A man who was prosecuted for being homeless after immigration papers were lost has won his right to remain the UK.
Tony Muguma had been left to sleep on the streets of Hemel Hempstead, and made a makeshift home at the Water Gardens Car Park for two years before being ordered to leave the area by Dacorum Borough Council.
But life is now on the up for 50-year-old Tony, as he has now finally been told he can stay in the country – which will help his chances of getting himself a new home.
Tony was featured on the front page of the Gazette back in March, and since then he’s received help from local MP Sir Mike Penning to turn his fortunes around.
Sir Mike told the Gazette: “I was aware of Tony, but he had not come to me for advice.
“When he eventually came he said he had worked for many years here, but we needed to prove how long he had been here. That was going to be vital on whether he had the right to remain.”
After managing to find a National Insurance number for Tony, Sir Mike wrote to Inland Revenue, who provided him with proof of Tony’s extensive work history.
He then wrote to the Home Secretary, before the Immigration Department informed the MP that subject to some further documentation, Tony had the right to stay in the UK.
Lynne Hussey, a Salvation Army volunteer who has helped Tony over the last 18 months, says the news has turned his life around, and with it his health too.
She said: “It’s been a very long battle, but he now has a smile on his face again.
“He’s staying at DENS for the time being, but we’re hoping he might get his own place soon.
“He will still get support and guidance once he moves in.”
It hopefully marks an end to an extended period on the streets for Tony – who faced possible jail time should he pitch his tent on any council land.
Sir Mike added: “He will need a lot of help, as it will be a shock going to back to living this way, but he has great people around him, and DENS will help him through that process too.
“It’s great news and I have done for Tony what I would do for any other constituent.”