An adventurer and Guinness World Record holder has revealed that living on the UK’s streets was ‘more lucrative’ than he imagined.
Ed Stafford, a former army captain and amazon trekker, spent two months being homeless in Glasgow, Manchester, and London.
He found that as well as gaining 11lb because passers-by kept giving him fast food, sandwiches, and burgers, he could also make up to £200 a night.
Ed Stafford, a former captain in the British army, lived on the streets for two months
He found that there was more food than he was expecting. In Glasgow he saw 26 volunteers giving out food to two homeless people
Ed Stafford has done several other survival series including ‘Walking the Amazon’, where he avoided snakes, roasted monkeys, and met people that live in the rainforest while walking the length of the river
After living without a roof over his head for Channel 4’s series 60 Days on the Streets, Ed said that some parts were ‘easier’ than he expected.
‘I think I was shocked by the amount of food that was available,’ he said.
‘I thought I was going to lose loads of weight and it was going to be harder to physically survive – but in fact, there was an abundance of people wanting to help, in all three cities.
‘In Glasgow, I witnessed 26 volunteers handing out food one night, and there were only two rough sleepers there. I even met one homeless man who complained the public ‘overfeed’ him.’
‘And begging seemed to be more lucrative than I ever imagined.
‘It was common in London for people to make £100 to £200 in an evening, which is more than the average person earns in work.’
Ed lived homeless on the streets of Manchester (pictured), Glasgow, and London for Channel 4’s series 60 Days on the Streets
He also found that he could make up to £200 a night when he was on the streets
One homeless man he accompanied in Manchester made £20 in 30 minutes when asking passers by for money for a hostel – although in reality it was to fund his crack cocaine addiction.
Comparing the cities, he said living on the streets in Manchester was ‘manic’ as spice ‘laid waste to sections of the homeless community’.
‘You see them in the main squares, frozen like zombies.’
In London he struck up more friendships but saw a large contrast between rich and poor.
Ed said that the situation in Manchester for homeless people was shocking, with whole sections of the homeless community being ‘laid waste’ by the drug spice
Ed said he was shocked at how resigned some homeless people were to their situation. (Pictured) Ed tries to stay warm in Glasgow
‘I remember living on the Strand, near all the theatres,’ he said.
‘I remember sitting in the doorway of Halifax and hordes of people coming out of the Adelphi Theatre.
‘The triviality of what these people were talking about really struck me. I just remember getting almost angry at how inane the conversations were.’
Ed said he was most shocked by how resigned some homeless people were to their situation.
‘I had assumed no one would want to be on the streets if they had a choice – but actually, some of the community prefer life on the streets living on one’s wits, to one in temporary accommodation navigating the benefits system.’
After being on the streets, Ed said he would not give directly to homeless people, but does believe they need a great deal more support to help them escape the situation.
He also said that in London (pictured) the contrast between rich and poor was much more obvious
He said he was really annoyed at how ‘inane’ some people’s conversations were as they stepped out of the Adelphi Theatre
There are around 4,000 to 5,000 people that sleep rough on the UK’s streets each night, according to magazine Big Issue
‘At a deep level, it’s not a lifestyle any of them would have chosen for themselves – even if now they are resigned to it.
‘All of them have been driven to the streets by tragedy in their past – whether it’s something that happened in their childhood, a parent that’s an addict, or an abusive partner.’
Around 4,000 to 5,000 people sleep on the streets each night, according to magazine Big Issue, which tries to help homeless people by asking them to sell its publication.
After living on the streets, Ed found he would not give money to people directly, but said they needed a lot more support to get them out of the situation they were in
It also said that 78,930 people were in temporary accommodation, meaning families are in shelters, hostels, B&Bs, and refuges, among others.
Shelter UK, a charity that campaigns to help homeless people, said one in every 200 people in the UK is homeless, or 320,000 people.
The adventurer hold s the Guinness World Record for being the first person to walk the entire length of the Amazon river.
The program will air on Thursday at 9pm on Channel 4.