28 December, 2006

Christmas is nearly over and I have spent a few hours giving back something at the drinkers shelter. Most of the time was spent teaching people how to blog and download things from the internet. A new blog was set up for the drinkers to comment and write stuff. It seems to have been a success. getting people who wouldn't normally use computers is what I call a first step. It's like when I first started writing poetry. I put them up on the wall then someone else did. Before we knew it there was a wall full of peoples poetry. Its such a rewarding site just to see people doing what they thought they had forgotten or just didn't have the opportunity to. Will I be back next year? The answer to that is easy. Yes. It will be mixed emotions if I see the same people because you want the best for them but as we all know life is not perfect.

What is a community

Communities with in communities is what I think we have in this day and age. We have the well off in one sector and the middle class in another and the less fortunate in another. we have always had this class divide. Maybe for centuries probably since we started to barter for goods. yet separation from each other has become a thing we discuss and have been doing for years. what is the difference between a poor man or woman to someone that has everything. if you think about it nothing because we all breathe the same air. We all sweat and most work hard. the question is can we keep up with the Jones? why should we? Individualism is the key word, which we use quite often. people don't wish to be poor but circumstances dictates they are. this applies to all, rich or poor. Just because someone is poor it doesn't mean they are not intelligent or can't make something of thier selves. Is there such a thing as middle class?

27 December, 2006

Government for government sake

I think if I was in government, I wouldn't make it hard for people to get affordable accommodation. Affordable housing seems to be one of the key issues but I know I would be not be building homes for people to buy on such a large scale. This government keep on building homes for first time buyers and people that can afford to buy. They also say that 75% of the population actually own their own homes I don't know where they get their figures from but it's around 49% so I've been told. The other thing is why do this government say we care about the less fortunate when they take away from them. every yuear government spending diminshes to a bare minimum. This year we have seen gas and electric go up markedly yet they haven't done a thing to help the elderly or the sick also the new welfare reform does nothing to address the problems of the less fortunate. In fact some will be a lot worse than they are now. In a year where the chancellor says we are well off. The poor of this country are getting poorer. It seems like New Labour are the Jekyll and Hyde of politics. They have one face in public but behind closed doors they are intent on policy change no matter what the cost.

showing compassion

It's sad but at this time of year we seem to forget those that have disappeared due to illness. Many simply can't be with us today because they have died. It's was these people that needed the help the most during the year not just at Christmas.
One day last week I was in the west end of London and we saw a homeless man who we thought was asleep on the pavement. It transpired that he had a heart attack but that wasn't what got to me it was the amount of people that just stepped over him. I can remember one MP or lord somebody sometime ago commenting that he had to step over homeless people when he came out of the opera and that there was no reason for it.
Have we really become that immune to people in trouble? Have we become a society that would rather tend to a sick dog than a sick person? I have had my troubles over the years and like so many i not given a second glance. It was only when people treated me with compassion one Christmas that changed my life. I now hope like so many people that have given up their time at Christmas to help others in need that we never forget that showing a little compassion is what makes us a part of a better society, a caring society but lets not just show it at Christmas. Homelessness is not only at Christmas for some it a life time of nothing.

25 December, 2006


It's the end of Christmas day old friendships renewed and new ones made. As we leave for the night to go home to our own lives. We stop to reflect on just how much of a difference we have made to someones life. Maybe none but maybe we have just a little. So has the time been well spent and has it all been worthwhile. I myself believe so, because one minute of listening to someone talk about their problems could be the thing that ignites a small fire just by us being there and who knows maybe in a couple of years they will be doing exactly the same.

Inside a crisis at crisis

Most of us when we were kids had this thing about Santa coming down the chimney with a sack full of goodies just for you. I always thought this was a bit far fetched even as a kid as we didn't have a chimney and I often wondered how the hell Santa left my presents but age has caught up with me and and the truth is out. Good times and good dreams have have come and gone at sporadic intervals. The only thing that has been constant is time. I am definitely older and a little wiser. So seeing people who have nothing not even a roof over their head at Christmas is sad but seeing them drown from life's problems is sadder. Christmas is a time most of us spend with families and friends but for some, it's a time of reflection and what could have been and sadness . Most of us have all hit low patches in our lives me included but just imagine having to suffer in silence for years and the only way to get away from it all was to run as far as you could but even that isn't far enough. With no hope of a future you turn to the bottle or drugs thus becoming another outcast. One of the socially excluded. Its that simple to become homeless and disillusioned.
At Christmas things only become more meaningless as memories are drowned by booze and drugs and the future well, what future? There isn't one, not one you can see anyway. It's funny but Christmas is a time of hope during the year there isn't much of that about.
All the volunteers at the crisis open Christmas give that just by standing around guarding doors and just talking to people that during the year would normally be ignored. Showing people that they are normal gives the first glimpses of hope and who knows what follows? maybe a merry Christmas.

