Help the (almost) homeless

Those who know me well, will know that my relationship with my girlfriend has ended. In recent articles, I’ve referred to her as my “ex-girlfriend”, “my girlfriend” (while in my head I’m thinking the past tense) or even the “most-recent girlfriend” (due to the amount of job applications I’ve been applying for recently). It’s a fairly amicable split. We’ve been through the unhappy stage, and the “wishing it could be different” stage. We’re currently living together, in a 1-bedroom flat, and neither of us has burnt the other’s possessions. We’re not having screaming rows, or anything.

This can’t continue though. She needs to get on with her life, and find a more successful man, with less of a fear of commitment, who wants to get married and have children, etc. I need to move out.

This would be pretty easy were it not for the fact that I’m unemployed at the moment. I need to put in a claim for Housing Benefit, while I’ve still got an address to put on the application forms that doesn’t start with “sister’s sofa”, or “park bench”.

But that’s the easy bit. The harder bit is where the hell I’m going to live?

Last time I claimed Housing Benefit, I was already living in a house-share, with a hands-off landlord, who couldn’t care less where his money came from, so long as he got the right amount, and it was on-time. This time around, I’m going to have to admit from the off, that I don’t have a job. This shouldn’t be a problem, because the government will be guaranteeing to pay my rent. Except that’s not the case. For some reason, almost everywhere says “NO DSS”. Flat rental agencies insist that you are working full time, and can prove as such. Well I’m not. And I can’t prove I am.

I have very few friends (and it seems like even less, of late), and of those I have, they don’t have spare rooms. They’re hardly surviving, themselves.

Moving back home with my parents (not that I’ve even asked – it wasn’t exactly “nice” the first time I moved out, and we’ve all come to accept that I was deeply unhappy there, and needed to leave), would be such a backwards step. They live in the middle of nowhere, and I’ve already worked out I can’t afford to run a car on Housing Benefit/Jobseeker’s Allowance. I’d be stuck in a town with no train station, and where the last bus out/back is 6pm.

Ironically, every time a recruitment agency phones me at the moment, one of their first questions is if I have my own transport. Thus far, I’ve resisted the urge to go “if you can actually find me a job, yes. Otherwise, no”.

So anyone got any tips? Know anyone with a spare room they’re not using?

What am I like to live with?


I’m the opposite of a party animal. I spend a lot of time on the Internet. You’ll hardly know I’m there. If I have the slightest inkling that you can hear my music, I’ll put on headphones. I don’t do loud movies or anything.


Not much at the moment. I quite enjoy a go on the Playstation/Xbox, but I’m pretty rubbish at most computer games. Your saved high scores are safe. I have no interest in any sport really, but I play both pool and darts (not at the same time, and both really badly). I quite like taking photos, and don’t do enough of it. If you’ve got a garden, and it’s OK, I might grow some plants.


I’m tidy but not too anal about it. Although I do like to file everything in date order, neatly in ring binders. I cleaned the kitchen hob yesterday. And the toilet. I’ve hoovered recently (in the last week).

Bad habits?

Not much. I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t smoke. I occasionally pick my nose, but I try not to do it in front of other people.

Eating habits?

I eat meat. I’m a very fussy eater, so I eat mostly quite boring bland food. A lot of carrots and potatoes. I won’t stink out your house, because the spiciest thing I eat is a chicken korma. I make quite nice chocolate fairy cakes, so if you’re a fan of chocolate, that might be good.


I don’t read much in the way of newspapers. The only one I have a paid iPhone app for is The Guardian. I laugh at The Sun, and think the Daily Mail/Express are a bit evil/ridiculous. I’ve not much of a clue about history, geography, or politics. On the other end of that spectrum, I have no interest in X Factor either. Very much the middle ground.

Any big pro points?

I can fix computer-y problems. Or problems with WiFi, broadband, etc. And I know what to tell your ISP to get them to actually fix a problem. If you want me to teach your elderly mother to use Skype, I can do that. I don’t mind helping out with a bit of DIY (assisting you, not removing walls while you’re out). I don’t put up pictures with Blu Tac, or sellotape. I quite like dogs. I tolerate cats, as long as they don’t live in my room.

Got loads of stuff?

Amount still being worked out. I share a 1-bed flat at the moment, so I don’t have that much. Some of it is going to go into storage (friend’s attic), methinks. I’ll bring my own plates, cups, bowls, and glasses, although not sure about cutlery. Some baking trays too. Oh and I’ve got a Playstation 3 that is definitely coming with me.

Where do I want to live?

I’d quite like to stay in Bristol. It’s taken me years to find a decent NHS dentist, and someone who does a good job of cutting my hair (but doesn’t try and talk to me about football while they’re doing it).

I’m likely going to have to sell my car quite soon, and I don’t want to be cut off completely, living in the arse-end of nowhere. Living out of the way is going to cost me a fortune to get to interviews by public transport. I’m most at home around Redland/Bishopston/Horfield/Cotham/Henleaze because that’s the areas I’ve lived in since moving to Bristol, but I’m open to suggestions.

Think you can help?

Email: <link now removed due to spam>

Twitter: @benpark

Much appreciated.

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