30 November, 2005

Off the streets at last

John who last night got into a hostel for the first time in years said "thank god I am now off streets." As I watched him disappear into his new temporary place of residence I thought there are few more like him on the street that need shelter urgently at this time of year. In Westminster there is a sixty two year old man who refuses to go into a hostel because he thinks that if he's caught drinking then he will be thrown out because that is what has happened in the past and there another in Camden town that's been in a few hostels over the years and he says that he thinks because of his heavy drug use that people have given up on him and that no one will offer him a place because of his previous hostel and drug history and being evicted from every hostel he's been in. These are only two cases of homeless people that I have met and that need help in acquiring accommodation. You might think this strange but some homeless people are afraid to enter the hostel system. These are what I call victims of the old style hostel system. Where there was no tolerance of drinkers or addicts. There are not many hostels even today, that take in real problem homeless and I think this is another problem that has to be addressed.

At it again

Whilst I had this moment of clarity after sitting and listening to these politicians spout on and on about new laws and policies . I had a thought as to why they are really needed. It was a clear thought a moment ago but now I am not so sure. But If I am right then I am a genius. Well here goes, because society as a whole needs to have some sort of guide lines in law and such and we being mere mortals sometimes forget that it is only us that can determine our own existence or what kind of a society we have. Be it caring or the couldn't careless. Honest or dishonest. The outcome to everything depends on us but because certain members of society don't toe the line or they want to make more money than the next person. To make things fair and equal laws and policies are made. Some of them are really quite smart and some are down right daft and that's what I think politics is but as to why politicians have to use political verse that the ordinary person can not understand is some what bemusing. Politics is so simple when you think about it. Common sense is one of the things I don't seem to see a lot of in politics today. It does seem to be we'll do this today and suffer the consequences tomorrow politics.
I think it was Benjamin Franklin that said once humanity takes responsibility for humanity then we wont need laws of structure because we will have achieved utopia. Don't quote me on that as I am not sure but it sounds good doesn't it?

29 November, 2005

A reply to the homeless guy

Hi just a few words to say thank you for reading my blog. The one thing that seems to be world wide is homelessness and it does have many causes but as I try to find out why there are so many around the world. It does puzzle me somewhat, when two of the richest countries in the world seem to have a huge problem. I just don't get it. When we spend massive sums of money on fighting wars and finding out what's in space ect. It's mind boggling to think that in a world were there are people starving and homeless we spend so much on finding out what's out there or getting a better killing machine. Then when we get the time it seems we talk about humanity. It's funny when I say it, it sounds so stupid but when someone with a bit of intellect says it, it does sound different. But that's the way I see it and my view on life and how precious it has changed dramatically. What bothers me most is that word humanity and how we seem to use the word only when the situation seems to arise. Shouldn't we as human being try to put our own houses in order before we go gallivanting across the universe. Should we at least try to cure an ailing world before we kill it. After people have been trying to find the magic cure for homelessness and hunger for centuries. Don't you think it about time we did? Isn't that what
humanity means? We have lots of people in this world with compassion but I do believe now is the time to say enough is enough lets put our houses in order.
I guess I just want that ideal world.

28 November, 2005

Not a member of the street anymore

Going out and about on the streets at night is not one of my favorite past times but, if it gives people an insight as to the way some people have to live, then it's worth it.
Sometimes when I sit and talk to homeless people I am always reminded how lucky I am and that this was once me. The funny thing is that I am now asking homeless people what they think of the government's ideas on homelessness and about new technology. Usually the looks and answers I get to the last question about technology is a sort of alien from outerspace I'm going to kill you look and who the frig wants to know about frigging technology? I'm freezing and just about surviving answer.
This weekend for me has been one of those weekends. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was no longer a street person because I no longer have to worry about surviving the streets or being cold or where my next hot meal is coming from. I'm one of the norm. Whatever that means? So this week I thought I'd go in a kind of circle and find out what homeless people think of people in flats and we already know some of the answers. What people in hostels think of homeless people and people in flats as they seem to be the people that are now stuck in the middle so to speak and they have their own insight into what they want and how things should be. Then I want to interview someone who is in a new flat and what they now think of homeless people. I think that we shall get some suprising answers.

My old haunt

This was where I used to sleep when it was an empty shop on the kingsway. The man who was sleeping here has disappeared. It left me wondering was this man as lucky as me? Posted by Picasa