22 December, 2006

A picture of homelessness

Forty Christmas’s have been and gone since homelessness was brought to the fore and we are still talking homelessness and what it does to people’s lives. The myth that these are the people that want to live this way was dispelled years ago. I have been there are lived the life not by choice but out of sheer necessity. Having been there I know what homeless people are going through. When you first arrive on the street there is a certain apprehension but no clue as to what will happen there is also a mild fear but there is that hope that everything will turn out fine and nothing phases you until it gets cold and rains and you’re soaked to the skin or you have no money in your pocket and are really struggling to survive. This is what I call the desperate days. When you think about stealing and you start off buy shoplifting bars of chocolate just to ease the hunger you feel then you find out that there is a soup van that gives out free tea and sandwiches. So you become part of the homeless crowd waiting for it every night. It’s then you notice people look at you in a certain disapproving way. Then one day you get fed up of having nothing. You pluck up the courage to sit down and beg because that’s all that’s left for you to do. You sit there looking down at the floor not wanting to look into people’s eyes because you’re ashamed but after a while and days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months, months into years. You get used to it. It becomes away of life. You start to mix with other homeless people who get by drinking or using drugs and in the blink of an eye you find yourself doing exactly the same. By the time you realise you have a habit it seems its too late and there is nothing left but the daily chore of drink and drugs that’s how I felt everyday of the week but something changed. I went to my first crisis open Christmas where people treated me as if I was a person not someone to be looked down upon.

I have heard about all these great schemes charities and the government have come up with this year but how do you get someone to take that first step. Crisis has part of the answer at their open Christmas centres and that is normality, being treated like a real person makes a real difference to most homeless people and by engaging them in conversation or just listening is a starting point. Giving people that first glimmer of hope, gives homeless people their first insight into what could be. It’s not about forcing people to conform as some have had terrible lives but it not plain sailing. Some have major drink and drug problems and to add to those ill health. Getting these sorted is a high priority but that is the start, the tip of the iceberg so to speak. There are all sorts of problems and reasons for people becoming homeless and once you start the process of engagement you can start solving the problem the next step I think is re-education. It is just another part of the solution as most people lose their confidence and skills once on the streets and quite a high number of homeless people cannot do the simple things like reading and writing I could not but can now as you can see.

Although there are things in place for sixteen to twenty five year old. In most cases for them it’s a problem of access but if you are over twenty-five lives just gets tougher. There simply is nothing unless you look far and wide and then its just luck in finding something. Then there is what is called the revolving door people repeatedly becoming homeless. There are several reasons I think they are loneliness, old habits and not being able to cope. Life on the streets may seem simple but let me assure you it’s not.

18 December, 2006

A merry Christmas to all and a christmas poem

This Christmas.

This Christmas where will we be?
Will we be in the heart of a family or friend?
Still with disasters and fences to mend.
Will we be holding the loves of our lives?
Sons, daughters, husbands or maybe our wives.
Will we be reminiscing old times?
Or maybe reviewing old crimes
Yet together whatever.

This Christmas what will we see
Will it be beauty and love in the eyes of a child?
As she opens her toy.
Will it be laughter and smiles as a father plays with his boy.
Will it be the sound of people?

This Christmas will we be true to our hearts
Simple and plain
No demons to tame
Will be wishing for a world that has peace
Where love has a freedom and does not have a leash
Or will it be just twenty-four hours of laughter and smiles
Families and friends.
Coming together to shine

This Christmas
Will this Christmas be that Christmas of hope
A Christmas of change
Of coming together

Action not talk.

I have been thinking about the homeless situation over the weekend and have come to the conclusions that we are actually going backwards. Forty years ago there was an out cry about homelessness. The government in power at that time suddenly had to take action. Which they did by funding more hostel places. They soon became the warehouses of the homeless. I believe once that once again this is happening but this time on a much larger scale. People might say this is a harsh view to take as the government are doing all they can but are they? This the result of not building enough houses and continually reducing funding that was much needed at that time. Now we have this large problem that will not go away by just talking a good talk or manipulating figures. It needs affirmative action. Single homeless people get a raw deal in general but if you become long term homeless then it becomes mission impossible. I have loads of questions to ask various politicians but the one question that keeps on haunting me is why do governments always refer to families when they talk about housing? We have young and old single people that need homes as well. My own view is if you want to build solid communities then you have to include every aspect of needed social housing because communities are not made up of just one type of person. The other thing that I have been thinking about is second class citizens and do they really exist. Some would call them hobos or tramps or the dregs of society as I have heard recently but how can you condemn someone for having a life style different to the norm and in some cases a life style that just can't be helped? It's funny but a few years ago I was the silent type but now I'm saying what people have been dying to say. Some would say that I am not politically correct but what the hell if you say what's on your mind and speak frankly. Then people will either agree or disagree. This is what leads to debate and hopefully action. I am just a normal man but I can see things in a different light because I have been there and have the t-shirt so to speak but I think my views are balanced.

Alans continuing progress

As you know that I have been following the exploits of Alan an alcoholic for many years and who is now clean and sober and has been for a while but what changed. I believe it was because he saw things from a different perspective and did things like gardening. He got himself a plot and spent the summer growing things and tending his plot. He even had time to take snaps of a tame fox. Which he named flossy who ate chocolate off his shoes but all in all he has changed some of the things that affected his life like, the people he hung around with. He says things seem much simpler and not so complicated now. He takes his tablets once a day and lives the simple life. As he says one day at a time is all he can manage for now.

15 December, 2006

A mini pantomime or was it really a bad dream?

