A DESPERATE musician has revealed he fears ending up homeless as he can't even afford the £3 for petrol it costs to get to his local food bank.
Michael Lane, from Leytonstone, East London, said the cost of living crisis has left him unable to afford even the most basic essentials after paying his rent and bills.
Michael, 63, has been using a charity food shop at his local church to stay fed.
The food is free but customers are asked to chip in three quid for the Vicar's petrol, which Michael is now struggling to afford.
He told MyLondon: "I haven’t even got three quid.
"So I’m going to ask the lady if I can pay six quid next time I go."
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He explained he is grateful the food bank is so generous with the food, but he won't have the money to use it until he receives his next Job Seeker's allowance payment.
He added: "Job Seeker’s allowance is not covering anything really.
"It pays bills but it’s a balancing act. One week I put money on my E.ON, the next week I put money on my Thames Water. I’ve got two life insurances and they’re both £23. When rent and bills have gone out, there’s nothing left."
Michael had been working as a drummer in New Orleans in the US before Hurricane Katrina forced him back to the UK in 2005.
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He moved in with his mum, Sylvia, and looked after her as she battled a number of health issues.
However, when Sylvia died in 2009, he was left practically homeless and moved house "over 30 times" in the following five years.
He managed to settle in social housing and is now trying to find a permanent job, but says he is struggling due to "ageism" and his mental health.
On top of this, he tried to apply for a number of apprenticeships but was turned down because he already has a degree in art.
Michael went on to express his fear at becoming homeless in his 60s, saying: "I haven't got enough money to live on.
"I have just under three years before I get my state pension. The Job centre are always on at me getting work.
"I hope I don't end up a homeless pensioner."
If you are struggling you can find your local food bank by typing your postcode into the online search bar on The Trussel Trust's website.
Doing so will bring up your nearest food banks along with contact details such as emails and telephone numbers for them.
How can I apply for help from a foodbank?
There are over 1,200 Trussel Trust food banks offering support, but you can't apply for help directly with them.
You will need to be referred by one of your local community organisations.
Examples of these are GPs, schools, churches, or advice agencies such as Citizens Advice.
If you're not sure which local organisation can refer you, speak to your local food bank for some guidance.
Once you have been identified as being in a crisis, you'll be given a food bank voucher.
This grants you with a minimum of three day's worth of emergency food that is non-perishable and nutritionally balanced.
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There are around 900 independent food banks, and applications and support for these may differ, so it's best to speak to them directly.
The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) has a handy map that can help you find one of these independent food banks.
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