The former drug dealer once had a home with a Jacuzzi – but ended up with nowhere to go after his landlord sold his home.
Tommy Preston has spoken of how he ended up homeless after ignoring warnings that his rented property had been put up for sale.
The 60-year-old had lived in Fletcher Road, Stoke, for three years when he was given 28 days’ notice to find new accommodation and leave the property.
But the Stoke City fan says he ‘put it to the back of his mind’ until he came home four weeks ago to find the locks had been changed.
With just the clothes on his back, Tommy was able to land a bed at Hanley’s Macari Centre, which provides free accommodation and food to the homeless. He has been there ever since.
Tommy, who suffers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said: “I came here about four weeks ago after I arrived home from volunteering at the Hanley Baptist Church at about 9.30pm, I put my key in the door and the locks had been changed.
“I had been warned it was going to happen as 28 days before I had been told that my landlord was selling the property. All my clothes are still in there, including my 15 Stoke City shirts, and my belongings.”
“My bags were packed and ready to go, I just needed to take my clothes out of the wardrobe. I’m asthmatic and I have COPD and my nebuliser is still in the house.
“I didn’t think it would happen so soon, I just put it to the back of my mind. I had nowhere else that I could go so I came to the Macari Centre.
“I never thought I’d be homeless at this time of my life.”
Tommy’s current living arrangements are a far cry from the three-bedroom detached home, in Meir, where he used to live before his wife died.
He said: “I’ve been through a lot in life and I won’t lie that I used to deal drugs.
“I sold heroin for two years and bought a three-bedroom detached home on Seddon Road, in Meir. It was beautiful and we even had a Jacuzzi.
“I stopped selling and began working as a security guard, but for whatever reason I decided to try the drugs I had been selling and smoked heroin, then I put a needle in me.
“I ended up in a coma for three weeks until my step-daughter came and told me that Stoke had beaten Cardiff 3-1 and I came out of it. Then I went into rehab for nine months and I’ve been clean for 14 years now and I started volunteering to help other addicts at the Baptist Church.
“On heroin you don’t care about people, you don’t care about anyone’s feelings you think that your more important than anybody else.”
Tommy says the Macari Centre has ‘saved his life’, as he attempted suicide a week before he was made homeless.
Tommy, who attended Blurton High School, said: “I tried to take my own life five weeks ago before coming here when I was at the flat because of what was happening.
“These past four weeks have been rough but The Macari Centre has saved my life it’s amazing. I don’t know what would have happened without this service, I would have been on the streets and I can’t imagine doing that.
“I’m went to my step-daughter’s for Christmas and New Year’s Eve and if there is a God I will find somewhere else to live in 2020, but I’ve got to put in the effort.
“I’ve been here a month and done nothing about it. I would like to get a job next year and earn my own money. That’s what I want.”