I thought while I was in the mood to write. I'd tell you about the strangest dream I think I had. The funny thing is I remember most of it. It all started when I went to sleep one night and who should appear but Tony Blair dressed in a Santa suit, saying "sorry I've forgotten all your presents this year. You haven't been good have you?" Then he started mumbling on and on about me not voting for him and the bad things I said about his beloved Labour party and I said what's new about that fact anyway. Then slowly but surely he disappear into the distant. Then up popped the cabinet singing White Christmas in funny voices and Gordon Brown dressed like the fairy on top of a Christmas tree. The thought of this still gives me goose bumps and sends shivers down my spine. It makes me wonder whether I was having an awful S and M dream but there Gordon was in all his glory. Everything stopped for a short while. Then Gordon came over and spoke to me saying he would grant me one wish and I was to tell him the wish after I had made it. I made my wish but refused point blank to tell him. Sorry Gordon but I still wont tell. Back to the dream. The more I refused to tell the more angry he got and the deeper the shade of reddish purple he got. Then all of a sudden he was shouting and screaming I will become prime minister and if you don't tell I will increase the price of petrol and I still refused. I will increase tax he said smiling a wicked smile and of course I still refused. Then he let out such a squeal that I cowered. He said he was going to reduce the welfare state and reduce benefits to just those that really needed his governments help and the unemployed would have to fill out more forms, which would take years. Then suddenly everything went poof and I think I woke up.


This looks like a scene from a Charles Dickens play but it's not. It's another homeless man sleeping rough. This is what the government say they are trying to eradicated but the question I am asking is how come we have heard quite a lot about homelessness and how it's being tackled, since we found out we are hosting the Olympics or am I just being cynical?

Another day on the streets

Another day waking up to nothing. Every time I go to the crisis office I get off the bus and go via the subway at Aldgate where the mini shopping mall was but has now been shut for over a year. There has now been a homeless man sleeping there for quite a few months. Most days you can catch him reading a book, which he says he had to get from the homeless library van that comes every two weeks in Westminster. I asked him why he isn't in a hostel he said to be truthful I have tried to live in one but with all the alcoholics and drug addicts its much safer sleeping here. Plus it's not as noisy. I stayed at the one just down the road and every night there would be a fight or someone would bang on my door to ask if I had a light and it was getting a bit much for me. I need peace and quiet. What's the difference any way when I'm stuck in a hostel doing the same thing as I am doing now. I asked what in fact he was doing and he said just passing time.
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No particular place to go

Posted by Picasa Harry walks the same journey every day to get a breakfast and cup of tea. He has now been living on the streets of London for 15yrs and has tried living in hostels but everytime he gets a little out of hand because of his drinking, he always ends up back on the streets. I asked him why he doesn't try again to live in a hostel? His answer was really simple. How can you expect anyone to live in a place that has no heart. I thought it a strange way to put it but in a way he's right. Homeless hostels have now become a big business. I could set up one tomorrow and it would in fact make a profit but a persons life isn't just about making money off it. The fact that people are being warehoused in these hostels is a disappointing fact of homelessness. Is homelessness a result of government and it's ever changing agenda's on the welfare state and housing or is it a permanant social thing which will never change?

The madness of Jamie

Things have been getting to me down lately and of course the slump that was due had to come sooner or later. With all the things that have been happening this week. I have had these thoughts of just giving everything up but to cure this I had this mad thought and that was, could I actually live on the streets again if I had to? So last night I picked up my old sleeping bag and went into the West End and made my bed outside the camera shop by the Savoy hotel in Charing cross road. At first it was fine but as the night drew on and it started to get colder and to be truthful I started to feel cold. Then it started to spot with rain I started to think about sitting in front of the TV with a cup of coffee and how warm and cozy it was. The thing I learnt was that life on the street just didn't appeal to me anymore and it just wasn't me. I stayed for a few more hours just looking around and trying to remember my days on the street and how on earth I managed it for so long. I know the drugs I was taking then made me numb to the world but there was a lot more to it than just the drugs. This might sound crazy but here's what I think I have learned, I had lived for years being told I was useless and would never amount to much and the belief that someone is supposed to have in themselves just wasn't there. Confidence in my own abilities were none existent and the years of drug abuse had left me with nothing but the instinct to just survive, if you could call it that. The fact that I was me and wasn't seems a bit confusing but if you imagine someone without much hope and nothing going for them, then you have a true picture me at that time. It took a mad five minutes, (well half hour if you count the time I just sat there.) I now call it the day the Thames got stoned instead of me but all this has lead me to where I am today. I know who I am,( I think) I have the confidence to do what ever I decided to do and I keep learning more and more about myself and life each day. The saying that everyone has limitations, has yet to affect me. I have this belief that limitations are just barriers to be broken. It has all come about by people giving me a second chance and help along the way. Which was all I needed but there are some people that need a second and a third and a fourth chance and for some it just doesn't happen. If I have learnt anything, it's that one little thing you do for somebody changes things. It might not be seen but it does change things. Strange but true. It the ripple effect. What I say and do now probably affects someone else. We all learn through change. It just takes some longer than others.

13 December, 2006

Good days

Sometimes our own little worlds burns and crashes
Yet somehow it keeps on daily turning.
One day can seem like a lifetime
Yet only a few hours have drifted by
So so many times those silent words come to mind
Oh I wish time would just up and die.
Yet the world tomorrow keeps on turning
And maybe keeps on burning.
But good days appear on many more horizons
Where dreams of canvas splendour
And wishes do come true.
It's just life and always a part of you.
So when that inner rage comes out to play
On a hectic nothing day.
Just sit a little while
Let unused muscles form a smile.
Because tomorrow has yet to show its face
And living, reminds you of the human race
Apart of which you are.

