29 April, 2005
Crisis has a new initiative called Skylight, am I correct?
What is the purpose of the Skylight, as it is not the normal type of day-centre?
Skylight is an activity centre rather than a day-centre, because we are trying to turn away from the day centre mentality. At Skylight there are no hand-outs, no doctors and nurses or washing facilities. What we are trying to do is move people away from dependency to independence. Skylight's focus is on helping rebuilding lives, giving people purpose. Courses include everything from IT to Tai-Chi, Art to Bike Repair. Skylight is a working model, I have seen people turn their lives around, and gain self-respect. We also have a cafe, which is an important sister project, providing training, ie making coffees, sandwiches, cooking and customer service, which is proving to be a great success.
Was it your final decision that the Big Voice Tour should go around Britain getting prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) views? And is it your fault I am up and half-past one in the morning writing my blog?!
The answer to the second part of your question is no, the blog was your idea! And the answer to the other part of the question is that Crisis has a vibrant group who have many good ideas, including the Big Voice Tour. We couldn't have done it without the band Travis, who gave us the big red bus.
Do you agree with the Big Voice Panel's manifesto?
I agree absolutely, for me it has been wonderful to hear the voice of homeless people. I take the views of the manifesto, written by the panel, on board. I hope that all political parties will do the same.
What would you say or do to make homelessness become a major political issue?
If I had all the money in the world, I would make a new film as powerful as Cathy Come Home. In 1966 Cathy Come Home did change the world.
One way or another the government taxes it's people. Whether it is on food, work, clothing flights abroad, you might not be taxed at the other end but there's always Vat to add to your costs before you leave. Petrol now that is what I called being taxed, but it also spends our money. Yes, I do say our money on what I call waste. Stop spending millions on surveys and polls of what the people want and stop spending millions on ideas that really do not work in this country - just because the Americans have it, it doesn't mean we have to follow suit.
Open those lug holes that are called ears and bloody well listen. We voted for you because we thought you were listening. Were we wrong?
I have said so many times. We are the fourth richest country in the world and yet we suffer from poverty. There is no need for it and we certainly should not see it in this day and age. It's not only affecting those that are unemployed or sick. It affects those that are working, old age pensioners, families on benefits, in fact poverty. When any government is in power are they saving our money for a rainy day? Hey fellas I hate to tell you, it's raining
27 April, 2005
The caring side of society is very much appreciated by people that are homeless or in hostel accommodation.
The question I ask is, why does it take a charity to raise the funds so the homeless can learn things like reading and writing, computers? When there are courses especially tailored for adults to learn. That fact that they live on the streets should not make any difference, but I'm afraid it does. It's another barrier we need to break down.
We've all heard the cries of get a job, get off your arse and do something worth while. Have you no pride? From certain members of the public when they shout at big issue vendors or someone begging for a bit of change for food. It's perceived by some of the public that everyone that is homeless or selling the big issue is either a drug addict or an alcoholic; this is not true. It's hard to understand how you can become homeless but it's simply a fact of someone's life. Things happen beyond someone's control and the next thing you know you've no home, no job, nothing to look forward to. This is the main problem homeless people face - that feeling of hopelessness no matter what they try to do.
When people do things like the square mile run it shows that people really do care and that they really do want to help. So I hope maybe I can help too, maybe run the square mile if some people will sponsor me.
You too can hear the interview by clicking here
(NB - the interview doesn’t start until 38 minutes into the programme, but you can skip through to the right part)
26 April, 2005
Well, all I have to say is Tony, you could have asked us where we were going to be. We would have told you. It would appear that Tony has probably had the secret service find out about our schedule before he called the election and decided to campaign on other issues on the other side of where we are at any given time. Tony, I have to tell you this is not the done thing. Now if you were to have a discussion with us at our headquarters at 64 Commercial Street, Aldgate, we probably wouldn't need to be out on the road highlighting the issues of hidden homelessness. So if at any time you feel you have the time. Please feel free to pop in for a chat and coffee. Which by the way will be made in our cafe by homeless people. Who are being trained in catering with the hope of future employment in that field. So come see what can be achieved with the right funding. You could also have a look round at our Skylight activity centre you'd be suprised at the untapped talent on the streets of this country.
