Homeless protest at Christmas

SOMETIMES the only way to be heard is by making a very public statement.So thought Dyo Gibbs when it appeared he would be given nowhere to stay this Christmas.

SOMETIMES the only way to be heard is by making a very public statement.

So thought Dyo Gibbs when it appeared he would be given nowhere to stay this Christmas.

The 29-year-old was made homeless when he was refused renewal of his temporary accommodation tenancy and told by Ipswich Council that no alternative would be found for him.

Mr Gibbs decided to make a protest by pitching a tent in front of the council's customer service centre on the Cornhill.

He said: “I was turned away by the council and told that I wasn't considered a priority case. I decided to make a peaceful protest and wasn't there to cause a disturbance.”

Mr Gibbs described himself as a “sofa surfer” after having to leave Wilbury House on Norwich Road and being forced to stay at the houses of friends.

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The protest grabbed the attention of passers by, mostly intrigued by the spectacle but some stopping to offer help.

The demonstration eventually ended when Mr Gibbs was invited to talk to Steve Wells, Ipswich Borough Council's portfolio holder for housing services.

Mr Wells said: “There is no need for people to be on the streets this Christmas. We found an emergency direct access bed for Mr Gibbs where he will be warm and safe.

“We will continue more holistic work with him and he is coming back to see us in the New Year when we will find permanent housing for him.”

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