19 July, 2005

Working and sleeping rough

I thought it was about time that I told people that there are people sleeping rough that do go to work and that not everyone that sleeps rough claims unemployment benefit. There is a small percentage of people over the country that actually sleep rough and go to work the next morning, even after having hardly any sleep the previous night. One of the question that is automatically asked is why do they not get a place to live? The answer is quite simple really. Many places for rent either need one months rent in advance and a substantial deposit or there is the basic two months rent in advance. If you get someone that looks as if they haven't had a good nights sleep in ages the chances are that it will be noticed and the offer of accommodation will be denied just on looks alone. Take someone with a drink problem that works. That smell of alcohol that always lingers is enough to put anyone off. But the real problem is affordability. Imagine sleeping out and working, that means you have to eat out unless you're eating the cheap McDonald's meals you simply can't afford to shell out large sums of money and everyone knows how hard it is for people who do have money to get rented accommodation. There is one person I know that sleeps rough and goes to work in the Westminster area. He says he has two decent nights sleep in a bed and breakfast at the weekend. He simply can't afford a flat. He has been on the council waiting list for some months but the problem is because he sleeps rough the council say its hard to get in touch with him. There has to be a way of helping these people who don't rely on the state benifit system. Plus the fact that these people are not counted in any government statistic. How can they be? They don't claim benifit.

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