Homelesness past its sell by date

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It always happens to me

It seems that I am a magnet for horrible things. I am at present trying to get my income support sorted as someone in Birmingham has claimed my benefit. Now this is not the first time this has happened but myself and the dss put various safe guards in place to stop this happening again but because of departments not informing the other my claim was closed and of course I was set to suffer once again but I will not let this new bout of trouble get to me as life is full of these little bumps and twists although I must admit I am angry as Christmas is just around the corner but enough of my problems.
I still go out at night taking photos of homeless people, talking to them which I think is more important. Someone who was walking around with me said they are the dregs of society. Obviously they didn't understand the problem and to me it was an awful statement to make as they didn't know the people they were talking about. I said what if the person sleeping over there was a brother of yours. Would you still be saying the same thing? All of us are guilty at times for forgetting they are someone's sons, sisters, brothers ect: but it all comes down to people perceptions of homelessness. We here the argument that most homeless people are addicted to some form of narcotic or alcohol but is this really true? This Christmas over 1500 people are expected to attend the Crisis Open Christmas not all are on the streets quite afew are, the hidden homeless and need someone to talk to. They also may need to see a doctor or dentist. Making people feel normal and there's more to life than blank days. This is the new direction of crisis the homeless charity they believe in empowering people to make their own choices. Whether your on the streets or not.

06 December, 2006

Homelessness is not just about living on the streets and just surviving anymore, which most people avoid during their lives. It's about more than just a roof over your head because most homeless people who have been living on the streets for some while form, what some would call small communities with in a community. It's the way homeless people survive the streets, each one looking out for the other. This includes the alcoholics, drug addicts. Its so consuming that it does become away of life. My own life is a prime example. Getting away from that life is a problem within itself. Losing the skills and confidence needed to lead a normal productive life is only the start of the problems homeless people face. Not being accepted, as part of mainstream society is another big problem as peoples perception of homelessness goes on what they see in their city centers and what they hear in the news. The fact that it's a misconception that every homeless person is either mad or addicted to something only clouds the issues. Changing societies thinking was and is always going to be hard because everything is not black and white. Government and local councils must take some of the blame as different governments over the years have dramatically cut funding. Recently this government and various homeless charities have made efforts to tackle the homeless problem but like so many in the past but they have all been short lived due to the lack of continuing funding or other problems associated with homelessness. The problem today is this government seem to be solving the problem of rough sleeping but at the same time creating another, hidden homelessness. (People stuck in temporary accommodation or sleeping on friends floors, b and bs ect) I believe a radical rethink is needed on the real issues of homelessness from prevention, to the housing, to learning and skills and these are only part of the answer.
Housing needs to be seriously looked at.
Drug and alcohol dependency needs to be properly addressed because how can you expect someone to go into a rehab get clean and then re-enter society via the streets again. Its inevitable they will return to their former lives.
Long-term solutions need to be found and funding needs to continue once given. All these issue are relevant to homelessness but while we still try to fix all with just the one solution, then we will always be talking about these issues. Every case of homelessness is different and when we start treating them as such then we might actually see some improvement. You can listen to me rant some more on BBC radio4 at 1230 tomorrow when I interview the hosing minister Yvette cooper.

29 November, 2006

Plain and simply put

Martha is a forty seven year old woman who sleeps rough by Victoria coach station in Westminster. She says that every time she goes to a day centre there seems to be nothing for her. She has been waiting for a vacancy in a woman's hostel for four weeks now and hopes to be off the streets and into a nice warm bed sooner rather later. She did say she had a bit of a sleep in a West London church night shelter. This is not the first time that I have spoken to a homeless women and heard that services for woman are a low priority. I think this is due to the fact that in the early days of homelessness there were more male than females living on the streets but in today's climate it seems there are far more women in hostels and sleeping rough than there were before. This maybe due to numerous things but marital breakdowns and violence seem to be at the forefront these days but there are several reasons why, just as in the case of male homelessness. Which does bring me back to the subject of housing and the need for more social housing. I was speaking to a woman on the bus this morning. Just trying to make conversation as it's just boring staring out of the windows. Anyway it transpires that she has just moved into a flat but the rent is quite an astronomical amount and to find it every month so she has to work extra hours. She said she wasn't sure she could manage the rent all on her own so she had her friend move in with her. I had to agree with her that renting a flat is becoming impossible as greedy landlords are cashing in on the housing shortage. The fact that some of these dwelling are appalling seems to make no difference. Take my flat for instance. My rent has increased by £10 in the last four years. That's an extra £520 a year I have to pay since I first moved in and when April comes next year it will go up another two pounds. This is why I am saying the government should now be saying enough is enough and should be making sure landlords cannot charge the earth. It's something that must be done as the fair rent tribunals obviously do not work and causes more feuding between landlords and tenants it is one of the contributing factors why landlords try to evict. I know fair rents are a mine field for any government but something has to be done as social house building is at an all time low and the housing lists all over the country are forever growing. I have never been that good at maths but even I can calculate that if only 65000 houses are built this years and next year the same. There will still be 1,000,000 people that need of housing and they are just the people on the housing registers.
There has to be one defining moment every so often and I think I have one every so often. So does this mean I am normal? I think another one of those moments has come again. I am going to be putting questions on homelessness to Yvette Cooper the housing minister. It will be on BBC radio four on December the 7th I think. At present I am trying to work out the questions I want to ask.
This has to be a first that an ex drug addict and homeless man interviews a top politician. Funny five or six years ago I would have had everyone committed if they'd told me my writing would lead to all this. I am extremely nervous and after yesterday's performance on the radio I am doubly nervous but I think I'm getting the hang of things. So look out for my spot on radio 4. I have already wrote somethings for the BBC web site you can read them