Not one but four

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somewhere warm

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A rough nights sleep

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25 November, 2005

Cold weather confusion

Last night I went on to the streets in Camden town and the West End of London to talk to and photo people sleeping rough and was shocked by how many people didn't have sleeping bags and blankets. Being an ex-homeless person I found this sight disturbing. Normally homeless people are very resourceful in finding blankets and sleeping bags and things to keep them warm but to see so many without was quite a shock. Now I come into the crisis office this morning and I am told that their is a news clipping from the BBC news about homeless being given travel warrants to go home. The met police said they do issue travel warrants and give out about twenty a month. Since November 7th 21 travel warrants have been given. Steve Barnes of the Simon community claim the issue of the warrants was timed with the headcount of rough sleepers and many of the people that were given these warrants claim they were told they had to leave because there was a head count. The fact that there has been a steady increase in the number rough sleeper should cause the government concern but as usual the government are just saying we are and will keep reducing the number when we can plainly see something is not quiet right. Housing charity shelter dispute the governments claim that the number of homeless has fallen by a fifth. They say that government claims that homelessness has fallen should be taken with a health warning. I myself have been told that the government has reduced the number of people sleeping rough but as I go about the streets at night I see numbers actually increasing and now the weather has been forecast as one of the worst for nearly a decade then think it's time to start thinking about alternatives. An insider for the ODPM said we are looking into the situation of emergency beds because of the bad weather. We intend to provide bed spaces where needed. My answer to that is from another source in the hostel section that said I don't know how the government are going to find all the beds that are needed because most of our hostels around the country are full. So now I am even more confused. Who is right and who is wrong? The big question who will take the intuitive of getting these rough sleepers into some kind shelters.
Surely we can't keep saying hostels.

Christmas just keeps coming and going

Merry Christmas the young girl says
Alone is how she spends her days.
Yet still she smiles.
When her feet are sore and bruised with walking miles.
For her Christmas it just comes and goes
But she remembers all its highs and lows
Any spare change the old man says
Sitting there in a drunken haze.
And as the sound of coins drop in his cup
He wishes all a Christmas cheer
As he sips another can of his ice-cold beer.
For him Christmas it just comes and goes
But he remembers all the highs and lows.
Happy Christmas is all the young man says
But in his eyes you see unhappy days
Christmas, long gone in his memory.
Yet still he can remember how it used to be.
For him its just a wish that this Christmas just comes and goes
Because with sadness he remembers its the highs and lows
Where is my child? Where is my son?
Can someone say just what we�ve done?
Please come home a mother�s says
A father tears
A high price they pay.
Yet Christmas is the time when hope is high.
And there�s never the question of why us why.
But Christmas is time every one prays
For simple happier days.

24 November, 2005

Rough places

Having friends in the right places is ok but having friends that can actually do something is a big plus. Yesterday I discussed hostels and night shelters with someone I knew. How some of them still had two or three to a room and were run down and how some night shelters were just barely fit enough to live in. We talked about how things can be improved but the problem is that people need to know what these places are like and where they are. So now I have become a blogger on a mission. I am asking everyone that reads my blog to tell me about these places and to contact me at poetmccoy@hotmail.com and I will pass the information on. Looking at my blog figures since it started I now have a good idea of how many people read it and it's quite a few. So if you are someone who is in a hostel or night shelter and having to live in a place not quite right let me know or if you have a story let me know? I promise if you want to keep yourself anonymous then that's fine. To be able to get the ball rolling so to speak and get something done then I need to know. I know I'm not going to be popular with some places but it's not a popularity contest. It's about getting homeless people somewhere decent or improving things.

Waiting for a reply

Everyone knows how passionate I am about helping homeless people having been in that situation myself but the hardest trick is getting people to listen to what I have to say it seems that they now know I am not going away and will keep on writing about what's going on with the homeless or the socially excluded. When I started writing this blog it was just to cover the election but as I thought about things and how I could use the blog as a tool to get peoples stories on homelessness and to show that we still have a homeless problem in this country. I didn't know how it was going to go but it seems what I have to say is read by the whole world. 70% of my total views are from this country and it seems some of them are in high places. So the question I am going to ask is for them.
Has the government got any plan for getting people into shelter now we have the coldest spell for at least ten years approaching?
Click on comment or send me email. Now all that's left for me to do is wait to see if anyone replies
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As promised my friends new baby.
He's the small one by the way
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23 November, 2005

I am so glad there is no one around my house this morning to see me dancing around with the vacuum cleaner cleaning my flat. Mrs Doubtfire eat your heart out. Been up for a few hours now and getting into the swing of the day listening to good old fashioned music like the four tops and Isley brothers and thinking but this dancing with the vac has got to stop. Last night tried my hand at making a simple dish of spaghetti what ever it was. (couldn't spell the word) I think it turned out alright as I had never made it before. Eating it sometime today. Anyway if you don't see another blog you know what's happened blogger poisoned himself

Things I dislike about my life

It's funny how one question can spark a whole train of thought. When I am being interviewed about me and my life. The question people usually ask is what do I like about my life now? Not what don't I like. So when someone asked me what I don't like? It got me thinking and just like everyone I don't like getting old and having grey in my hair. Which is normal so I've been told. I dislike the loneliness of me. Which is to say I don't like my own company. I spend far too many nights talking to myself and the trouble with that is every time I ask a question. I get an answer. Getting used to being on your own is quite hard I'm lucky because I do have friends I go and see. Like last night but for someone like myself I can see some reasons for people going back on to the street. To the life they know well. I suppose it's like having roots but being homeless in a way. If there is such a thing. Another thing I hate about my life right at this minute is being able to look back at it and seeing it as a waste of life although it does have it's upside for instance I wouldn't know what I know now if it hadn't been for the life I have led. So these are just a few things I dislike about me right now. Tomorrow who knows?