25 April, 2005
These where some of the issues discussed that where in our manifesto.
1. Education: why was it left to charities to pay for college tuition. Why the 16hr maximum of learning cannot be more and cover the loss of benefits because by someone one learning say to read and write this could lead to better jobs with adequate skills.
2. Pensions and nursing: one of our panel had parents who had to go into a nursing home and after they died the costs of the care was gotten by selling the house they lived in. This had made our panel member homeless and in this day and age we think that this is unacceptable and shouldn't happen to anyone.
3. Benefits: the way benefits are handled the problems of getting benefits ie: bank accounts
we asked the PPCs why it was getting so tough as we were not terrorists and the laws on banking fraud was designed for them not everyday working people. We asked what could be done to improve this?
4. We discussed housing but not in great detail because all future MPs know what is required to end homelessness but we did emphasis that it was not only housing but a support network was needed for people with problems.
The answers from some were what you would expect from a PPC. Some where a bit vague as we tried to avoid local issues. The panel see homelessness and hidden homelessness as a national issue. We hoped by touring some key cities we could highlight some of the problems faced nationally and get some of the issues on to some of the PPCs election agenda.
24 April, 2005
I have always been good with figures so when I hear the government say there are so many unemployed my mind just quickly estimates the job loses we have all heard about and the numbers I think we don't hear too much about. Then I estimate the number of people that are estimated to have gotten jobs. The truth is the figures do not add up no matter how you look at things. If thirty thousand people in the north lose their jobs and only one third find jobs, but through some government new deal they are put on courses or work training they are not counted.
I estimate in the last year at least 59.000 people have been made redundant across the card and only fifthteen per cent of those are actually in work. If my mind does not deceive me you can add another 10.000 at least to that figure now MG rover has closed. Me, I would just like to know who makes to the numbers up.
One thing I do know getting a job is near impossible if you are unskilled and even if you are getting a job with enough money to live on is even harder.
I find my problem is that because of my previous work history and addresses and now my age. All these factors work against me. All the time. It's like using a computer. I know I am good at it. But would an employer take my word for it? No.
No matter what people say, there should not be any predjudices but there are.
I know I do rabbit on a bit but a homeless person is more likely to be on benefits of some kind than be working even though he or she may want to work.
You often here the words but if I got a job I'd be worse off. It's this situation that the government has to look at because whether you are a single person or a married person sometimes you are better off claiming. It is exactly this situation I believe that causes the stresses on families. The break up of marriages and I think this is the main cause as to why our society today struggles to conform to what we expect. I believe the tensions of unemployed in this country are being inbred into our young.
23 April, 2005
Politics, I used to think was such a swear word that I didn't want it in the dictionary. Now I think it's the worst word in the world and I want to kill the person or persons who invented it.
God, how I wish sleep would come then I could get this awful nightmare over with. Just an hour or two without dreaming of politicians or seeing some important issue disappear into the evening sun is it too much to ask for? It's seeing Tony Blair with bright red skin and bloody horns and the whole of Britain singing, better the devil you know that's driving me crazy.
My only hope for my future suvival is a perfect dream. Davina, Kate, it would be nice if you could enter my dreams sometime tonight.
22 April, 2005
Drug pushers who earn millions and deal in misery and death they will get ten years to fifteen years but will free to start again in six years because we have a parole system that seems to favor them.
We have half sentences these are supposed to be for good behavior even I can be a model citizen if the reward is great.
Homeless people in the strand. They want to know why they have to go to prison for a week or in some cases a month for begging or get fines they cannot possibly afford. What crime have they committed?
We now have the public screaming out for more severe sentencing because they think the same as I do the punishment should fit the crime.
If you murder some one then life should mean life. To take a life is to end a life.
Whether it be someone in their sixties or someone very young. But the important thing is that a life was taken. In the bible it says an eye for an eye, but we as a civilized nation don't have the death penalty so we lock them away. Is it reasonable to assume people can change?