28 November, 2006

Is success more than just an illusion

My first lost soul whom I interviewed today is a man call Alan Carter. Who has had various types of accommodation over the last thirty years on and off. For the last four years has had one permanent address of his own.
Alan was born in Coventry 48 years ago and has always had a problem with drugs and alcohol from an early age. He has been in a number of bed and breakfasts. Plus a large number of shared hostel accommodation. Amazingly he has had 15 permanent bedsits and lost everyone of them because of his problems. Which over the years had grown out of control. It's the type of story that is heard again and again. Then ten years ago when he first tried to get help. He was placed into a hostel and after a while put on the Greenwich housing list. His first permanent council flat was unsuitable because there was no access to the services this man required and the help he did receive once given the flat was short lived. So he ended up drinking once again and living in a flat without a bed. It was full of empty beer cans, there was no electric or gas and he had arrears for water and rent. It took another charitable agency to see that this man indeed had problems and they set about getting this man the help he needed and a more suitable address. Alan has now lived at his present address for four years and still receives help when needed. The fact that this man was given just a roof and limited help only helps justify the need in helping people with aftercare. Sustaining tenancies are important and just giving someone a roof over their head is just not enough. Alan has now been drink free for six months which is further progresson on the ladder to sucess.

Prevention better than the cure

What a day yesterday. For once I was left speechless on the radio. It left me all flustered and all a quiver but seriously yesterday was just one of those days when I was not having a good going day but I thought I would write what I had to say today.
Many homeless people who have ended up on the streets of our cities develop problems of drug addiction or alcoholism and some even develop illnesses. Who is to blame is it the person that becomes homeless or societies or is it a government and a welfare state that doesn't work properly.
Preventive measures for helping people at the start of their homelessness are low. It's only recently that people have actually been saying prevention should be one of the main focuses for ending homelessness. As many people know I don't agree with John Bird founder of the big issue most of the time but I have to admit that I do agree with his prevention is better than the cure. In the next few weeks I am trying to interview several people that have been homeless and had several places to live but in each case lost their place because there was not the right help or services. I am trying to show that if you don't have the right kind of services even those that have just arrived on the street can become long term homeless and the problem of homelessness only gets worse not better and I am also trying to show the same about people in temporary accommodation and that while waiting for permanent accommodation letting them stagnate is the wrong way forward wouldn't time be better spent teaching life skills because the revolving cycle of homelessness has to stop sooner rather than later.

23 November, 2006

Housing and homelessness

Since the mid sixties there has always been talk about housing and homelessness and how to remedy the problem. And today we are still talking about it. The fact that there is a national housing crisis and a homeless problem that on the face of it seems to be being tackled. But is it? It seems that although people from several organizations and the Government talk about these things we never seem to see the real outcome and does Joe public know exactly know what's going on?
When councils sold off housing stocks why wasn't they allowed to spend it on new social housing? Oh and wasn't homelessness supposed to be cured within twenty years some 40 years ago?
The fact that we now have people stuck in hostels, in bed and breakfast, sofa surfing, squatting is just another twist is the homeless saga and at the rate it is rising it could reach a million in fifteen years. Governments always come up with facts and figures on housing and homelessness but for a country with the resources we have, should we be still talking about it and should the Government be patting themselves on the back? I did read Ruth Kelly's speech and to me that is what it amounted to. To cure homelessness and to stop me writing about it, more has to be done. Prevention is better than the cure but for the many that are stuck in an endless cycle of homelessness. We need to do that little bit extra. We need to keep making homelessness become a thing of the past. Which at present it is most definitely not. Homelessness today is not just about having a roof over your head it's about learning the skills of life but it's also about learning to live in what people call the real world, society I think you call it but I do sometimes wonder.

22 November, 2006

On Monday the 27 November I shall be on the BBC radio with a geezer called Alan Sampson the chief executive from shelter. No doubt he will be talking about families and the 60.000 housing shortfall. I will be listening intently so I can answer questions from my own point of view and I do have my own opinions and you'll probably hear them but I think my being homeless has a different slant and a large say on the way I think. Homeless people do not get many chances to say things that matter to them. It's this thing of thinking because you are homeless you are in fact a second class citizen or not a member of today's society.
Facts and figures are all I seem to hear from politicians and such but as I know from my own experiences that's not all that counts. I read Ruth Kelly's speech the other day. The case she makes for tackling homelessness is good but has the government gone far enough or have they in fact just taken homelessness off the streets and created an even bigger problem in what's now being touted as hidden homeless. After all aren't hostels supposed to be a stop gap to permanent housing.
The housing problem all over the country adds to the problems off the homeless. I agree that we have to stop people repeatedly becoming homeless. The Revolving door syndrome as it is known. So shouldn't we be concentrating on housing support once people get housing and the question how long should the support last I think depends on the individual case because every case is different. The thing of how much it cost should be irrelevant as we are dealing with lives and doing it now will definitely save money in the future.
the real question i think now being asked is, is there really an answer to the homeless problem? Homelessness as been around as long as prostitution and if you think about it Jesus was made homeless for a night or two and had to get temporary accommodation.

