09 April, 2005

INTERVIEW by Jamie McCoy

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

Posted by Hello

No comments: