Sunderland heart-attack victim forced to live in his car

Thomas Hackett in his car, which is now his home.
Thomas Hackett in his car, which is now his home.
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A HEART ATTACK victim has been forced to live in his own car after he was left homeless.

Thomas Hackett lost his flat in Carley Hill, Sunderland, while recovering from a heart attack in Sunderland Royal Hospital.

The 57-year-old says he was evicted after the property he was living in was sold.

So far, due to his poor health, he has been unable to find a new home to rent.

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Now Thomas is living his day-to-day life in a car parked outside his friend’s house in Thanet Road, Thorney Close.

“I’m just in a really desperate situation,” he said. “No one seems to be able to help me.

“I was better off when I was in hospital. I haven’t even got anywhere to have a wash.

“The first time I got clean in a fortnight was when I sneaked back into the hospital and went to use the showers there.”

Thomas said his problems started in April when he was struck down by a heart attack and taken into Sunderland Royal Hospital.

He said after he was discharged and went home, he discovered his flat had been sold and claims the new owner did not want to keep him on as a tenant.

Desperate, he turned to living in his car, but he claims the stress of the situation brought on another heart attack, which landed him back in hospital.

“I’d be better off back in hospital,” he said. “My friend’s been very good and he makes me flasks of tea and things.

“But he’s living with his sister as it is, they’ve got a house-full and it’s only a two-bedroom house. He can’t put me up, but he’s doing what he can.”

Thomas, who does not work due to his health problems, said he has tried a number of organisations, but so far no one has been able to help him find a new home.

“I’m 57, I’ve had a heart-attack, I’ve got other health problems and I’m having to live in my car,” he said.

Thomas’s story comes as the National Housing Federation voices fears over difficulties for those both wishing to buy or rent a home.

Rents are forecast to keep rising and more than 1.5million people are on waiting lists for social housing in England.

Housing charity Shelter is also concerned about the situation.

It’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said: “Millions of people across the country remain desperate for an affordable place to live, with more and more forced into expensive and unregulated private rented accommodation.”