Homeless man spending lockdown in cabin built from wood he found during pandemic


A homeless man is spending the coronavirus lockdown in a wooden cabin he built from materials he found during the pandemic.

Chris Inker is living in a home he built himself by the side of a major road in Wales.

The 45-year-old began constructing his temporary abode on a small patch of land alongside the A4042 in Newport in the summer of last year.

Chris said he first began collecting cast away pallet wood and other materials simply to line the floor of a small encampment he’d made.

Five months later, Chris has two cabins – each with their own bedroom – two generators, a sitting area with a fire pit, and a shed to store wood, reports Wales Online.

“I was just in a little camp with a tent and that was it,” Chris said.

“I started picking pallets up. I put pallets on the floor and then I just worked myself around that to what I have now.

“I go and pick them up. If I see one I’ll just pick it up and bring it back.”

When the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Wales in March, the Welsh Government provided councils with £10m in emergency funding to bring all rough sleepers indoors.

Then in August, ministers announced a further £40m to “end homelessness” in Wales and ensure all those people are rehoused permanently.

Councils have been working with partners to house rough sleepers in Wales, and many have already been provided with permanent homes, but some have continued to fall through the cracks.

Chris said he became homeless after leaving prison early in 2020.

For a brief period during lockdown he was given temporary accommodation in a guest house in Newport, but said he decided to leave because he wanted to distance himself from hard drug-users.

“I came out of prison about a year ago,” he said.

“I moved into a tent up by there, but one of the boys burnt it down so I made my own by here then.

“It took me about five months to do that.

“They put me into a hostel on Stow Hill, but people were taking drugs and all that. I just didn’t want to know. That’s why I won’t go in any of these places.

“I don’t want to be around that.”

Chris said he didn’t have any experience of woodworking when he began building the cabin but his skills have built up over the last few months.

“I have two cabins and my wood shed but I have got a bedroom in my one which can fit two people in,” he said.

“I have got a unit to put my stuff in. My food. It’s all right.

“I get a lot of food dropped off. Blankets and stuff like that if we need it.

“Where it’s been cold, I have poor circulation in my hands, so I have been sofa surfing as well just so I’m not too cold over there then.

“But I have got my generator as well so hopefully that will be alright now.”

He added: “I don’t get bothered. I have the fire service up here. They come and check on us. Drop food off. Water if we need it.

we haven’t had any problems there.”

Chris said he is continuing to search for properties on the council housing list, and hopes to find a place in 2021.

“I’m happy for now until I get a place and I’ll go from there then,” he said.