Joel: “I used to earn £40,000 a year.”

By Lucy Wilson

Joel Karn has been homeless on the streets of Sheffield for over a year.

He says, “My mum married this guy and he broke my arm, that’s why I ended up in care.”

From four-years-old, Joel, now 31, went through 21 different foster homes and five different care homes in Sheffield. “My life has just been upside down,” he says.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 18.13.07Joel used to be a carpenter, landscape gardener and bricklayer. “I was earning between £35,000 to £40,000 a year,” he says. Once the recession struck, Joel’s boss was unable to keep him. He was made redundant and from there, things became tricky.

“I couldn’t afford to pay the mortgage on my house anymore and I started drinking. It was only three years ago when I lost everything,” he says.

Joel explained that the number of people living on the streets has increased, “In Sheffield there used to be five of us, there’s now 14. I keep myself to myself, the majority of them are drug addicts and I can’t be dealing with that.”


“Two youths just spat at me.”

Homeless people like Joel are often treated negatively by the public. “Two youths just spat at me, people give you dodgy looks all the time,” he says, “People don’t realise what is going on in people’s lives.”

In 2015, The Guardian reported, “28% of homeless adults are severely mentally ill, 22% are physically disabled, 15% have suffered domestic violence and 3% are HIV positive.”

“I’ll do anything to help anybody,” Joel says, “I got given a cup of coffee and I gave it to an elderly homeless woman – I do that often.”

Nearest Shelters/Help in Sheffield:

Shelter – Furnival House, 48 Furnival Gate, Sheffield S1 4QP

Cathedral Archer Project – Sheffield Cathedral, Campo Ln, Sheffield S1 2EF (8:30am-1:30pm, Mon-Fri)

The Salvation Army – Charter Row Centre, 126 Charter Row, Sheffield S1 4HR



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