22 November, 2005

What is a rolling shelter

A rolling shelter is a government supported intuitive. They are night shelters for the homeless in severe weather. They where completely funded by the government and proved useful in getting people into shelter and from there to accommodation more suitable. Food and clothing were donated. The main aim of the shelters was to get people off the street in the most severe weather. Most homeless people would welcome the chance to stay in somewhere warm. The problems I see are the people that are so used to sleeping on the street they don't want to be housed and in bad weather it could be detrimental to their health. Westminster council I think are on the right lines when they say they would think about mental health issues and getting a placement orders for their own safety but that is another matter. Of these there are only a few. As the weather is about to get more severe it's a thought.

It's too cold to be sleeping out

Winters well and truly here and at nights as temperature drops below freezing some homeless people are now just trying to survive by sleeping inside large boxes or several boxes put together. Having done this myself I can tell you how hard it can become. It's a worrying time for most people ( me, I am just happy to know I can feel the cold after the years I spent not being able to. ) but for the homeless this is the time of year they dread. I hear all these politicians saying this is what the homelesss need but most of what they suggest is not immediately available. If the temperature drops significantly then I believe the government should look at rolling shelters again. The things to be gained by them are substantial. The obvious one is that they get out of the cold and get a bed. The second is they are off the streets and while they are in these shelters they can be gotten more permanent accommodation such as hostels B and B's ect. The fourth is if they need medical attention then it can be got or administered. Because I have been in this situation of being cold and never getting a good nights sleep and being ill. When I first came off drugs I went into a rolling shelter I was helped no end. To me this is a realistic choice for the government to make but will it come down to that old thing of money. If the government are to keep their word on helping the disadvantaged then this is a good idea.

20 November, 2005

TV interview

This morning I go on the TV and face the cameras the first time for ages but this time it's for a good cause.( crisis pud) I have never felt so nervous. I 'm going to talk about me and my life and what the homeless charity crisis has done for me and how my life has changed and boy, how it has changed. Yesterday I got a phone call from my friend and that cheered me up no end. So today at nine o'clock will be the day the whole nation see the man who gives the homeless their voice. Great advert don't you think? But on a more serious note a normal Christmas is when families and friends get together. If you are homeless then you don't have that. So at the crisis open Christmas volunteers and many others come together to give vulnerable people a taste of normality and it is a taste because after Christmas most will go back to the streets. For seven days homeless people will have the opportunity to see a doctor, an optician and a dentist but most of all they can talk to people like normal human beings. When I was a guest I can still remember being in a big tent, which I now know as a marquee. That was my first contact with someone normal someone who understood that I was another human being down on my luck. It didn't matter that I had problems. Everyone treated me as if I was an equal. I think that's why I am where I am today because of their compassion. Well I was trying to find a link to the TV interview but no luck yet but I will get it on my site as soon as possible. So apart from producing editing and directing my panto I have had a quiet day.

18 November, 2005

The week that was

This week for me has been a fairly hectic but steady one. It did start off with the Monday morning blues which ran into Tues Wed Thurs and Fri. (only joking). When I read what I'd written this week I thought it read mostly like a week in politics. I mean Monday I wrote about the new drink law. Tuesday about my Monday morning blues occurring on Tuesday's which everyone suffers from, politicians more than most so I've heard. Wednesday about homeless people starting a small business. Yesterday about broadband and the socially excluded and politicians saying nothing and today I thought I'd tell you about me, my diet and how for weeks and weeks I have been as good as gold then through one depressive day it crashed and burned. So where do I start oh yes, Tuesday, had one of those days which makes you think the worlds about to collapse so to speak but I got through the day ok. That night though someone snuck five doughnuts into my flat sometime between 6pm and midnight. Then it seems one by one the doughnuts disappeared. So on tues what actually disappeared from my fridge was five doughnuts, two cheese and onion slices and one giant size pepperoni pizza. The next morning I started to wonder why I was feeling overweight had I been force fed by a sweet tooth? I am glad that it seems that I was not the only one suffering from some sort of hang over I bet Tony Blair was thinking it was all a bad dream when he lost the vote on the new anti terror bill and to top that was the news of the reported leaked paper on education reforms for youngsters but I do have my suspicions on that. Was it leaked or not? So my week has been a weak week and for once I haven't achieved a goal I set for myself. Then yesterday I heard that I might have to work for two extra years so I could be eligible for a pension. The trouble with that is people of say fifty have trouble getting work and believe me I should know. It's is hard enough. Now they're being asked to suffer longer. So as the week drags to a close. I've come to the conclusion that there maybe a possibility that I am human after all and there will be lots more weeks like this one to come. God I hope not can you imagine the size I would be?

