A HULL man who came to Bradford from Canada and nearly became homeless has been helped back on his feet by a community charity.

Russell Holmes, 59, was helped by The Faith Centre after a spiral of unfortunate circumstances nearly led to him ending up on the streets.

Mr Holmes, originally from the UK, emigrated to Montreal, where he married his Canadian wife, around two years ago.

But after a period of stability he struggled for work.

Despite being in one of the most multi-lingual provinces in Canada, Mr Holmes struggled to find a job that did not require him to speak French.

In December 2017, he decided to come to Bradford to find work.

The long-term plan was for his wife to join him in the UK as she was also struggling for work in Montreal, with her contract due to run out.

Mr Holmes managed to find a job in Wetherby, but was paying to live in a B&B.

He was told he had to wait a minimum period of three months before being eligible to receive benefits.

With no stable income, his cash quickly ran out and a vicious cycle began as he could not afford a car to commute to his new job – the offer of which was subsequently dropped.

He said it was like “taking 10 steps forward, then 20 steps backwards”.

Being on his own in Bradford and as he was in relatively good health, Mr Holmes was also denied emergency housing when he could no longer afford the B&B.

In a matter of weeks, Mr Holmes – who describes his life up to that point as “never having any issues at all, even my licence is squeaky clean” – was technically homeless.

He was referred to The Faith Centre in December by a cashier from NatWest who had dealt with a very distressed Mr Holmes as he tried to apply for a MasterCard.

That month the severity of the cold weather led The Faith Centre to open its doors to vulnerable people who did not have anywhere to stay.

They put Mr Holmes up for a couple of nights and then paid for a B&B while they tried to arrange temporary accommodation.

Eventually, City Wide housing was able to provide a flat and The Faith Centre arranged some casual work for Mr Holmes.

Now, through his work and the project’s funding, Mr Holmes has a ticket back to Canada where he will return to his wife and the prospect of a new job.

Chairman of The Faith Centre, Yusef Asghar, said Mr Holmes’s story highlighted “anyone can fall into the trap of homelessness and not just alcoholics and drug users”.