PETE Davison finally has a roof over his head today – after 11 amazing years sleeping rough.
In the past the 48-year-old has found refuge under road bridges, in skips, disused toilets and even a pig sty.
For three years he lived at Shroggs Tip in Halifax and for several more his home was a hole in the hillside at Wainhouse Terrace, King Cross.
Shaggy-haired Pete is just one of an army of forgotten homeless people in Halifax whose plight has been highlighted by a new exhibition at Dean Clough.
Pete said he and many others like him were forced to find discreet places to sleep so they were not hassled.
He said: “I used to wake up when the first birds started singing and then walk all day until got dark again,” he said. Pete and his older brother Joe Sutcliffe were taken into care in their early teens but, having suffered a childhood plagued by neglect and abuse, found it difficult to settle with any family.
At 17, Pete found himself out on the streets, sleeping rough or squatting.
When he was 20, he moved in with a woman but the relationship did not last.
He left after four years and found a house off Pellon Lane but it had no water, gas or electricity.
He stayed there for 17 years until the house was knocked down and he was homeless once more.
Pete made a den for himself at Shroggs Tip and lived there for three years but said he had to leave when he was discovered.
“People would come and leave food for me but I felt like my privacy had been invaded,” he explained.
He found a pig sty in Hebden Bridge and lived there for another three years until the site was petrol-bombed and he was forced to flee.
His most recent home was in a small hole at historic monument Wainhouse Terrace, off Burnley Road, in King Cross.
“Some of my sleeping bags are still there,” he said.
Pete said he survived by living off food thrown away by supermarkets, begging and busking.
Sometimes he would walk 12 or 15 miles to a supermarket to scavenge for food only to be told to go away or the police would be called.