17 November, 2005

I'm tired and knackered. I feel as if today has been one of those run around days and hope for the best. But it has had it's good bits like seeing what I have said appear on the BBC politics show and meeting some people that I promised to some time ago and talk about homelessness. Now I'm not going to go on and on like I usually do when I'm having a Jamie moment but, one thing that does cheese me off the most is when these politicians say we are going to help the socially excluded yet make no mention of it when they run for office or say leadership of a party. I have yet to hear David Cameron say anything about the homeless. It's as if the problem is put on the back burner. It's seems that the only time the issue comes up is when it's being pushed right in front of them and then they say but we are or have been dealing with the problem.
Then for a few months or so we see a government initiative that seems to fizzle out. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh but ask any homeless person that has to sleep on the streets and they will tell you the same. People have said to me since I have been writing my blog that they don't have to sleep on the streets and I tell them that there is not enough hostel accommodation and when I tell them some of the people have to be seen living on the streets before they can be assessed. Which I find personally unacceptable. If someone comes to an agency asking for help. Then they should be helped. Not told to come back two or three times that month and then be told sorry no vacancies. We have addicts on the street simply because they are addicts and no one will take them in or there is not enough accommodation to house people with this problem. We have the mentally challenged or ones with personality disorders there are only a few hostels that take these people in. So when politicians start to talk using the words socially included they should say the most vulnerable in our society. It's funny but I prefer to call a homeless person for what they are homeless. Not senseless.

Winters here

I did this blog yesterday about new technology and the socially excluded. Which I thought was an all right piece but after meeting homeless people and talking to them in a night shelter last night. Around 60% said the most pressing thing for them was not emails or mobile phones. They were worried about how to keep warm and fed and when will they get a permanent roof over their heads. Now the weather has changed suddenly and as the cold really gets to people. I think we will see and hear more about homelessness. Even today I heard people say God it's cold and they were wearing thick coats and sweaters. So imagine what's it's like for those people on the streets. Imagine having to walk five or six miles to one of the night shelters run by the church and remember they are in different places every night. Then when you get there finally, there are no vacancies. Ironic isn't it? As we come to that time of year, when in the Christian faith one night thousands of years ago there were no vacancies in a stable either. Things don't seem to have changed that much. We still have homeless people wandering our city streets. Sleeping where they can. So the most pressing issue for homeless people is not new technology. It's shelter.

16 November, 2005

Call to give all socially excluded broadband

After reading the government paper for including socially excluded people into the world of e technology and seeing there would be no exclusion for anyone. I was at first thrilled that the government had taken the initiative but after thinking and reading some more I have come to the conclusion the idea is good but how will the government go about achieving this. The situation at present for some homeless people is that the internet and mobile phones are the only way they can keep contact with an ever changing world. This does mean their lives are not on hold despite not having an address or living on friends floors. To be honest I would agree with any government initiative that does in fact engage the socially excluded in a world of technology that at the present seems beyond their reach. There are a few questions I would ask though. How many people lets say that are in the poverty trap can get or even have access to a computer and how many day centers or hostels have computers.?
How many people that have disabilities that will prevent them from joining this technology drive and does the government have other strategies?
How much is this going to cost the tax payer? Because I do fear a backlash of people that are working saying they are now worse off on the technology front.
Is this what I am calling mission impossible because of the amount of money needed to implement the government plans? Or is this going to be one of the governments five point plans that only reach the third stage





Answer to Alan Conner

I've not read the paper yet on new technology and the socially excluded but here's what I think if new technology can help someone say remind them that they have to take their pills or that their doctor is visiting that's ok. That it can be used as a medical tool or a point of contact is a step in the right direction, but their are many groups that are not high on the governments social radar. The question is how do you get the facilities to socially excluded. Lets take the homeless for instance the only way they can get to use any new technology is in day centers if they're lucky or maybe the hostel they are in. Because of the cost of maintaining it's up keep. It is expensive and charities that run these things simply cannot afford it. If the government did fund it then you would have the out cry that the socially excluded are now being better treated. If the government want people to use new technology then it should be made available to all. With no discrimination.
If you look at what's happening in the world today the best way of being certain of contacting anyone is by email and with new technology you can use it like a phone and speak and see who you're talking to. This is the way most people stay in contact in today's modern world. The other thing I see is that new technology can be used to help someone get back into mainstream employment by teaching them how to use computers, build web sites, ect. The question is not are the government going to fund the equipment and installation. The question is. Are the government going to release funding for the socially excluded to receive the education needed?
After all to use a computer you need to know how.

15 November, 2005

Monday morning blues

I guess I can tell the world I am normal at last. Whatever normal means. This morning I did not wake up to the joyous sound of the number 53 bus passing my window. I woke up in a foul mood for the first time in ages. Then if that wasn't enough I had to shave and believe me I hate shaving. You can guarantee I will have blood poring from my chin. The thing is I have been under an illusion that because of my past history with drugs and being homeless. I am not quite normal and I have been striving for God knows what. Every time I reach a goal I set myself there's another to take it's place. I seem to make just living life hard work most of the time these days. Would I change the way I am ? Would I hell. I think when you get to liking yourself and other people you are near enough to being human as you can be. That's a strange thing for me to say as I have never felt part of anything let alone the human race. I think that was due to being a second class citizen and no one noticing that I was alive especially me. Being alive inside, it's Something I have not felt in a long time. So if every Monday I wake up and I have those Monday blues I can actually say they are a blessing in disguise because rather than make me miserable as they do most people. They make me tired and lethargic for about half an hour. Then like a coat I just take it off and get back to being me.

