Neil, aged 36, has been homeless for the past four months, often turning to stairwells outside shopping centres or multi-storey car parks when no other shelter is available. He lost his supermarket job after a back injury and had to leave his bedsit because of disturbances. A typical day involves getting up at 8.30am, seeking out public buildings, such as libraries, for warmth, and then heading to a day centre that supports homeless adults with food and conversation. “You’re like a ghost,” he says. “It’s a lonely old place, and it can be a scary place too. You sleep with one eye open.”