Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey today told how the five years he spent “sofa surfing” made him determined to tackle London’s epidemic of “hidden” homelessness.
In a highly personal interview with the Standard, he revealed that he had learned the difference between “hope and hopelessness” when he was forced to sign on after losing his job.
He gave exclusive access to his family photo album and said his upbringing made him only too aware of the challenge faced by Londoners who can only dream of owning their own home.
Mr Bailey, who was raised by a single mother in a North Kensington council house, said he had to leave home aged 19 when he “grew too big”.
At one point during his childhood there were 11 family members living in their four-bedroom house in Bracewell Road. He opened up as he went for a walk in the area where he grew up, close to Grenfell Tower.
He described his childhood, playing in the skate park with the “Moroccan boys”, riding his bike to Canary Wharf and floating on the Grand Union Canal in inner tubes from lorry wheels.