Wesley lived in Minnesota for over 30 years. He was born in Poland and his parents moved to America, yet he never received a U.S. citizenship. Almost 4 months ago Wesley was deported back to Poland. Having grown up in America, Wesley doesn’t know any other language other than American English. Not being able speak a local language and not knowing anyone in Europe, Wesley wandered around Europe sleeping rough. He eventually made his way to the UK so he can communicate.
Wesley told me he has been sleeping rough in the UK for 2 weeks. Unlike Carl, who is a U.S. citizen and cannot get benefits in the UK, Wesley’s Polish heritage entitles him to benefits here. Wesley said it took 5 nights for local outreach teams to verify that he was actually homeless (I am told they have to witness a person asleep on the ground. In the U.S. we have similar sometimes unpractical rules) but he is now in a night shelter. Carl is not so lucky and has to sleep outside in the cold.
Wesley was an owner-operator truck driver in Minnesota. Here in the UK he is just another rough sleeper. Wesley has only one wish – to go back home.