Homeless any spare change

How often do you see someone in your town or city sitting there with a sign saying homeless and hungry? I see it everyday most places I go but did you know it's not the easiest of things to do. Because it's soul destroying and demeaning. I should know I did it for many years just to feed my drug habit( along with a bit of shop lifting.) I am so glad those days are over but when I see it now I stop and talk to the people begging and most of the time they are genuine but as we all know there are some who are not. Christmas is just round the corner and no doubt we will all see a rise in people begging but should we give well my own train of thought is it is up to the individual but we must not forget that just because they are begging and look rough, they are not part of our society because they are. Most people that are homeless are there because they have problems from simply being homeless to drugs, alcohol or mental health issues or just simply health problems. When you get help for those problems there is still the problem of housing. Every government since time knows when has had this problem of homelessness but forty years ago a film called Cathy come home showed the real perils of homelessness . Homeless hostels and organizations sprang to life. The original problem of drugs and drink at first where a problem because no one would take on these problems. It was only in the eighties that hostels began to accept people with problems. Still today the problem of people with severe mental health problems have not been addressed as there seems to be only a few places available for this type of problem. Homelessness has several faces today but it's still a problem

15 November, 2006

Back on song and still smiling

Yesterday I brought myself a new camera so I can now go out at night and take photo's once more. Things are looking rosy in my garden right now but as always things change and progress has to have a say or you make a mistake and things seem to go backwards. It's at times like this you doubt yourself, I often do but I don't let it stop me from doing what I am doing. I used to be this guy that never finished anything but now I try my best to. Which leads me to what I am doing for the next couple of weeks. I think I'm doing some radio work on BBC radio 4 interviewing and debating homelessness. Frightening isn't it me interviewing, God who thought this one up must have their head examined but I think I will manage to cope or should I say I thinks the BBC will have to cope with me as I have been told I have a real annoying sunny disposition but that's me. I enjoy life to the fullest. I don't have the perfect life but who does? What's wrong with a smile anyway?

10 November, 2006

Do I have an ultra motive for what I do? I think so . To give someone the chance to see that drugs and homelessness is not all there is in anyone's future is a big plus for me as I spent so long missing out on life, now life misses out on me. I am so busy doing things I love and I am now trying new things like art and writing songs and music that I have no clue as to what I am doing yet but will get the hang of things sooner rather than later. I do have one song recorded by Don crown who wrote the music http://www.myspace.com/doncrown. It's called when a child is born ( a song of love). So things are looking up although this year my blog has been slow due to commitments and pressure I put myself under. My agenda for this month I do believe is to interview more homeless people and get their stories so far. Life is full of little suprises but suprising yourself is the most unexpected.


Do I have an ultra motive for what I do? I think so . To give someone the chance to see that drugs and homelessness is not all there is in anyone's future is a big plus for me as I spent so long missing out on life, now life misses out on me. I am so busy doing things I love and I am now trying new things like art and writing songs and music that I have no clue as to what I am doing yet but will get the hang of things sooner rather than later. I do have one song recorded by don crown who wrote the music http://www.myspace.com/doncrown. So things are looking up although this year my blog has been slow due to commitments and pressure in put myself under. My agenda for this month I do believe is to interview more homeless people and get their stories so far. Life is full of little suprises but suprising yourself is the most unexpected.

09 November, 2006

Fair rents is it that complicated

Last night I went on one of my question sprees asking people what they thought affordable housing really meant. Most people thought it was being able to buy housing at affordable prices but because of today's housing prices rises it wasn't viable. So why does the government keep on about it and why don't they make it easier for people to buy instead of these developers making huge profits from the working class. Some thought it was the governments way of dealing with unsocial housing, whatever that meant but I was outside the opera when I asked the question. Mostly people wanted to ask if there was any government ideas about fair rents. To me this comes under the heading of affordable housing. Here in London getting a flat at a fair rent is virtually impossible and with house prices rising by about 2.5 every quarter buying one is getting much harder for everyone. So the only option for most is to rent but with landlords seeing the opportunity to make money do so. So my question is can the government make good on their promise of affordable housing by putting a ceiling on rents. Just an idea because this would not only make it easier for people that have jobs but may make it easier for homeless people to get much needed accommodation. Anyway these are just my thoughts

08 November, 2006

What does affordable housing really mean and who is it directly aimed at? I think it's aim at buyers like first time buyers that have an income that supports their life style, after all if I could afford my own house I would jump at buying my own home but what about the 6.7 million people that live on run down council estates that cannot afford to buy? Is this the case of the poorer members of our society being treated as second class citizens and not being considered properly.. When the conservative brought in the right to buy schemes they said everyone should be able to buy their home and it was thought to be a real good thing but as with everything else things go wrong. House prices rise, inflation rises people lose jobs due to redundancies ect. Before you know it you can't meet the mortgage repayment and boom you've lost your house. Which of course happened under the conservatives. Questions need to be asked now that it looks as if house prices will rise once again and people are being priced out of the housing market but affordable housing should also include rented accommodation things like fairer rents, more council housing and private renting and should their be a maximum rent
that can be charged. Like in London a one bed roomed flat costs 250 pound a week in some areas that are now being touted as the place to live. Is that a fair rent and who can afford that? Not a nurse or care worker or cleaner. If you are homeless well what chance have you got? Anyway what do I know about these things after all I have my own rented home.

