate car, which is parked in Eaton Socon.
Ian, who is diabetic, suffers from angina and is in remission from cancer, has developed open sores on his legs, which are being dressed by a district nurse who is now visiting him daily. A doctor also came out to see Ian on Friday and administered a blood-thinning injection because there were concerns that he had a blood clot in one of his legs.
Ian, who sleeps sitting up in the front passenger seat of his car, told The Hunts Post the situation was “appalling” and “very uncomfortable”.
“There just seems to have been so many hold-ups in getting me classified as homeless even though the district council know I have been living in my car,” he said.
“It is absolutely atrocious. At first I was placed in a Band D, which meant I could have been waiting a very long time, but recently I have been told I am now in Band A, so things are finally happening. There has just been hold-up after hold-up.”
Huntingdonshire District Council is responsible for managing the housing waiting list and initially it will classify people according to a strict criteria, based on their needs. Those in Band A are considered to be in the greatest need and are usually homeless or thought to be at risk from harm or suffering from health problems.
Ian, who is a qualified draper and has owned two businesses, fell on hard times when his marriage broke down and he moved to St Neots from Ayrshire in Scotland to be closer to his family. He has stayed with family members for short periods but his three dogs make it difficult for anyone to offer him a permanent home.
Although living in his car, he is able to visit his sister’s house where he can use the toilet and she cooks him a hot meal, but he can’t move in with her as she is disabled and has eight cats and a dog of her own.
Ian says although he knows his life would be easier without the dogs he can’t bear to be parted from them.
“The dogs are my life, I can’t leave them. They are getting old now as well and I know it would be almost impossible to find homes for them.”
He says he does get some strange looks from people passing by and feels his health has deteriorated since he has been living in the car.
“I’m not really worried about people looking, but I would hate it if people thought that I was a scrounger. I have owned a house and run two businesses, but things went wrong after my marriage broke up and I couldn’t manage. It is sad that I have ended up like this.”
The Hunts Post contacted Huntingdonshire District Council who said in a brief statement: “We are aware of this individual and are working with him to help find accommodation.”