A BRAVE homeless man has turned his life around despite the struggles he faced during the coronavirus pandemic.

Michael Clifford is now living in a shared house in Westcliff only six months after he was left stranded, sleeping in a tent in Gloucester Park as the UK entered lockdown.

The 42-year-old has thanked Basildon Council which helped put him up in a hotel only five hours after he turned to the council’s helpline.

Michael lost his dad to lung cancer in 2014, before he found his mum dead on the bathroom floor two years later; his life went “belly up” from there.

He had quit his job in 2016 to take care of his mum who had a pneumonia and a heart condition.

Mr Clifford told the Echo he had thought of ending his own life after his mum died, but his “pride for his parents” stopped him going through with it.

He said: “When mum died, I couldn’t afford the rent on the place we were in.

“I was on the streets in the town centre for a while. I was only in Gloucester Park for a day.

“The council have been brilliant. I was in the hotel for a few weeks before I was here in his new home.

“It’s great here. I’m really enjoying it and I’ve got some great housemates.

“I’m looking for a job at the moment but it’s difficult with the pandemic.

“I wanted to achieve three things. Get off the street, get a permanent room to call my own and a job. I’m still searching but two out of three isn’t bad.”

Michael also thanked producers at BBC Essex who helped put him in touch with the council’s homeless helpline after he rang their radio show. He added: “When mum died my friend Steve stayed with me day and night afterwards. He’s like a brother to me. I would take a bullet for that man.

“When I walk through the streets I still think about whether a place is a good spot to sleep.

“I never thought I would be homeless, but your survival instinct kicks in.”