14 November, 2005

Boozing the night away

Things never cease to amaze me and the fact that some of these so called experts come on TV and say some really dumb things just makes me think they have been in the pub just before they came on air. Tonight I was catching up on a bit of news and one of these experts said that the new licensing law should be put back until people understand that for drinking on the street being drunk and disorderly can result in an �80 on the spot fine and that the way to avoid this was to drink indoors or in a pub. Now that seems simple enough to me. Was he trying to say the general public are a bit thick. That we wouldn't understand that being drunk and sick all over the place will no longer be tolerated.
The thing that did bother me though was that fact that there are some homeless people who are real alcoholics and no matter what, for them the cheap cans of cider or special brew or even the bottles of wine they get from off licenses will be drunk on the street because it's cheaper for them and no pub landlord will let them enter their premises. Will this lead to a rise in fines being handed out and will this increase the number of homeless going to court for non payment of fines and going to prison for non payment.
The fact that we are a nation of binge drinkers is not really supprising when most experts tell us drinking and anti social behavior are an over flow of rebellion from run down estates and where there are pockets of poverty. Maybe I am a little short sighted but I see longer hours as maybe a saving grace because young people tend to binge drink because they have only a short period of time to drink. So attempt to defy the human bodies tolerance to alcohol and we all know and have seen the results. So maybe 24hr hour drinking can attempt to remedy this. It's a just thought

12 November, 2005

Still awake

Yes, it's Saturday morning and I am still wake. It's funny but some nights I can't sleep because it feels like I'm afraid I am going to miss something. I mean if you look at it the way I do. I have been asleep for almost 39yrs. You might think I am mad or something but that's what drugs do to you. You're so busy getting high then busy trying to stay normal, life just flies by. That's why I say I have been in a sort of comatosed sleep. People ask me whether I think about my past and do I have regrets? Of course I do I wouldn't be normal if I didn't but I don't dwell on it. There's no point. I just get on with what I have to do and that's living but this time things are so different. Even over the last year change has been one of the things I can see.
Writing the blog is one of the things that I am most proud of. Going for job interviews is another. Having a circle of friends that don't judge me and I love the way I can write about anything I want and that people do understand me. I like giving homeless people a voice. Which they have never had and that's what my blog is all about. Listening to the people that matter. I smile because it does not take a genius to know that if you are trying to represent people. Then you have to listen. It's something this government should learn to do and not only listen but try to do what's asked instead of trying to guess what people want. I hear people say they wouldn't mind a penny more in tax and if that's what it takes to start to put things right for this country, then it should be done. I am not a great fan of new Labour and I don't like some of the ideas new Labour are coming up with like this kinder garden teaching thing. My own view is we should let children be children because they only get once chance at it. Well I am going to try and get some sleep but I thought I'd let you know what I was thinking about

11 November, 2005

Brushing my teeth and thinking

I was just brushing my teeth and having a bit of a think and admiring myself in my bathroom mirror and I thought my what a hansome chap I am (not really) but I was thinking about the state of things in this country. The one question that always comes to mind is how come this country is in such a mess because believe it or not it is. Since the Thatcher days we have struggled to get some kind of cohesion in society. We still have the have nots and the I haves but want more. We have more violent crime occurring on our streets. We have a huge drug problem which is still growing. When it comes to the homeless and vulnerable they are the people that still have nothing. Although the situation has got a fraction better. If you were to compare what's happening now to lets say the sixties not much has changed. Things seem to be more hidden these days. It does appear that those that have the least seem to know what's needed to change things in our society and to be frank I think it is because they have the least and they know about the hard times people face because they face them everyday. I have always maintained that politicians don't really know how much people are suffering through some of their policies. It's like the way I write about things. I try to write as simple as I can so that everyone understands what I am trying to say, but everything is not that simple. One of my favorite saying at this moment in time is you don't know really about things until you been there or done it. Only the other day I said to someone wouldn't you like to see a politician live on the streets for just one month so he could get to know what life is really like being homeless. Then maybe he would know what he's talking about. Of course this wont happen but what a refreshing change it would make if one said yes I will do it, anonymously of course. Well that's what I was thinking.

10 November, 2005

Former homeless and homeless set up new business venture

Homeless and former homeless members of crisis skylight have set up a new venture called crafty arts. A market stall of hand made arts and craft's. There are a wide variety of things on sale which range from fine art to poetry. This is a project that is not supported by crisis. It is an independent project run by it's members. Who are also incidentally skylight members. They call themselves the crafty art co-op and all decisions concerning the stall and marketing are made by the members themselves. They have even made a code of conduct when selling their wares. The stall has now been running in spitafields market. Every Friday for four weeks and it is proving to be a very successful venture and also a learning process for those that want to venture further. As everyone knows running a small business can be a daunting task but for these new entrepreneurs this is one venture in which they aim to succeed. So if you pop along to the market come and have a browse.