03 November, 2006

Another year nearly over

Another year nearly over and it seems I only blinked and really nothing has changed. We are still talking about homelessness and hidden homeless. Funny thing is I meet all these MPs and talked to them but I don't think they really understand the real problem because they haven't experienced it and it's just another problem to be solved the best and cheapest way possible. Like interest rates homelessness is now on the increase again and in areas where you wouldn't expect homelessness to occur but saying that becoming homeless can happen to anyone rich or poor. I myself have had a few problems with mounting debts but I now have them sorted but it's the little things like this that a large percent of ex-homeless people face and sometimes cannot manage. The staggering fact three out of every homeless person that is housed becomes homeless again needs to be looked at. I believe that simple life skills are needed like cooking, cleaning, paying bills and general health things are really important besides normal education. Things do have to change as they say and we have to find more ways to prevent people from becoming homeless and once they are,we have to re-educate people in the simple things which most long term homeless people lose. I hope from next week to write more often as there are a lot of things in the pipeline and as Christmas draws closer the issue of homelessness becomes louder for a short while. don't forget the crisis christmas puddings are now on sale

13 October, 2006

Jamies top 5 policies

1 The first policy would be to eat the good food guide as Jamie Oliver seems to have a big foot hold in the food guide industry and besides his style of cooking makes my mouth water.
2 To introduce enforced two day potato couchism as too many people are running and exercising. Not enough enjoying the odd burb and fart after meals. I'd also make it ilegal for anyone to run or cycle along side the Thames and on pavements. What's wrong with a couple of days lazing about and being as a couch potato?
3 Stop Politicians from using archaic words and long winded white papers that can be done simply and easily explained by using plain English. I am like so many members of the public common as muck and like things straight forward and simple.
4 Stop exPrime ministers and exMPs from thinking they can become stars of the future by appearing in things like big brother or come dancing. Don't they realize we've seen enough of them when they where in office.
5 Introduce instant interactive TV where we can really say what we think of our government without being deleted or beeped out because politicians only do what they think we want. Not actually what we want. Actually wouldn't it be great not to hear them at all until they said something we wanted to hear.
These are my top 5 policies

Thinking again

I was having a cigarette and ear wigging on a conversation about people being stupid and suddenly thought if only they knew how stupid I used to think I was. Listening to the conversation I had what I call a role reversal when actually the person talking was talking total rubbish because she didn't really know the person she was talking about or the real situation. It was just idle gossip whilst having a cigarette. That's what struck me the most how fact can be expanded upon and be turned into gossip. It's like reading a newspaper and seeing a headline that doesn't really say what has happened or is just an article that's sensationalism at it's best. If we took everything we heard or read to be gospel what a mess the world would truly be in. So I started thinking about David Cameron and what's been said about his style of leadership. My thoughts are that this is the new labour we voted for in the first place. This is the young Tony Blair so is there anything really new in what he's saying? Not really as we have heard it all before only this time it seems to be someone with charisma trying to blindside us into thinking he's the one to make sweeping changes. Take for instance what he wants to do with the NHS, poverty, the welfare state and education all this costs and what he's proposing the figures just don't add up. I only deal in pounds and pence every week but when you have to balance books of billions of pounds you are allowed a little leeway but even my rough calculations say that we will have to borrow more and instead of a tax reduction tax would have to increase by at least three pence in the pound and I was the one that thought I was stupid

Must be dreaming again

This morning was a bit strange and surreal as I switched on my TV to get the news for my daily in take of comedy. Low and behold there was this strange man that I knew from the hansard society, sitting there being interviewed about political interaction and technology. I had to take a swift drink of my hot coffee which by the way burnt my lips just to take all this in. It was the first time I had seen Ross on TV and what a strange picture I was receiving it could have been just me first thing in the morning because I have searched the BBC website and I still can't find the interview so I must have been dreaming.

Common sense

I am the type of guy now, that thinks about things more clearly than most except when it comes to my girlfriend. I mean who would have thought that when she said be totally honest with me does this skirt make me look big and I said it does a little, she'd get upset with me after all she the one that said be totally honest but when it comes government and politics I do have my own views and opinions on certain subjects as I think I showed yesterday when I met some people in the parliamentary building yesterday to talk about drugs and homelessness. Common sense tells me that not everything I say or propose will be taken on board but putting my experiences and what I think should happen on the subjects drugs and homelessness out there is just as important as politicians making laws. After all there's nothing better than hearing from someone who has been there and come out the other side. It's only common sense. So when I hear people discussing the war in Iraq and stuff I do listen and have ideas and views that some people will disagree with but that's what we call freedom of speech.

12 October, 2006

Who to blame

Things seem to go round and round in circles quite often in this world of ours like this government saying the same things it did when it first got in office but I guess we all take that for granted as previous governments do the same but what is it that makes us elect governments on promises we know they will not keep. Yesterday when I was listening to a flustered PM at question time answer questions on the NHS and cut backs. I suddenly knew it was cut backs not modernization that was the driving force behind everything that was going on in the NHS. If you look at the facts that 3% of the nation cannot get a doctor. More and more hospitals are closing needed units due to under funding by government. Everything is so target driven that the public hasn't a clue what's going on. We used to have the best hospitals and the best service possible for a nationally funded institute. What happened. It surely didn't deteriorate over night. Here's what I think, we elected these people to improve are NHS which was working but it was a bit over budget. So instead of trying to improve on the losing part someone came up with the idea of a total revamp and called it modernization. What I think is all hospitals have to keep up with new ideas and medicines and have to keep their hospitals free of germs so what was needed was only new building and new equipment. Which should have been fazed out but due to lack of foresight and vast under spending we are in the position we are in. Who do you blame I know who I do.

11 October, 2006

Government figures on homelessness

When the government say they have reduced the number of rough sleepers and that on any one night in England only five hundred people sleep out. I always smile and think now where did they get that number from. Which evil massaging fairy did they get them off because I'm pretty certain that it's a whimsical figure at best and they have been sold another tall diplomatic story. Although I have to admit there had been a reduction in rough sleeps over the last couple of years. I would say that now we are definitely seeing a homeless rise of about 15% and by the end of this year I would expect that to rise to 20% as people find it harder to get accommodation. It's not just addicts and such that are finding themselves without a roof over their head. Its everyday working people. It seems because there are things in place for families. Single homeless people are at a disadvantage because of the word single. It is assumed that single people because they have only themselves to look after are not a high priority but I beg to differ. This governments saying is that everyone should have the right to be safe and have a place they can call home. I am asking is this the case? As it seems there has been a mad rush to get people of the streets over the last couple of years. Is it that the government want to be seen doing something about a problem that is on the face of it is years old and should be dealt with or is it that the Olympics are just around the corner and homeless is an eyesore that should not be seen on our streets especially as the world will be watching.