I believe murder to be a crime against humanity. I know what you are going to say but what about war. In war we defend our rights to live as free people to live the way we want as a free and democratic society. We also defend other peoples right to do the same.
This world that I inhabit has never known absolute peace. Because in truth it has never existed. We try the best we can to live side by side. But it is human nature that decides our path. Society should not live by standards it does not keep but by standards it sets.
Q. What was the main reason you became a panel member?
A. Well really, because I can… for the simple reason that I can say whatever I want to about "my" government, and it’s actually quite unlikely that I’ll be arrested or that my family will be arrested just for knowing me.
There are places on Earth where you can’t voice your opinion without, frankly, endangering your life – and all my life I’ve campaigned saying these people should be heard only to find that an entire group of people in my own country are being ignored and dismissed every day.
When the likes of Mr Prescott don’t even believe we exist, something big needs to
Be done. The Big Voice Tour deserves all the support it can get.
Q. Are you homeless at present and could you tell me about how you became homeless?
A. Having left a violent relationship, with nowhere to live, the local council swept me into a Women’s Aid refuge. I didn’t want to stay and keep a room from someone who needed it more, so I moved first into a YMCA hostel, and I’m now in a women’s hostel run by Providence Row.
Q. Is there anything missing on the political agenda you feel very passionate about?
A. Plenty! For one thing, I’ve never felt the government does enough to safeguard human rights; and a basic human need is of course safe shelter.
I remember that it was a Conservative government that began the decline in social housing with their policy on the sale of council properties. I am appalled to find that it is now a Labour government; a Labour government mark you, that have proposed the ‘right to buy’ be extended to housing associations!
Q As a homeless woman, do you think women are equally treated on homeless issues?
A. I’m gonna have to be careful how I phrase this..! But in my experience, I've found that women are seen as being ‘more vulnerable’ on the streets, and – where possible – swept into shelters/hostels sooner.
Whilst I obviously agree that women shouldn’t be sleeping rough, neither should men, the worst that can happen to a woman sleeping out can – and does – happen to men too. I knew a man who was gang-raped, and in his struggle to overcome the pain, eventually took his own life.
That said, once indoors, I’ve known many women who, being emotionally vulnerable, are seen as easy prey for disgraceful ‘members of staff’ - I know a lady who left her "supported" housing, claiming to feel "safer out there"…
Q. What do you expect a new government to do for you?
A. Crisis have asked that the government conduct a census – not just a count, but a full census – of the ‘Hidden Homeless’. Until you know what someone needs, how can you help them?
Homelessness is about far more than a roof; it’s about a human being’s basic right to feel safe in their own space, and to feel that they actually belong in the world.
This will not happen until the government (whoever that may be) not only acknowledges we exist, but treats us – and everyone else – as human beings; not as numbers, statistics, or an ‘irritating little issue’ that they want to sweep out of sight – but as people.
Real people, with real voices.
21 April, 2005
Shaun had gotten himself involved with drugs and drink. (Which has become the usual story of our kids today)
He doesn’t touch drugs and only drinks sociably. He has his own flat and has a girlfriend who is expecting. He says I am grateful for the chance I was given it’s what most homeless people want just a chance..
20 April, 2005
19 April, 2005
To say we should not care goes against everything I was taught (which wasn't that much) when I was growing up. So, what if it were someone you knew, a close friend maybe? What if it were you in a couple of years? The thing is none of us know what's going to happen tomorrow. Something might happen beyond our control. I pray to God it doesn't happen to anyone, but what if? I don't think you'd be asking the same question. You would want someone to listen.
Take me for instance, I would not be where I am today if people had just turned their backs and not cared.
Yes, people do make mistakes. Some even pay the highest price - that's why they are no longer with us but that is life and sometimes it can be hard and demanding. Some people cannot cope and turn to other things like drugs and drink. But should we forget they exist?
I hate giving people for instances, but I will.
In this country we have a lot of ex-service men living on the street and in hostels. What you are basically saying is why should I care about them?
There are also people in the same situation who have worked all their lives, got made redundant, their marriage has fallen apart and have had to leave the home. So once again, you're saying we shouldn't care.
Then there's the young man or woman who has not really had a life because they where picked on for most of it and now they are suffering. The only way they can forget their daily pain was to use drugs or drink. Should we also forget about them too? You see everyone has their own set of problems. Some can cope and some just let them grow and grow until something happens. A breakdown, attempted suicide, turning to other things to hide their pain and some just don't know anything else.
The funny thing is, homeless people are not asking the government for anything they are not entitled to. What they are saying is, we are not invisible. Some of us are not drug users or alcoholics as some of the public seem to think. Yes, we do have problems yet we are categorised as all being the same. The stigma attached to being homeless affects us when trying to get a job, open bank accounts or even get doctors. We have not done anything wrong except sleep on the street; not through choice but through necessity. We are in fact treated as second class citizens. But if we were drug addicts or alcoholics should we still be ignored?
My question is should we treat anyone any different just because they live on the streets? Shouldn't they have the same rights as me and you?
We can hear what our prospective parliamentary candidates have to say and we do have the right to say what we think. Not just because we have the right to vote but because we do have opinions just like other people.
18 April, 2005
It was said in a couple by Graham a panel member
Homeless people do not want any new deals they just want a fair deal.
They want to be treated as normal members of society not second class citizens.
17 April, 2005
16 April, 2005
15 April, 2005
A. I never thought of looking at it from that point of view. If you ask a former MP. He would probably tell you that young people need to learn that education can lead to better job prospects. If you ask a student that has studied hard for five years, got their degree, but has had to take a job as a waiter or waitress, was it worth it they'd hesitated before answering and probably say no. Do I think we should make youngsters stay on, I have to say education is important but to have youngsters stay on at school and pay them for it is a good idea and yes I do think this is another ingenious way the government can massage the unemployment figures.
I'd leave running the foreign office to Jasper Carrot because anyone that comes from the west midlands and tells jokes that even I can understand might be good for a laugh.
For my chancellor I would have to go with Jack Dee with his dead pan face and stories you wouldn't know whether he was telling the truth or not. I"d need someone in office that knows how to hide truthful lies and the fact that Jack would be a laugh a minute wouldn't hurt.
Education would go to the pub landlord Al Murray. I can see him now telling the rest of the cabinet (empty of course) how great we British are. How once we had a British empire not in our own country but round the rest of the world but we were great and the problem with our country is the beer.
And I'd be prime minister.
I'd be the one who played it straight. I"d be saying something like, I promise to tell you the truth scouts honor, cross my heart and hope to die and I'd promise you, you will not have to pay a penny more in tax than you have to. Even if this means you lose your jobs and housing.
We in the honest to goodness no lies party will keep our promises of no tax rises come what may.
We promise to keep our economy afloat by opening Swiss bank accounts (in different names of course). We promise you. We will not let ourselves or this country go under. We'll keep interest down to minimum as we wouldn't want you to know too much. It wouldn't be good for our balance of payments would it.
Hospitals will be germ free. No sick people need to worry anymore about the MSA bug. Beds will be available. No more waiting for appointments as I will close all Hospitals that do not have good private care. the NHS will be renamed Not Here Sickos to save money. Doctors will be free to work privately for a small charge of course.
TV licenses will be abolished, if you watch eight hours of BBC repeats everyday and radio one and four listeners will no have to buy a radio license same price as the old tv license. We shall call it a new deal for the people.
My pledge to you, the voter, will be to run this country and make us all rich. If you let me. I'm not a man that does things by Halfs. Myself and my party will go all the way. We will rid ourselves of poverty. If you just give us the chance. We will not let you down. Vote for The honest to goodness no lies party.
It would be so refreshing wouldn't it. Just to hear someone in government say sorry but I don't know what the hell I'm doing. Wouldn't it be great if they told us, taxes, we're robbing you blind. It'll never happen so why bother voting? Is it all a con?