Winter shelters

As we all know winter is upon us. The dark nights and cold that are part of the winter season can be hazardous for homeless people especially if your old or sick. Quite few years ago the government implemented a policy were homeless people could go in to cold weather ( rolling shelters) but as the years have gone by and the winters have gotten milder. Cold weather shelters run by government have halted and the funding ceased.
Churches have been the main stay of this sort of help needed in winter. The fact that 35 or more homeless people are turned away each night and the other thing to note is that each shelter is at a different location every night should be saying something to the government.
As usual I am asking questions like should housing even for one night be left solely to charities and churches?
The government say they are committed to helping all members of society yet once again the most vulnerable are excluded from the help that is needed. Maybe and I do think this could be quite beneficial to all concerned that if the government were to reopen or reintroduce a severe weather shelter policy that they could infact get a good guide on how many people are actually sleeping rough. What part of the country they come from ect, I am now waiting for a reply from various sources as to what provisions are in place in cases of severe weather as I understand that severe weather is forecast by some just after Christmas.

E democracy

It's funny how all these people get together to discuss things all intellectuals of a sort and there's me. Sitting in a room with them trying to understand what's going on and sometimes I do sometimes I don't. What I think is funny and really puts a smile on my face is the people from the Hansard society who are so welcoming especially Millica who's got this glint in her eye and you know she has something up her sleeve. So in I walk in, sit down and then I know I am going to be asked to speak. I smile and think wow all these people that are sat listening. Who probably have more brains in their little toe than I have in my head but somehow as always I say something which seems to be okay. The funny thing is they all seem to know me through reading my blog. The reality of it all seems to strike home and then I suddenly know what all these meeting and my blog are all about. It's about democracy and the freedom to say what I want on equal terms. It doesn't matter that I am using a new form of technology to convey what I am saying although I do believe that's what this meeting was about. I believe we should all have the freedom to choose whether we should or not use it. It is the new way of assimilating data and having contact and it is steadily being used more and more in daily life. The big question is should we embrace it or should we err on the side of caution as we all know big brother is probably just around the corner. So for me the E stands for equal not electronic and democracy is the freedom of choice.

My opinion

Well, we all new at sometime or other Tony Blair would eventually lose in the house of commons but I am of the opinion that yesterday Mr Blair should not have lost. I am not a staunch believer of Tony's but yesterday I truly believe the vote against Tony was not a vote against the ninety day bill but a vote against Mr Blair and the Labour government which I think was wrong. 72% of the people said the bill was right and should be made law but as usual no one was listening and there's me thinking that the parties involved were there for the people. Once again I like many others feel we have been let down again. I think Tony Blair was right when he said we are dealing with a new form of terrorism. The opposition sited the IRA and said we have been fighting them for years. Well the IRA didn't use suicide bombers they gave us warning. We are fighting a different kind of terror. Which will get worse and now we have the worry of people being put back into the community because enough time wasn't allowed for investigations. Mr Howe said yesterday that we can't put people in prison with no evidence because they will come out bitter. I would rather have someone come out of prison bitter than them come out and blow something up or kill more people. The choice was simple and the result was damaging for Mr Blair but saying that the one thing we all know he is a survivor.

09 November, 2005

Anti terrorism

How do you combat terrorism. I don't know. Why ask me is the usual question and answer you get? While the government ponder the ifs and whys and buts terrorists will cause more grief and havoc around the world. My own view on this matter is let the politicians come up with the strategy for combating terrorism but let the people vote on it because this affects us all and it's only then that a united front can be gained. Tony Blair is gambling his reputation on this when he doesn't really have to. People want to combat this threat the best way they can. We have all these people saying this and that and the one argument that is being used all the time is the length of time spent in prison. We have people in prison right at this moment that have been in there six or seven months and some of them will be found not guilty. I personally don't think ninety days is to much to ask for when the evidence on what has to be done is put before a court but I would stress that I would like it to be brought before a court once every four weeks so a judge can evaluate the situation and to make sure the police or who ever are not dragging there heels. Some would say this is not right but it's also not right that bombs can be exploded among innocent people and surely the safety of our country and it's people should come first.

08 November, 2005

Radical idea

We all want things to work and when it comes to the question of homelessness we can plod our way through tons of stuff and still get nowhere. I have to admit that there seems to be no cure for this dreaded affliction called homelessness. Why do I say affliction because it is a symptom of poverty in a vast majority of cases. The cure could be just to throw money in that direction but I doubt that very much. We are all looking for ways to cure this symptom of society. Ideas have been put before and some of the ideas I have are not so radical and some have been tried before . The homeless charity crisis have a member volunteer scheme which is to say that if you are homeless or living in a hostel and are a member of skylight you can become a volunteer. Which is all well and good but it doesn't replace that well being of being paid for something you're good at does it? I see an enormous as yet untapped potential of people who would make good out reach workers and good community officers for Westminster council new project if this council is so set on changing the rules then use the wealth of knowledge these people have. When it comes to government then maybe they could learn a thing or two from people who have actually been there got the t-shirt so to speak. Well, I have had this bee in my bonnet for a long time and because I only hear one or two stories of people actually working in the homeless sector what I am saying we need more. We need people that have been there and are not going to give up on clients . Think I'll shut up now and get off my soap box

