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“Selling a street paper gave me back my dad”

Street papers aren’t just a source of income for thousands of people across the world. They are also a lifeline. Sandra Corfitz from Denmark explains how Danish street paper Hus Forbi reunited her with her estranged father.

After Sandra’s father Leif abandoned her for a life of addiction and homelessness when she was a child, she never expected to see him again.

But then Leif began working with Hus Forbi. When he was interviewed for an article in 2008, Leif said of his then 19-year-old daughter, “She grew up with my mother. When she was two years old, I took her home to my mother and asked her if she would take care of her while I scaled down my drug habit. I’m still working on that.”

In the years he had no contact with Sandra, Leif lived on the streets and in shelters. Whenever he was thrown out of a place because of drug abuse, he would go back to living under the main railway station in Copenhagen.

Hus-Forbi_Tale-of-a-vendors-daughter-Leif-with-grandchild

When he started to get back on his feet, Leif asked a family friend finally to contact Sandra on his behalf. “My grandmother and I had almost given up,” she recalls. “We were just waiting for the funeral.”

“But then he began to sell Hus Forbi. He came back to real life again instead of just sitting and melting in his abuse.”

When Leif died in 2013 and Sandra wrote a moving thank you to the street paper through Facebook.

“Thank you for the extra 10 years I got with my father,” wrote the 25-year-old mother of two.

“Thank you for giving him the strength and the desire to try to be better. Until 2003, I feared losing him to his drug abuse. What changed that year was that he was a Hus Forbi vendor.

“He got a purpose in his life, a way to support himself, a desire to get up and get out. Finally, there was something who expected anything of him in terms of being sober and presentable.

“I had my father again, as I remember him from when I was little. You do a fantastic job and has meant a great deal for my father, my grandmother and me.”

This is a summary of an article written by Hus Forbi’s Poul Nielsen Struve for the INSP News Service.

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