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.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

Hi Jamie. I hope you don't mind me adding a comment. I am the daughter of the late Tessa Steer who died in September. My Mum was a regular visitor to your blog and often mentioned it to me - you may remember her as she commented on some of your entries and had a blog called Tessa's tete a tete. From time to time I visit your blog as I also find it very interesting. Your comments on hostels really struck a chord with me. It is awful to think that homeless people can't get a place in a hostel because they have a drink or a drug problem. I work for the Probation Service and, if you commit a crime which is drink or drug driven, there seems to be almost unlimited access to drink and drug rehab and there are hostels who take these people in for the length of their order or until they have managed to find a job or alternative suitable accommodation. Nobody should have to feel that society has given up on them - where do they go from there? Something else for the government to be considering.

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