Coronavirus is hard for all of us, but imagine how awful it must be if you don’t have a home to take refuge in – especially now winter is setting in.
19-year-old John Lonut Mocanu has revealed what it’s like to live on the streets of London during lockdown.
He was made homeless after losing his job at Kaspas Desserts in Nottingham at the height of the pandemic and came to London in June in search of work.
John first arrived in the capital from Romania 18 months ago in hope of a new life after his family disowned him when he came out as gay.
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“I was staying in a car park,” explained John. “I couldn’t go and see people face to face and talk to them. If there was no Coronavirus it would have been simpler.
“I went to the job centre and they treated me like a kid.”
He was given some vouchers from Uber Eats via a charity but was unable to apply to formal work as he did not have a Romanian ID card.
The teen was unable to get hold of a formal ID as he couldn’t to get his parents to sign formal documents as they no longer speak.
He has since been told his father has signed the documents but he has to go to Romania to get them.
John explained to MyLondon that he could get a Romanian passport using a UK address but this process could take six months as a result of coronavirus delays.
EU migrants can only access Universal Credit or government assistance if they are ‘economically active’ or employed in the UK.
“I don’t want to fly because of Covid and I don’t have the money,” he added. “I am trying to get the ID sent to the (British) embassy.”
John spent three months looking for jobs on the street while he was staying in temporary accommodation. However, he says the pandemic worsened his chances.
“I printed 200 sticky notes with my number on it and I only got two or three calls because of the coronavirus.
“I went to youth centres too but they couldn’t help out. I think it was because of Covid. There was a one year long waiting list for me.”
John originally moved to the UK aged 18 in hope of a brighter future.
He said: “I arrived in the UK with £50 and a plane ticket. I couldn’t speak English so I had to speak to people on Google translate.”
With the help of a friend John set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to stay in hostels for the November lockdown.
Over £5,700 has been raised so far. You can donate to John here.