Homeless man John has actually lived in various bus shelters for 15 YEARS in Milton Keynes, say readers

Our story yesterday prompted a big response from people who've tried to help him

By Sally Murrer
Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 1:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 1:46 pm

Our story about John, the homeless man who has lived in a bus shelter by a grid road for two years, has prompted a big response from kind-hearted readers.

They say the current bus stop has not been John's only home - and in fact he's been sleeping in various bus shelters in MK for up to 15 years.

He prefers the old-style ones with long bench-style seating as that means he can lie down to sleep.

John in his bus shelter home

"We moved to Wolverton Road, Blakelands over 15 years ago. At that time and for many years after, John lived in a bus shelter on the V10 Brickhill Street near the junction of Wolverton Road," said one reader.

"I engaged with him many times over the years, he even came to our house for a shower one night. We realised he was not comfortable to stay the night, so we got him B and B at the Travel Lodge. I went and checked on him at breakfast the next day."

He added: "We have taken him clothes and trainers we thought might suit him. They did. I think he still wears the blue coat.

"If he happened to be hungry he might fancy double jumbo sausage and mash. If not he would refuse.

New-style seating in MK's bus shelters means John can no longer lie down to sleep

"He loves listening to sport on the radio. One time his headphones were broken, I got him some new ones. Sometimes his batteries run out."

The reader added: "Generally, despite what people think, he is quite happy. He gets about a bit too. My daughter sees him in Great Barford and not for a long time I must say, I have seen him crossing over the A41 in Edgware."

John, who is in his fifties, once worked as a printer but had a health problem.

He says once his bosses found he was of no fixed abode, they let him go.

Other readers have told how they take the time to sit and chat with John in his current bus shelter and make sure he has everything he needs.

Some people say he has been living in this particular shelter for at least eight years.

He never appears to be drunk and does not smoke. "His favourite things are a bottle of Pepsi and a packet of Wotsits," said one.

Another said: "He's a lovely man. He's always very polite but says he is quite happy living how he does."

When John lived in the Brickhill Street shelter, the seating was a long bench on which he could lay.

But the council replaced it with separate seats with arms, said a reader.

"Unfortunately, I think the one he lives in now is the same and he sleeps sitting up."

The Citizen visited John and reported his plea that people should stop worrying about him.

"I'm fine," he said. "If I want a house, I'm quite capable of sorting it out myself."

He added: "Honestly, I wish people would stop worrying about me," he said. "I have everything I need. Tell them not to worry because I'm okay."

MK Council leader Pete Marland told the Citizen that John was finally engaging with homelessness workers.

He said: "I can reassure people that the individual in question is well known to the homelessness team at Milton Keynes Council."

He added: "There is a long and complex backstory to the situation and extensive help has been offered, sometimes on a daily basis. But sadly it has been declined.

"Outreach workers will continue to work with John to build trust and offer him all the support to get him off the street when he feels ready to engage."