A homeless man who lives outside a supermarket in Hull says he relies on the generosity of customers to survive.
Jonathan Taylor, 33, spends his days and nights sheltering from the elements under the outdoor roof of Lidl in Cottingham Road.
The former tyre fitter sadly lost his mum to suicide eight years ago and has been living on the streets ever since.
Over this time, Mr Taylor has wanted to take his own life, but stays strong as he believes there are people are in much worse situations that himself.
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"My mum killed herself two days before my birthday and I found her in our house," said Mr Taylor.
"Three days after they evicted me and I lost all my stuff as I couldn't afford storage.
"That was eight years ago and I've been on the streets ever since.
"I do get looked down on and it's horrible but I feel safe on the street.
"Hull is one of the best places to be. We are hard resilient people that have gone through trawler tragedies and hardships.
"Hull is brilliant I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t these nice people looking after me at Lidl. Without their generosity I wouldn’t be here.
"I used to cry about having no shoes and then I saw a man with no feet, and thought that there’s a lot worse off than me."
Mr Taylor says that not enough support is out there for homeless people and he feels that there is "no pandemic" and it is life as normal for those on the streets.
If you are struggling with your mental health and you live in Hull and the East Riding, please visit this informative webpage for information on how you can get support:
If you are having extreme feelings of suicide or self-harm, please contact any of the following:
· Humber Mental Health Response Service 01482 301701
· NHS 111
· Sane mental health helpline on 0845 767 8000
· Samaritans on 116 123
· your GP, a friend, a relative or someone you can trust
He believes that reform is needed in the hostel system, as he feels much crime and drug taking goes on there and it is a world that he does not want to be lured into.
"I won't stay in a hostel as I say 'don’t lie with dogs with fleas as you catch them," said Mr Taylor.
"They are rife with smack, crack, spice, pills, knives and prostitution.
"I did use when I first lived on the streets and dabbled with drugs but I think they saved my life as when my mum died the drugs just put me out of it and numbed all the pain.
"I’m off the drugs now and don't drink, but have been very low and wanted to kill myself before, but someone stopped me.
"My friends have committed suicide though and it’s very sad."
If Mr Taylor could work, he says he would grab any opportunity at employment, but cannot at the moment without having a registered address.
"All I want is a job and another opportunity at life - I've got A Levels and GCSEs and started at university," he said.
The author of this article, Anna Riley, has been a reporter at Hull Live since May 2018. Her interests include first person feature writing, human interest stories and breaking news.
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"I've got a driving licence and used to work as a tyre fitter but nobody will take me on.
"I just keep my head down and out of trouble and I’ve never stole a thing in my life.
"I’d rather sit and beg than go and steal.
"I just sit here outside Lidl reading my book and put a cup out if anyone wants to give me some spare change and often the kind-hearted people of Hull will share some of their food shop with me as they are leaving.
"Their compassion really means a lot."
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