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Homeless wheelchair-bound Colin Green collapses in Sittingbourne

A homeless disabled man has been rushed to hospital suffering from hypothermia after being forced to spend nights outside in his wheelchair.

Colin Green, 61, has also been treated for a serious heart condition.

The former long-distance lorry driver has been living on the streets of Sittingbourne since January.

Homeless Colin Green in his wheelchair in Sittingbourne
Homeless Colin Green in his wheelchair in Sittingbourne

Despite attempts to get a roof over his head he was still living rough on Saturday when he was taken ill and collapsed in the town centre.

Volunteer Tony Cooper had been taking Mr Green a cooked meal every night. He said today: "I took him a meal as usual on Saturday night but later he collapsed and was rushed to Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham.

"Doctors told me they thought he was suffering from hypothermia and also discovered a serious heart condition. He is still in hospital."

Tony Cooper took hot meal to homeless man.
Tony Cooper took hot meal to homeless man.

He added: "I am now concerned he will be discharged back onto the streets. He has nowhere to go."

Mr Green’s nightmare began last year after he was arrested for taking a sledge-hammer to his former home in Cambridge Road, Sittingbourne, during a row over money with his wife.

Police were called and Mr Green ended up with a jail sentence suspended for a year for criminal damage.

After walking out of Elmley Prison on the Isle of Sheppey in September, where he had been on remand, he found himself homeless.

Before he collapsed, he told KentOnline's sister paper, the Sittingbourne News Extra: "All I had were the clothes I was wearing. The court said I couldn’t go back to my home where my ex-wife still lives so I didn’t know what to do.”

Colin Green in Sittingbourne
Colin Green in Sittingbourne

At first Swale council put him up at the Premier Inn at Bobbing which has rooms from £38 to £98 a night for three months but then withdrew funding after deciding Mr Green had made himself intentionally homeless.

He sought shelter from organisations in Medway and Maidstone but says they couldn’t help. So he returned to Sittingbourne.

He said: “I have asked homeless charity Porchlight, Swale council and even MP Gordon Henderson for help but so far there has been nothing. Mr Henderson’s staff have been in touch but I am still on the streets.”

All Mr Green's belongings are on his wheelchair
All Mr Green's belongings are on his wheelchair

He added: "Some people have been very kind. Staff from a radio station give me a cup of coffee every morning and Tony Cooper, who is converting an old bus for the homeless, brings me a cooked meal every night. If it wasn’t for him I’d probably have starved to death."

He added: “He also gave me clothes to keep me warm. But I don’t like taking gifts. It’s not in my nature. I’ve always paid my way.”

Mr Green has been in a wheelchair since 2005 after being crushed between a car and a lorry. He said: “I can’t move my legs and suffer from chronic fatigue, heart failure and angina. I am on 15 to 20 tablets a day.”

He is on benefits and says he has enough money to rent a flat but can’t find any on the ground floor which can take a wheelchair.

Mr Cooper said: “If I had my bus ready Mr Green could stay on it temporarily. No one should be forced to live on the streets in this day and age.”

MP Gordon Henderson
MP Gordon Henderson

MP Gordon Henderson said: “I have written to Kent Social Services and asked what they are doing to help Mr Green. With regards to his housing issue, that is something he should take up with Swale Borough Council Housing Department.”

Swale council said: “Where someone has made themselves homeless intentionally our duty is more limited. Any such household can reapply as homeless if their circumstances change and will be considered again.”

Porchlight spokesman Chris Thomas said: “We have been working with Mr Green and other organisations to resolve his situation. We will endeavour to do so until he’s secured suitable accommodation away from the streets.”

Porchlight worked with 19 rough sleepers in Swale during the 12 months up to March 1 compared to six the year before.

If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough in Kent, call Porchlight free on 0800 567 7699 or visit Porchlight's website.

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