13 April, 2005
I was invited to see a new hostel iniative for women, (the first male to be allowed entry.) When I saw the scheme I knew I was looking at something unique. All residents either had a self contained bedsit with bathroom. Not a room like you would see normally in a hostel plus there were four one bedroom flats on the top floor. It was something I think that should be viewed by other agencies and MPs in the hope that they can see what could be done if enough money was forth coming from government. The idea of the hostel is to take in women with or without problems. They all have to sign a license that has a help contract attached. A brilliant idea. It replaces the old contract that only said you where entitled to stay. Their contract also says you will receive help if requested.
It has always surprised me that woman seem to have fewer hostels yet twenty percent of homeless people are in fact women. Here I was talking to the its residents and staff. The first person I met was Caroline who was part hidden homeless the reason the big voice tour was conceived.
I also met one Lib Dem candiate who I asked several questions after I thanked him for attending. I also met Alistair Dow a Lib Dem councilor.
Q. Why doesn't any government that are in power realize they we do have a problem with homelessness in which I included hidden homeless.
A. Most governments do realize that we have a problem but find it hard to find a solution we at the Lib dem intend to find a solution not a sticking plaster solution. We know we have to find solutions that are long term.
Q. Does this mean you will research the subject for four years and then if you get into power again research it some more?
A. Because it takes time to contact homeless agencies and other agencies concerned to compile plans and strategies on how we can fix the problems. It does take time and as I have said we do need to find a long term solution and I would hope it could be done within a specified time.
Q. The normal answer most MPs give as a solution to homelessness is to fund councils so they can open up their shuttered properties do you feel this is a solution?
A. I think it could be in the right circumstances.
Q Do you think that previous governments saw the drug problem this country now has and did nothing.
A. I think previous governments saw the problem but reacted to late and now that we do have this problem we have to find better ways of dealing with it.
Q. Don't you think it ridiculous that someone wanting to come of drugs should have to wait six months or more for a place in a rehab.
A. We have a drug problem that should be dealt with as a Piority because I feel the investment now in drug rehabs and other facilities would benefit all because we know drugs and crime and homelessness are related. We need to sort this problem now. It would benefit all not only home owners, car owners and businesses but it would also benifit families.
I thanked him and Alistair Dow for allowing me to ask my questions they were then ask to sign the pledge to end homelessness.
The following morning was D day. We drove ahead to Birmingham, thinking there would be no more hiccups how wrong could we be? The bus had broken down again but this time we had a major panic. It had now broken down on a roundabout on Birmingham’s notorious one way system. Not needing to cross everything again for luck as everything was still crossed from the night before.. We hoped that it would not cause the worst traffic jam Birmingham had seen for awhile. I know we needed the media exposure but I think stopping the whole of the city center traffic would have been just a bit too much. After a few hours the bus eventually arrived. But we had decided not to give our bus driver whose name was Gibson an A to Z but a bible because we all now realized this big voice tour was going to need a lot of prayer.
10 April, 2005
09 April, 2005
Where do you get your figures on homelessness .
Why is it that charities such as St mungo's, English churches in London, St basils in the midlands are not funded adequately.
Why are there not enough hostels?
Why is there not enough funding of drug rehab centres?
Why can't a homeless person be treated as part of today's society?
Why can't they get in to decent full time education?
Why do some struggle to get benefits they are entitled to?
How about answering some of our questions?
Homelessness and the hidden homeless are not high enough on your electoral agenda, but I would like all the homeless and people around the country to know why and what your stand is on these matters are, if any?
If you don't think we have a problem, then I would naturaly say are you blind, but I'd like you to tell us your veiws
Graham a panel member on the big voice tour
Q. Graham why have you become a panel member of the big voice tour.?
A. Having lived on the streets. I am now in a hostel. I find not a lot has changed apart from the fact that I have now have a roof over my head, a lockable door and four walls. I felt it was right to make people aware that the homeless still suffer the prejdices and stigma associated with being homeless.
Q. Could you tell me how you became homeless?
A. I made a decsion in 97 or 98 to put my parents in a home. They later died and the costs of the nursing care were astronomical. They took me to court and basically they evicted me. So the home got sold to pay the costs. I ended up on the streets.
