OAP saved from homelessness after losing Thailand job

John Mitchell, who has a British passport, faced homelessness when he was forced to return. Picture: Fife Photo Agency
John Mitchell, who has a British passport, faced homelessness when he was forced to return. Picture: Fife Photo Agency

A last-minute intervention has saved a Kirkcaldy-born pensioner from homelessness, after he lost his job abroad and had to come back.

John Mitchell (67), who was born in Dysart and holds a British passport, went to Fife Council in the hope of temporary accommodation, but was initially told they couldn’t offer him anything.

Returning in mid-August, John has had to spend the last of his savings on hotel rooms, and has been receiving parcels from the foodbank.

Suffering from arthritis, John told the Press he feared being thrown onto the streets.

“I’m not expecting the world. I would have thought at least they could put a roof over my head. That’s my biggest concern. I have a slight heart condition, but what worries me is with the cooler weather my rheumatoid arthritis is coming in. If I’m left out on the street, then I’m dead.”

John initially left the UK around 32 years ago and went to work in Thailand in the hotel industry.

But when he was made redundant he took a role at a hotel in Laos with a company which paid for his visa and work permit, however he says staff weren’t being paid and when he left his visa and work permit were revoked and he managed to come home thanks to the donation of a plane ticket from friends.”

When John initially went to Fife Council, he said he was told “as far as we’re concerned you’ve made yourself homeless and we can’t help you”.

“I came back because I had no choice,” he said. “Perhaps I could have planned it a bit better, but under the circumstances – having this complimentary ticket – it was the lesser of two evils.

“Literally I left with a packed suitcase and that’s all I have. These are the only shoes I have to my name.”

However, the council have since re-examined the case and at the time of going to print, were trying to get in touch with John to help.

Joan Lamie, Fife Council housing team manager, homelessness and temporary accommodation, said: “Mr Mitchell received the appropriate advice when he approached the council.

“He has now provided us with the confirmation required that he is able to access public funds. We have asked Mr Mitchell to contact us if he still requires temporary accommodation while we make further enquiries into his situation.”