"I lost my job, my house, I couldn't see my children...I woke with fear of collapsing..."
When Salix Homes tenant Graciano Mantato was evicted from his Ordsall home last September it was well documented in the media. Having been evicted from his house, Graciano took to sleeping in his hired work van which he parked outside the Salix office.
He was subsequently evicted from his van, which meant losing his job as a delivery driver, and spent the next nine months sleeping in car parks, bus stations and on the streets.
The Salford Star, Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey, and the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre took up Graciano's case, helping him to seek short stays in hostels but the overall affect took its toll.
Graciano, who was in perfect health before the eviction, collapsed in the street on dozens of occasions and considered taking his own life...
"I lost my job, my house, I couldn't see my children...I woke with fear of collapsing but no-one at the hospital could trace why; it's got to be Salix" he says "Rebecca Long-Bailey, and Alec McFadden at the Centre are wonderful people, they actually kept me alive.
"They gave me good counselling and it was through them that I decided I wouldn't take my own life because of this shame that Salix put me through" he adds "I've got children...they saw me homeless in all the newspapers and on tv. But Salix shouldn't even have evicted me..."
Last week Deputy District Judge Thexton agreed with him, as he won his case against Salix Homes, on a breach of substantive law, as the company should never have issued the warrant of possession while there was an 'extant order'... "The current proceedings should never have been brought" said the judge, who ordered that the house be returned to Graciano.
Last week, he moved back in, only to find everything had been stripped out – carpets, curtains, even a false ceiling, and there was evidence of mould and damp on the walls. While big items, like beds and tables, were in storage, all Graciano's personal possessions had been taken to the tip, including photographs of his family and clothes.
Graciano is currently sleeping on the bare floor in a sleeping bag... "This is safer than the streets" he says "They took everything."
Alec McFadden, who was present during a meeting at the house with Salix Homes and Graciano, says Salix will now have to put it all right...
"We agreed one hundred per cent on the renovation repairs as well as decorating, new flooring and furniture being brought back to make the house fit for him to continue his life" he explains "His personal items - clothes, cutlery, photos, DVDs - are all missing and the representative of Salix admitted that they took them to the Salford tip. Neither of us were happy or understood why that happened.
"I am quite happy that within two weeks we'll be in position where Graciano can live normally" he adds "He just won't have any clothes to wear."
The judge also slammed Salix staff for "inappropriate language" in their dealings with Graciano, revealed through court disclosures, saying things like he'd 'lost any grip of reality', was 'having a laugh' and 'doesn't sound well'...although, strangely, the judge added that "I do not accept there was any particular animosity towards, or oppression of the Defendant"...
Which isn't quite how Graciano sees it... "They just seemed determined to evict me" he says "If they're the company that provides houses for the people why would they want to make me homeless? They're really cruel people.
"I can see this as a battle I haven't won yet because I think they will find any other reasons to evict me" he concludes "And I shouldn't be dealing with that."
A spokesperson for Salix Homes told the Salford Star: "After taking legal advice, we are unable to comment any further on the case until all legal proceedings have concluded."
For a full background on Graciano's case see previous Salford Star article – click here