Q. Are you angry that this could happened you?
A. What do you think? I'd lived there nearly all my life. My parents where pensioners. They paid their taxes and had pensions, for the council and the nursing home to charge two frail old people charges they couldn't possibly afford was madness. What makes me so mad is that it has happened not only to me but other people and is still happening today. I blame the government.
Q. So you became homeless. What was that like?
A. Bloody awful, people were always looking at me strangely it used to annoy me
Q. Do you think the idea that the homeless people should have a voice is a good idea? After all when you're homeless politics doesn't really affect you does it? Wouldn't it be better for agencies that deal with the homelessness to speak for you?
A. Of course it affects us. If it wasn't for the fact, that a few people one Christmas saw how homeless people were forgotten, that crisis at Christmas began. Look at them now they understand the needs and the feelings of the homeless. They lobby MPs on our behalf, but even that doesn't take away the fact that we want our own voice. It seems we lose that along with part of our life when we live on the streets. It's something you can't really understand till you have been homeless. I mean, not every homeless person is a drug addict or alcoholic. This seems to be the label all homeless people are stuck with. Why shouldn't we stand up and ask MPs the questions no one really wants to ask? We are members of today's society, even if some members of it don't want to admit we do exist. I also think it important that we should vote. I didn't know I could until someone told me.
Q. Do you think things have improved slightly under this labour government?
A. Are you joking. Nothings really changed
Q. What would you like to see when a new government is elected, do?
A. Give the homeless fairer treatment for people who are homeless and a signed pledge from every member of the government who ever it is that they will end homelessness
08 April, 2005
This is one crisis that Mr Blair could have done without, coming just weeks before the election. The people of Birmingham I think have had enough. The question on most peoples lips will be was there really a loan to save the ailing plant on the table? Could this be the straw that breaks the camels back? Has the country had enough of broken promises?
Could this lose labour 12 seats in the forth coming election?
I know what you're thinking, how could this homeless blogger know so much? Well, the truth is no matter what government is in power ( by the way whose runs the country now there is no government in power) its policies affect the homeless as well. So its good to be up on things.
Many members of the public are sighing with relief as they in their own way pay their last respects as the popes funeral takes place. A sad day for all.
07 April, 2005
In today's society the chances of you being mugged or just being beaten up are high in certain areas of our cities (although government figures show a decline) Should we tolerate the ghetto culture that seems to have arisen in certain areas? The facts collected show that homeless people are 13 times more likely to be attacked and robbed, than members of the general public. These figures were reached in interviews taken with men and women on the street and in temporary accommodation across the UK. It does show that homeless people are among the most vunerable section of our society. It brings to light the stark realities that homeless people face everyday whilst on the streets. Whilst the crime figure seem to be falling across the UK. The figures remain amazingly high amongst the homeless. The figures could be even higher as most crimes are not reported by the homeless because of the fear they will not be taken seriously and the stigma that being homeless brings.
Vandals roam the streets of Britain causing mayhem where ever they go. The conservatives believe by imprisoning parents of unruly children this would reduce acts of vandalism. They are also looking at evicting whole families for persistent trouble offenders. Surely this does not make any sense as making more people homeless only adds to the misery we already see?
Would you like to see punishments fitting their crime's. Do asbo's really work? Do you live in an area where people commit senseless acts of vandalism?
John a former homeless man says, "I have a neighbor that plays loud music till three or four o'clock in the morning nearly everyday. The noise pollution squad from health environment visit but seem powerless to do anything."
Is this a situation for an asbo or is it because these flats are known to be occupied by former homeless people?
The local dentist is the same always jam packed and I can't get to see him because he's full. So are a few more within a mile of each other.
Like most I am worried about going into hospital and gettng some super bug and not coming out again, I guess I am the same as most people in this country worried about the state of the health service.
Just another rough sleeper, among the thousands in this country that lay in shop doorways. I went out late at night and vitually as soon as I came out of charing cross underground station. There where six rough sleepers in the row. Asleep. Some of them you probably see most nights with cardbord under their arms walking down the street.
