Former Amazon worker forced to live on trains after becoming homeless

Mirror Online 1 month ago

A former Amazon worker resorted to squatting on trains around Birmingham when he became homeless after breaking his foot but was told he was not eligible to claim benefits.

Mihai Calinescu, who is originally from Romania, was forced to leave his rented property in Nechelles,  Birmingham, after breaking his foot in March this year.

The 29-year-old said he then spent days living on trains and platforms and train stations across the West Midlands network but has been actively seeking work.

He told Birmingham Live : "I went from train to train in the day, starting in Birmingham and going all over the region.

Mihai has been trying to find work and a place to live
Mihai was not eligible for sick pay or benefits

"I had a safe place to get some sleep and to keep warm. I would go all over the rail network jumping from train to train.

"At the end of the day, I would get off the train and sleep on a platform until the early trains started up again. I did this for three days.

"I slept at Wolverhampton train station and at Lichfield Trent Valley. I started riding on trains on the Birmingham network and then went around the region.

"Obviously I didn't want to have to do this but the trains offered me shelter and warmth. I didn't want to have to be living in the streets."

Mihai Calinescu broke his foot in March
He may have to return to Romania if he cannot find work

Mihai said that when he broke his foot he was not entitled to sick pay, so he left his job hoping he would be entitled to some benefits until he was fit to work.

He came to the UK in 2015 and has had three jobs, including working at Amazon in Rugeley. He is currently sleeping on a friend's sofa in Birmingham but says he will have to return to Romania if he can't find a job soon.

He added: "I have had three jobs while I have lived in the UK. I really hoped I would receive some benefits support just to help me while I got back on my feet again.

"I had to have the plaster cast for two months and in that time I could barely make it to the bathroom without help. I was living in a shared house at the time.

"I have paid taxes since I have been in this country but unfortunately I was let down. No one should be in a situation where they are homeless and forced to live on trains.

Mihai says he has paid his taxes
Mihai spent days living on trains across the West Midlands

"I am actively trying to find work at the moment but the situation is made worse without a permanent address."

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "Anyone applying for a contributory benefit will need to have paid national insurance to eligible."

Mihai has not worked continuously for the last foUr years and so is not eligible.

"As his right to reside in the UK is based on the status as a jobseeker, he isn't eligible for other out of work benefits, however we have directed him to local support organisations.

"These rules have been in place since before the EU Referendum and there has been no change to access to benefits since there."

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