A Salford man camped outside the Manchester Cathedral last Friday night to raise awareness for homelessness.
Brian Higgins, a Salford native, knows all too well what it’s like to be homeless, as he was for 6 months. During this time he was sleeping in the back of his car and on some of friends’ couches.
Mr. Higgins took part in the event to also raise money for the Booth Center, an organisation who support the homeless by offering daily arts, employment and skills sessions as well as a healthy breakfast and lunch.
Brian has now found his feet, as he is a full-time trainer at Salford Mixed Martial Arts club and is also trying to kick-start his own smartphone app called barzoo.
Brian raised over £500 for the organisation, however, he still said the experience doesn’t even come close to the actual life of homelessness. “When people are taking part in this they have their blow up beds, portable heaters, and whatnot, whereas when you are homeless you may only have the ground underneath you.” “In my mind, I was always thinking I have a bed to go to tomorrow, I can go home and have a wash in the morning, compared to homeless people who don’t have that luxury.”
Brian also added: “Everyone presumes that all homeless people are ‘druggies’ or ‘alcoholics’, but really a lot of these people may have just failed from business and whatnot.” he said, “It really splits families and friends apart.”
Figures have shown that in 2018, the percentage of homeless in Salford has risen by 52% compared to the previous year.
When asked about what advice he would give to someone who is homeless Brian said: “Everyday you wake up and think this seems like the worst day of your life, that’s the keyword ‘seems’, you can still try and make a difference in your life and fight to get some stability in your life again.”