Homelessness conference

Last night I went to a conference called solutions to homelessness in Westminster . Quite a few people attended including
Janet Haddington (head of Westminster councils rough sleeping team)
Colin clover (director of London connection at St Martins)
Stuart Freeman (director of chas central London)
John Deacon (the West London day center)
Westminster councils has become renown for some of it's policies so it was good to hear someone at last face the music so to speak and explain what the councils intentions where regarding rough sleepers.
On July 1st 2005 Westminster city council implemented there new rough sleepers intuitive based on their new provision called building based services(BBS) it is supposed to move away from the traditional street base out reach work to a new more efficient scheme. Outreach workers will now make assessments at a base rather than the streets and the council will have community officer giving out bits of paper to people they meet sleeping rough urging them to go to a day center to be assessed for housing. Providing the BBS will be,
The passage
Connections at St Martins
St Mungo's
Thames Reach Bondway
The first point of contact will be the newly name safer street unit. (good name don't you think) the rough sleepers will be informed by one of these officials and they will sign post them to the nearest service. So on and so forth.
I thought this was a gimmick when I first heard about it and it does seem to me a bit over the top but as they say you shouldn't knock something unless you prove it doesn't' work but people can look at it in different ways especially people that live in the borough.
1. Is that the council are now spending more money on something new when the old system was working although at a slower pace.
2. There are people still sleeping rough in the borough that have been there for ages and it does seem that these are the people that the new scheme will leave behind.
3. Is this going to be another council thing that cannot be maintained.
When Janet haddington was asked about the people that could fall through the cracks so to speak because they have violent or personality disorders she used the words enforcement orders . We have many cases over the last few years of patents with disorders being put back into society and a tragedy has occurred. Are we saying just because they have a disorder we have to force them off the streets. When they already have had experts that put them back in to our society. My worry is that enforcement orders and asbo's will become common place and will be used to force people off the streets. I could go on and on but I want to put these views to other homeless people and write what they have to say. If we concentrate on things that are happening now we seem to have the old thing of out of sight and out of mind occurring as hostels get more over crowded and places become more scare. If you look on the streets of your city tonight has the number of rough sleepers risen. I would love to know because it has here.

05 November, 2005

Another idea comes to me

Well' I'm sitting here having a black cup of coffee and thinking. How can I make this blog a better blog? Then it comes to me I've been on about it for weeks and now what I think, is to put the bloody thing in motion. The title underneath my blog headline says a voice battling for the homeless. So that's exactly what I am going to do once a week. I will have a guest blog written by the people that I talk about and meet most days when I go out. This is what I think. They can tell you for themselves how they became homeless. The things that has happen to them and what help they are getting now.
So that's my next venture and my first candidate is going to be a young man called Simon I think. I mean it does say a voice battling for homeless people. So why not give them their own voice?

04 November, 2005

Just a another thought

As you know myself and Yvonne met David Davis who I thought was a typical Tory but on the head to head with what his name Campbell last night it appeared to me that both leadership candidates kept on referring to the other as being a Tony Blairite. This must surely put another smile on Tony Blair face? Surely if the Conservatives want to get ahead they must forget about Mr Blair and concentrate on policies and not giving Tony the satisfaction that once again his name as been mentioned in a Conservative camp or is the word policy a swear word not to be used in public and I'm not even a Conservative. I am a member of the public and if they think that calling each other names will get them votes then they have to think again because what I have heard so far from both is we like what Tony Blair's doing with his party and we'll basically do the same but we'll disguise it and call it Conservatism. Modernization is the word that keeps on cropping up and to tell the truth if that's what they think it is. Then I am a monkeys uncle

03 November, 2005

Meeting David Davis and hearing what he had to say was interesting. When he answered some of the questions asked and answered with typical Conservative replies like buying a house. We told him that for people like me and Yvonne and many others buying a house was a pipe dream his answer which was automatic, was to buy to let. He didn't have to think about the answer before he gave it. after I thinking about it long after he'd gone I just thought yes it would great if we could get the money in the first place to buy the bloody houses. What mortgage company would take on ex-homeless people or in my case an ex-addicts? It seems that I did ask questions and give replies to his queries but I just got that sense of here we go again another Conservative. Which is a compliment to him. He was ok as Conservatives go. After meeting David Davis I took the Mickey out of Yvonne for accidentally kicking him under the table. I think playing footsie is what I said. Well, it has been an interesting day and tomorrow looks as if it's going to be another one.

