Homeless man battled addiction to get off the streets

A homeless Lincoln man, who has been battling an addiction to heroin, is reflecting on his 18-year journey to get off the streets.

Eddie Parker is currently living at The Pathways Centre and coming to the end of his time as homeless.

The 31-year-old sells the Big Issue on Sincil Street, near to the bus station, and is getting back on his feet.

Back in August, Eddie was one of the homeless people who had their feet cleaned by a volunteer group called Hope – Lincoln.

“It’s been a hell of a long journey to get where I am now,” Eddie told The Lincolnite. “I couldn’t have made it this far without the help on offer in Lincoln.”

It’s been a long journey for Eddie. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

He added: “I’ve been urinated on a few times, kicked and spat on. All sorts of horrible things have happened to me.

“I was a heroin addict for 15 years. It has kept me on the streets, takes everything out of you and leaves you with nothing.

“I wish that I had never started on it but that’s hindsight.”

Eddie now has a roof over his head and has been reflecting on his journey throughout the years.

He said: “I am left thinking about the people who are still out on the streets.

“Just because I’m off the streets, it doesn’t mean that the problem is solved. There are still people out there and I cannot stop thinking about how they’re going to be.”

The leader of a volunteer group to support the homeless, called Hope – Lincoln, attributes Eddie’s success to the wrap around support offered by different organisations in Lincoln.

Chris Lanoix chatting with Eddie. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Chris Lanoix said: “All of these people are coming together with the right partnerships in place to make a positive long-lasting effect on people’s lives.

“It seems like nationwide homelessness is increasing but in Lincoln it’s reducing.

“These people are our friends, there’s no ifs or buts. When I met Eddie I took him out for a meal and he can take me for a meal when he’s got a job.

“We aren’t saying goodbye to people like Eddie when they get off the streets.”

If you would like to join Hope – Lincoln to help homeless people like Eddie to get off the streets, get in touch with the team on their facebook page.