Man lived in tent in dad’s garden after losing job, girlfriend and his home

Jackson Marks found himself suddenly single, without work and homeless in lockdown.

The 25-year-old's life came tumbling down during the first lockdown last March.

His girlfriend of two years broke up with him so he had to move out, but due to Covid rules, couldn't stay with friends and family.

His dad also was having to shield due to being diagnosed with a terminal illness and his home was not an option.

Before coronavirus hit, Jackson was running a successful tiling business and earning up to £4,000 a month, writes DevonLive.

But that later fizzled out, on top of believing he had a driving ban due to an insurance issue.

He was unable to work and didn't have enough money to rent privately, with nowhere to go, he set up a tent in his dad's garden for two months.

He recalled: “I looked into one-bed housing but it’s so expensive and I couldn’t afford it on Universal Credit. Once I’d have paid my rent it would have left me skint for the next three weeks. I had never claimed benefits in my life.

“I looked for work online and rung up agencies, but I just need the world to come out of lockdown.

“As I couldn’t move in with my dad, I put up a tent outside the kitchen window of his ground floor flat.

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“It was a nightmare and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It was really depressing. I was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“The weather was boiling and I’d wake up melting in the tent. I had nowhere to shower so I probably smelt quite a bit.

“My dad let me use his shower a couple of times but I had to anti-bac the whole bathroom after using it. It was too much effort and too much of a worry for my dad.”

His dad luckily provided a 'window service' with food direct from the kitchen into the garden, and hung an extension lead out the window for him to charge his phone and laptop.

As he feared his situation wouldn't get better throughout lockdown he reached out for help and was offered a place at the Amber Foundation, an independent charity that supports homeless and unemployed people.

He now lives in supported YMCA accommodation in the Newcourt area of Exeter, and plans to move out shortly as he has been offered a new job as a maintenance manager at a care home.

Jackson added: “You have to dream big, especially in these perilous times."

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