02 November, 2005

Coffee Morning with David Davis (potential Conservative party leader)

This is normality

Trying top do several jobs at once is near enough impossible and it does seem that I am in danger of over loading my brain which by the way some people over the years said I hadn't got. Things are hectic just right now. I have quite a few emails this morning and I am trying to get through them and I am visiting another school tomorrow morning and now my mobile has gone on the blink and I simply can't afford to get another one. So at the end of this week it looks as if I am going to have to make an inventory of everything that needs to be replaced and to top that off the police have just been and asked me if there's anything missing from my flat as they caught a couple of youths kicking the front door in yesterday. I thought the door was a bit funny but I took it that it was the rain that had swelled the wood and it was sticking a bit but this is the thing that I was on about in my last blog.
The youth today are bored and now have found other ways to occupy themselves, drugs, alcohol. They need money for these things and that's where crime comes in to the equation. Something I don't need at this minute. The best thing about this all I feel quite normal as I sip my second cup of fine blend coffee.

A politicians way of thinking

I woke up very early again this morning after spending the night asleep on my sofa. A train of thought running through my head and a question. The question was how do politicians think? So I sat down with my coffee and lit a cigarette and sat there contemplating. Now if you can imagine a man with a few extra pounds, half naked on a sofa blowing rings of smoke in the air. Then you have a better imagination than me. Well, there I was contemplating and I came up with this. Politicians think about things in simple terms, say the best way to get to the number ten is to add five and five or three plus seven. Simple logic I think that's what they call it. The best way to a problem if you know the answer is the root but the root of a problem is not always that simple. Let me take you to one of our major problems drinking alcohol. I think if you look at any map you will find that most drinkers come from deprived areas of Britain I am not saying that because they were born in these areas that they all became drinkers God we'd be in trouble if they all did. I am just saying the majority of drinkers. Now the government seem to think the best way to tackle this problem is housing more back to work incentives new flipping deals and so and on. Oh and the five point plans they make and we get to the third point and the rules have changed and we have to start all over again. You know the ones the governments never ending plans. These are what I call simple roots of a problem. I think we should be tacking the major causes of these problems like kids drinking on street corners or children as young as nine and ten drinking why? Well this week I have been on my travels not only talking to homeless people but to parents with their kids in tow and believe me when I say in tow. I have seen some strange sights ie: children on reins about 20 meters long and I find that very strange, but as I was saying I started to ask children and their parents what was missing and why were so many children now doing things that we wouldn't even think about doing when we were kids. The answer I got was simple boredom, there's nothing to do. We tell our kids to stop playing these computer games and watching telly. We tell them to get out and see the sights or go to the gym or youth centers, but if we look closer we find that there are not enough places for them to go or in some cases there aren't any places. Which in this day and age is kind of sad are we saying we don't care enough? Are we cultivating a vulnerability in our children that leads them to drinking on street corners and living the way they are living now? We are always saying children are our future. Well, shouldn't we be trying to do all we can to make sure of that. This is only one way of tackling the many problems in our society. If you add this one and many others they just make more roots to the problems we have. Well this is me ranting again. Professor McCoy talks to the people again but they are my thoughts and I thought you'd like to know.

01 November, 2005

Another rough sleeper

This is another face on the streets. Another person having to sleep rough. The government says it's tackling the problem but I am afraid to tell you nothing much has changed you still see the same old faces along with new ones. This was one person that slept during the day as he had been on his feet all night. When I spoke to him and told that's I once slept on the street. His reaction was startling. The government say they have reduced the number of rough sleepers and I believe at some time this year that was very true but as usual it seems that was only a temporary thing. Homelessness is an issue that not only affects London it is also on the rise in other parts of the country. What gets to me is that every Christmas we seem to highlight homelessness. Yet it is not a once yearly event. PEOPLE ARE HOMELESS ALL YEAR ROUND and I think its a great shame that a country with so much wealth and so many generous people we still have to see it day in and day out. I go out and meet people sleeping rough and hear what they have to say. Most would just love to be in the warm watching the television and nearly all would like a bed to sleep in. Just like me and you. Until the government realize that it is a much worse problem than they think. Then I am afraid nothing will change that much. Posted by Picasa

Oh to be a politician

Yesterday I guess what with falling down the stairs on the bus and all. I guess I made a few errors in judgment you could say I was having a few Blunkett moments. Error of judgment thing. The thing is how can we trust a politician who has already proved he will do things that are not exactly kosher. This time as he admits he did test out the water so to speak by asking the committee about another thing. Does this prove you have to be a bit devious to be a politician? Because this is not the first politician to stray over the years and there's me saying let me become leader of the Conservatives. Well , I think I would make a good politician because I am fairly honest (when I have to be) but are honest politicians in this day and age really hard to find? I mean we have George Galloway pleading his innocence but the whisper is there's no smoke without fire. I do admire him for standing up for what he believes though. We have a prime minister who went to war on the word of so called experts. Did he know? Only he knows the truth and he's not saying maybe we will know when he writes his memoirs. Then we have the contender for the leadership of the Conservatives what's his name did he take drugs or not. Will he tell the people he did not knowing its a lie. Once again only he knows and his dealer of course. Oh to be a politician I wonder if there's a college course on how to become a politician