An autistic homeless man sleeping rough in Helston claims he has been told by Cornwall Council he is "not a priority" for help.

Dominic Clark-Campbell suffers from significant degenerative nerve damage, tumours inside and outside of his body and has a patch on his brain that he believes could be why he is increasingly making basic mistakes.

He also has pain in his neck and shoulder due to significant nerve compression on his c-spine. This recently left him unable to drive for four days because he couldn't see properly.

This was made worse when he was forced to sleep for three nights last week on a bench in Coronation Park and in the Penrose Amenity Area.

A GP in Helston had prescribed him painkillers for the shoulder pain, but he did not feel able to take them in case they knocked him out and he got robbed.

The 46-year-old is also waiting for an operation on another medical condition, which the hospital is refusing to carry out while he his homeless because of the risk of infection during recovery.

Falmouth Packet:

The bench in Coronation Park, Helston, where Dominic was sleeping

Dominic claims he contacted Cornwall Council last December, when he found himself homeless, but the housing department did not see him as a priority, despite his high level autism and other medical conditions, because he could talk and write.

He said: "I slept in a van over Christmas - that was freezing. It was so demeaning having to poo on a grass verge every morning. I had to go to McDonald's every morning to have a coffee and wash in the sink. And I was still working then; it was awful."

Until just over a week ago he had been carrying out work through an agency at a school in Devon, but they found out he had not declared a neurological condition and asked him to leave.

He says he did not inform the school because he was still waiting to see a specialist and did not want to give them information that might not be true in the future.

Dominic, who is trained as a dog psychologist and before becoming homeless ran the business Cornish Canine, says he has spoken to four separate housing officers at Cornwall Council but had received no support or understanding of his condition.

"I can't go to highly lit places that are busy with people. When I got there she conducted the interview in a reception area, busy with people.

"I said I want somewhere I can feel safe and can help my sensory needs. She gave me nothing. She was so abrasive," he said.

He claims he was told to come back to the council once he has spoken to private landlords and sorted out his own references - but it is this that he struggles with, due to his autism.

Falmouth Packet:

Dominic Clark-Campbell

He also claims he was told to sleep in the friend's van as it would "be a roof over his head" but it currently has no MOT as the brakes needed replacing at a cost of £527 and he said it would significantly worsen the nerve damage in his neck.

"I need stability with autism. I've never unpacked my bags in 15 months.

"I'm not saying I'm owed anything, but I think as a disabled person I'm owed dignity," he said.

Dominic's plight was picked up by autism awareness campaigner and fundraiser Anna Kennedy, who has received an OBE for her efforts, and who he made contact with after receiving his autism diagnosis.

She paid for Dominic to spend three nights in a Travelodge, which she later extended to five, writing online: "Cannot sleep thinking of Dominic lying on a park bench. His third night trying to keep warm in Helston, Cornwall. It's so cold."

An online fundraising page she has set up at has also reached more than £1,500 in three days.

After she publicised his situation, Dominic was also due to be spoken to this week by St Petroc's and the Holywell Trust.

"I can't tell you how embarrassed I am," he said. "But on the flip side I'm humbled. I can't get over why anyone would waste their money on a stranger."

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: "Individual cases can be incredibly complex. In a situation like this, Cornwall Housing take all possible action to help prevent homelessness in the first place.  If that is not possible, we will support the person to help them find appropriate, alternative accommodation and provide a range of help including accessing other forms of emergency and social housing.

"Depending on an individual’s circumstances we will offer support which may include referrals to help access emergency accommodation and support services, a referral for financial assistance and an offer of a deposit and rent in advance."