They use cardboerd to lay on because they have learned that it helps keep out the cold from the stone pavements and if they have several layers it doesn't feel so hard. So a goodnights sleep ( if you can call it that ) can be had.
Maybe you're a shop manager and some morning you feel sorry you have to tell them to move because you have a to open the shop. Is this what you want to see? This goverment say they have helped the homeless in many ways. If that is so why are their still so many homeless? I would love to hear what you have to say.
06 April, 2005
05 April, 2005
Personally? I think it will be close.
The surprise package could be the liberal democrats they have what it takes to form a government and I thank most people want change from the usual two main rivals. I would love to read their manifesto. Just to see if they have anything on their agenda to deal with homelessness and the causes of it be it drugs, drink, mental health issues and just plain old fashioned people looking for work.
Now the conservative party for me are to disjointed. How can you expel an elected candiate from the party for telling the truth. I know you have to have trust in your membership but if you stray from the truth and one person in your party believes it's wrong. Then he should be applauded for his courage in standing up for the people that voted for him. Not sold down the river. The question is, have they got their figures wrong? Are they infact telling fibs of their own? Who knows but I don't trust them now, but that's only my opinion
04 April, 2005
So which one do I choose?
Do I go for the one that dresses ok and appears to listen or do I go for the one who says he'll reduce my taxes, even if I think he is going to take more money off me one way or another? Should I keep with the one I voted for last time after all he did win.
To hell with it I wont vote for anyone. Just like half the country, after all what's going to change. I think this is the feeling of a vast majority of the country
03 April, 2005
The present government has tried in its own naive way to solve this problem, but have only succeeded in making homelessness invisible ( by which I mean that some of the homeless are now in hostels, hotels and in the winter night shelters run by charities. Some have taken to sleeping in the back streets of our cities. Keeping out of sight so they wont be moved on.)
Emergency accommodation is now rare. Most hostels are full all year round. If you are on the streets tonight, it may take weeks or even a few months to get a bed in a hostel.
The myth that people prefer to be on the streets is quite wrong. Only a handful in the thousands prefer it. Most want the chance to have a base so their lives can change.
Has the problem of homelessness been caused because of previous governments inapt performances to combat the issues of mental health, drugs, drink and homelessness?
Because now all four of our major problems have become linked to one another
Is this why we still have people sleeping on the streets?
Are we now so used to seeing it in our daily lives we have become immune to the suffering we see daily on our journeys to and from work?
The people of Britain are a very charitable nation. Who will reach into its pockets to help the homeless and needy of other countries in their hours of need and the government gives millions. Yes, their plight is much worse than ours, but if we are not careful our own homeless crisis along with its mental health, drink and drug problems could become more than major problem. We live in a society where drugs and drink are ruining the lives of the young and vunerable.
What can be done?
Could we actually relive the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries again? (in a modern day sense.) Is it possible that we could live the Oliver Twist years again?
I think we as a whole nation must instruct our government to act on our behalf. We should not be dependent on charitable organizations. Who recognize the problems. It should not left to them to point out that in today's society homelessness should have been eradicated a long time ago and that we are in fact taking backward steps.
Jamie went to a secondary modern school when he was not stoned or asleep. When he did attend, he was always sat at the back of the class as it was thought he had learning difficulties and was disruptive. He left school not being able to read and write. A regular user of amphetamines and cannabis which progressed over the years to heroin. By the time he was twenty one he was a full time addict and homeless. He begged and he stole to feed his habit. by the time he was thirty six he'd been to prison even when released he struggled to keep any accommodation he was found because of his drug addiction. He was forty eight years old when one Christmas he had an epiphany. No plan just a crazy idea and decided enough was enough. He threw the bag of heroin he had just brought into the Thames and has been clean ever since. He has also learned to read and write and has written and produced his own books of poetry. He has also written a children book called The Extraordinary Mouse and is now writing a play even though he has not actually seen one. He says the day his life changed was the day the Thames got stoned instead of him.