CAMPAIGNERS say government bureaucracy is worsening the homelessness problem currently experienced in Bolton.

Originally from Latvia, 31-year-old Andrejs Agurjanous has lived in the UK for over 15 years and has had a National Insurance number for 14 years.

He lost his most recent job as a head chef due to Covid’s effects on the hospitality industry.

With no job and unable get access to universal credit, sleeping rough was Mr Agurjanous’s only option.

“I have applied to the Home Office for immigration status before Brexit and I’m still waiting. They’ve not given me [any reason] why,” he said.

His situation became so bad that he attempted to take his own life, which has now left him extremely unwell and in need of frequent medical care, including a dialysis machine.

But in his current financial state, Mr Agurjanous is unable to attend his necessary medical appointments.

“I can’t make even a simple bloody test, which I’m supposed to do every week, because it costs money. I can’t walk, and I don’t have money for the bus,” he said.

Mr Agurjanous is also unable to access foodbanks and remains suicidal

He added: “I can’t get even the food banks because I’m not on universal credit.

“I’ve been working here for 14 years. I pay taxes and I’m an honest person. How is this fair? I make one mistake.

“I want to die. It’s the best solution of what I’m seeing right now.”

To complicate his case further, Mr Agurjanous is currently on probation after being arrested for a domestic disturbance in 2020.

With a year-and-a-half left of his probation, he is unable to leave the country to go back to Latvia.

Staff at Bolton Advice Centre claim that EU citizens are being refused universal credit due to not being given UK citizenship status, despite legally being allowed to reside here.

Among the awards that are revoked in such cases are housing benefits, which is making it difficult for people to pay rent and ultimately increasing the rates of people on our streets from EU countries.

Staff also said that those who appeal the measures are usually successful, but the process often takes up to 40 weeks, in which time their living situations often become completely destitute.

Bolton Advice Centre recently set up Bolton Prison Project – which helps released prisoners reintegrate back into the community.

Chief executive Steve Fisher said: “People are being given the real run-around when they’re waiting for settled status. They’ve got nothing.

“The government is [required] to help in this situation, but they make it so difficult for them.

“They’re being very obstructive, and people have been really struggling because they can’t access the benefits they are actually entitled to.”

The Home Office was unavailable for comment last night.