Two young men from Belfast have put themselves in the position of being homeless to highlight the issues around ‘hidden’ homelessness as well as life living on the city’s streets.
Ryan McConnell (21) from North Belfast and Marcus Wood (18) from the Shankill Road started their challenge on Tuesday (March 29) spending some time ‘sofa surfing’ before sleeping on the streets on Wednesday night (March 30).
Day 3 (Thursday March 31) will see Ryan and Marcus who are involved in the Springboard “Gener8” programme joined by other homeless campaigners for a mass sleep out.
During the three day challenge the young men will experience real life homeless situations from finding a friend’s sofa to sleep on, to living on the streets of Belfast including; sleeping rough, queuing for food, shelter and showers at hostels.
Ahead of sleeping rough on the streets, Ryan said: “Probably the worst bit so far was when we got in the sleeping bags and there was a lot of people walking past and just feeling homeless like everybody looking at you like you’re homeless straight away it was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had.”
He added: “I thought I understood what I homeless man is going through but I never thought it would be this bad.”
Marcus commented: “It’s great to see the support we’ve been getting over the last two days through social media and through people actually stopping and having a conversation with us and giving us money which will be going to charity. It shows us that people do care, people do want to help out.”