Homeless couple with baby say ‘we can’t do this anymore’ in sleeping rough terror

News

A homeless couple with a baby boy say “we can’t do this anymore” as they open up about the terror of sleeping rough.

Darren Sherlock, 26, and Lori Trouton, 21, were made homeless after a dispute with their landlord two weeks ago, and are now sleeping on the streets as temperatures begin to plummet.

Since taking to the streets of Belfast’s city centre, they say the experience has been terrifying as they constantly live in fear for their safety.

“The housing body is trying to separate us into two separate locations – they’re trying to put her here in Belfast and me in Derry,” said Darren.

“We’ve been together two years and we’re trying to fight for our six-month-old boy in the court at the minute and trying to get a house together.”

Darren says he had come through heroin addiction and was resisting being put in a hostel by himself over fears he could relapse around other people with addiction issues.

“I’m an ex-heroin addict, but for three years now I haven’t touched any sort of drugs,” he told BelfastLive.

“I met my partner two years ago, she doesn’t take drugs, she’s 21 and a vulnerable adult as she has learning difficulties.

“Look, my background, I’m not proud of it, but at the end of the day it made me who I am today and I’m glad I don’t have any drugs in me anymore, because I can see clearly and think clearly.

“I’m a musician and I had a great life, but now I feel like I can’t do anything, I don’t know what direction to go.”

He said Lori had been approached by strangers at night and was left constantly fearing for her safety while she sleeps.

“It’s been rough – I have respect for everyone on the streets because they all struggle, but there are certain people who have flats or houses and they’re wandering the streets off their heads on heroin or other drugs,” Darren added.

“They’re coming up and harassing me at 3 o’clock in the morning when I’m trying to sleep, trying to lie beside me or lie beside her.

“I turn my back for five minutes and there’s somebody in her face trying to talk with her and get her to walk with them.

“I suffer with manic depression, chronic anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and I’ve no medication because I can’t get a doctor here.

“I’m constantly having to look over my shoulder – I can’t do this much longer and I’m really at the end of my rope, I really am.”

Lori says she feared for their future and was desperate to ensure their son Carson could stay with them as a family.

“I’m crying myself to sleep every night, I’m absolutely petrified on the streets, I don’t know what to do,” she said.

“Darren’s having to keep an eye on me 24/7, there are random people coming up and just trying to lie beside me and it’s so scary.

“I’m afraid of anything happening, because a lot of our friends have passed recently on the streets and I’m afraid of that.

“It’s disgusting the way the homeless are treated, there’s just an assumption it’s linked to drugs but not all people on the streets are there because of drugs.”

Darren says Paul McCusker, an SDLP councillor and the man behind The People’s Kitchen foodbank in Belfast, had helped him before and was trying to help them again.

“I want to mention Paul McCusker and The People’s Kitchen, he’s an absolute gentleman and he has been doing everything he can to help,” he said.

“Paul is actually the reason I managed to get myself clean, he helped me three years ago and he’s the reason I’m an actual recovering addict.

“But even he is finding it hard to make any progress, we’re just desperate to get this sorted.”