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NHS ambulance worker living in his Volkswagen Fox car after being made homeless in Gravesend finds new home at alpaca farm in Hartlip

An ambulance worker who was forced to live in his car after finding himself homeless has been offered an Airbnb on an alpaca farm.

Bogumil Kusiba was subletting a property in Cambrian Grove, Gravesend, but was told he needed to leave by the end of September after his landlord announced he was selling up.

Bogumil was forced to live in his car after he was made homeless
Bogumil was forced to live in his car after he was made homeless

He began searching for spare rooms but said there were no affordable options as he needed to pay the first month’s rent and a deposit upfront – totalling almost £2,000 in some cases.

On September 27, he was made homeless and started living in his silver Volkswagon Fox.

Bogumil, who works for the London Ambulance Service maintaining and replenishing the equipment, was sleeping in his work’s car park in Barnehurst, Bexley, as it was safer than the streets.

But following KentOnline’s article highlighting his plight earlier this month, the 54-year-old has now been offered a long-term agreement to stay on Valley View Alpaca Farm, in Hartlip, between Sittingbourne and Gillingham.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “It has been amazing. I have food in the fridge, a cooker, and a bed, I could not have asked for more, it is so cosy and it is just unreal.

Bogumil Kusiba is now living in an Airbnb at an alpaca farm in Hartlip
Bogumil Kusiba is now living in an Airbnb at an alpaca farm in Hartlip

“It was a huge shock to the system from living in the car to here but now I have normality again.

“There are no words for it. I feel so blessed and lucky. It is like coming from the rain into the sun, it is that kind of experience.”

The owners of the farm, Andy and Kirstie Brown, contacted KentOnline after reading Bogumil’s story and wanted to see what they could do to help.

Bogumil added: “They are so brilliant and did not judge. I wanted to thank everyone else who also contacted me and offered to help, I am so grateful.

“It shows me that there are people who are compassionate and try to help one another. This is how we all should be.

“It just shows you what can be done. There are kind people out there who will get together to try and help people in crisis.

“There is always hope, no matter what you are going through. I am evidence of that.”

Bogumil did contact the council when he became homeless but said he was not offered temporary accommodation because he is single and has no children, and therefore was not in “priority need”.

Pregnant women, those with dependent children, people who are vulnerable due to old age, mental illness or disability, someone who is made homeless as a result of an emergency such as flood or fire or a victim of domestic abuse, are assessed as having priority need for temporary accommodation under the current legislation.

Speaking previously, Gravesham council’s cabinet member for housing services, Cllr Jenny Wallace, said: “We are extremely sorry for the situation Mr Kusiba finds himself in.

He is living next to Valley View Alpacas
He is living next to Valley View Alpacas

“Sadly, with the cost of living crisis hitting hard in recent months, it is the type of awful situation all too many individuals and families are facing.

“The demands on us to try and find homes for those who find themselves without a roof over their heads through no fault of their own are greater than they have ever been.

“We currently have more than 200 households in temporary accommodation. These record levels of demand have been consistent over many months now.

“Unfortunately, following assessment of his circumstances, Mr Kusiba is deemed to not have a priority need as outlined within the Housing Act 1996 (amended 2002), which means he does not meet the criteria for temporary accommodation.

“However, we continue to work with him to try and find a housing option and he has been offered access to the rent deposit scheme to increase his chances of securing accommodation.”

His employers have also been offering him support during the last few months.

Bogumil says he feels so blessed after finding new accommodation following KentOnline’s article
Bogumil says he feels so blessed after finding new accommodation following KentOnline’s article

Speaking previously, chief people officer at the London Ambulance Service, Damian McGuiness, said they had signposted charities, local services and funding which could help.

He added: “While we are proud to be a London Living Wage employer, we recognise the cost of living has a significant impact on many across the capital.

“We will be working with him to ensure his working rotas are suitable for the very challenging position he finds himself in and is exploring other ways that we can provide immediate assistance.”

At the end of the month, Bogumil will be moving into a property in Gravesend after securing a rental agreement.

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