A MAN who spent two years living on the streets has decided to burn his sleeping bag after getting his own home.

The County Durham man, who does not want to be identified, thanked the team for helping him rebuild his life after becoming homeless more than two years ago.

He was able to secure an income after getting help to track down his pension pots.

Despite having worked for many years, he became homeless after his relationship broke down.

Initially living in his car, he ended up on the streets after it was towed away and crushed because the tax and MOT had expired.

Outreach worker Dawn Ward works for the charity Changing Lives and supports people across County Durham in a role funded by Durham County Council.

After discovering he had a number of pension pots, she has been working with Durham-based Wealth of Advice, which specialises in retirement planning to track down the money, which has enabled him to get a home and means he has a fixed income for life.

She said: “When I first met the gentlemen he was very reluctant to talk to me, however over a period of five months he built up a bond with me and then one day messaged me to tell me about the pension pots he had built up when he was working.

“I tried various routes to track down his pension based on the information he was able to give me but I hit so many brick walls and nowhere seemed willing to help me until I spoke to Chris and the team at Wealth of Advice. They took over the searches and were able to locate his money which has been a life changer for him.

“He’s such a proud man and because of what’s happened in his past he does suffer with anxiety, so it has taken a while for him to be confident to move into his own house.

"Now he’s in and he is like a different person, although still very frugal with his money which is understandable after being homeless for two years.

"He has said he’s going to burn his sleeping bag though now he’s off the streets.”

He said: "I am very thankful for the help I have received which has enabled me to move into my own home and begin rebuilding my life.”

Rachael Crook, from Wealth of Advice, said: “We are really passionate about supporting charities in the area, and couldn’t be prouder that we’ve been able to team up with Dawn from Changing Lives to help a homeless man track down money which has worked hard to build up, taking him off the streets and into his own accommodation."

Ms Ward, who spends much of her time working in Durham city, has daily drop-ins at Sanctuary 21, in Saddler Street.