In March Julian King and another resident Luke appeared in a documentary on Channel 5 star called: ‘Squatters Next Door’ which focused on homelessness spiralling out of control.
The show revealed that the number of people sleeping rough has doubled in the last five years with 13,000 in just a year. In last 12 months 450 homeless people have died while 200,000 properties like Ambassador House sit empty for years.
Presenter Storm Huntley spent the night in Ambassador House asking the question whether the occupants were ‘freeloaders’ because they were using the electricity and had tapped in to the water.
Julian responded: “We may not be paying for the electricity or water but what else would you have us do die of thirst or freeze to death…. we are human beings. If we had the money we’d pay.”
Julian, a film maker, who studied at Croydon College began squatting because he couldn’t afford his rent.
The programme also spoke to Luke who showed Storm the urine stained car park stairwell in Croydon where he had slept; being offered drugs and targeted by thieves. He explained that he had tried to get help but resorted to taking an overdose of 125 tablets – a mix of anti depressants, sleeping tablets and anxiety drugs – because he said he “felt like rubbish”. He told The Chronicle he had been living in Ambassador House since November and that the opportunity of having stable accommodation had allowed him to complete a course to become a lifeguard.