A view from another side

Living in a hostel is just like living in a single room with lots of noise and it can become a very lonely life especially when you're trying to rebuild your life. You may think it very strange with forty or fifty other people living there and you may think it stupid of someone to shut themselves off from the world for weeks at a time, but this is what people with problems do. They lock themselves away rather than face their problems head on and they become so used to being reclusive it becomes a part of their lives. So when they do eventually get a place of their own they find they can cope to an extent but they cannot cope without the daily routines they have made. So loneliness is sometimes the killer blow that seems to get to some people and then things start to deteriorate and the spiral of homelessness begins again and this is just one of the factors of homelessness. There are so many things that cause one to be homeless the only thing I can say for certain is IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU

My very own opinion

It’s funny but this morning I had couple of those rare thoughts after watching the news for about two minutes.
It seems that even after two world wars we still don’t get it. Will we ever learn that war and violence are not the way forward. I make a lot of noise about murder and a life sentance should mean life but this is a different kettle of fish because we made these great big atom bombs that could bring about the end of the world as we know it and then we had the cheek to say its okay they are merely a deterrent no one else will be stupid enough to build ones bigger and better. guess what they did and if that was not enough they built lots. My question is why build so many? The second was did we really think that nobody else would build them? Because it does seem that way. We go on and on about the state of the world. Yet we spend more and more on tools of war instead of trying to elevate the suffering and poverty in the world. Now we have North Korea building and testing them and they are not a rich country at all. In fact I think they get some form of aid from around the world. How can we justify them not having the bomb when we have them? I know people will say but they live in a dictatorship which is unstable but is it really? The other thing people can say are they spend most of their money on making these weapons but isn’t Korea rebuilding as well. The only way to stop other countries from building bombs is stop building them ourselves. which seems to me to be just plain common sense after all it just takes one mad man to press the button and there's no time to say goodbye.
The other thought was how can this government say they are doing fine. When everything around them is falling to bits? Our NHS is under such a strain that it is virtually on the verge of collapse. Our welfare state is also under such strain it will surely crack. My question is why? Why do we always follow the Americans in solving problems that work over there. Is it because it’s so big? When we elect a government I think we expect them to think of new plans, have new ideas but for this country. Not some crazy schemes that will put us back in the dark ages. It’s funny but years ago Australia and America were full of people from convicts to pilgrims and they are doing better than we are. The people of this country are now beginning to suffer the years of neglect by previous governments. Poverty in this country is still rife. We still have run down estates and now we have crime at it highest level although this government would have us believe that it is in fact down. how can it be when we have more murders more street crime. How can we tell other countries how to cure poverty if we can’t cure our own? How can we say this is Great Britain when it’s just plain and simply Britain? It’s only my opinion but it seems to make sense to me.
I was thinking back to when I was on the streets the other day and some of the things that I do remember were that I used to think people were just ignorant when I used to sit and beg first thing in the morning. Some people passing would slyly tap there pockets and smile at me just to let me know that they had change but were not going to give it to me. Some would tell me to get a job and I had quite a few call me names. It was only in the later stages of my addiction that I began to see what a mess I was and to tell the truth I would not have given me anything either. There I was every morning virtually in the same spot at the same time always needing that first ten pound to make me normal. I find that quite ridiculous now but back then I had become so dependent on drugs and other people that it was the only way for me to be a normal human being but even that wore off. Strange dont you think? Oh I know I breathed and did all the things like eating and stuff but if you can imagine a robot that needs to be recharged every time before it can work. Well, that was me like clockwork. Its funny but I can sit and smile about it all now but when I see someone else doing the exact same as what I did it makes me realize just how lucky I am even though I have so many regrets. I don't dwell on things too often as I'd probably be suicidal if I did. I just think about the mistakes and go from there. I often wonder where I would be now if I hadn't changed but thinking forward seems to be the way my mind works these days. I am dependent on myself and the best thing I think is that even though I think I have reached my limits I always go further So I suppose not knowing is a good thing. None of this would have been possible if I hadn't been able to get into college to be edumicated

09 October, 2006

What I believe

When this government made it possible for homeless people to vote> I found it hard to believe, that as a homeless person, I had the same rights as anyone else - and that includes questioning politicians.
"I have views and opinions and I want all the candidates to listen to what this means to homeless people across the country." this should be the right of everyone homeless or not

Jamie for PM

For days I have been sitting in doors thinking about things and what I would do if I where prime minister. Would I have gone to war? I don't think so although I would have thought of some devious plan to get rid of Saddam because he was one of the worst dictators and he killed innocent people even his own.
One certain thing that I would have done would have been to eradicate poverty in Britain because I strongly believe that poverty is at the root of most of Britain's social problems and we do in fact have, a have and have not class of society. While we argue over race and whether a Muslim woman should or should not cover her face. We seem to be missing the real problems and we are even now creating ones of race and religion. Why doesn't the PM stand up and say enough is enough and get back running the country as it should be run. Is it that he knows the Labour party is now on it's final leg of government. If I was in government and I was the PM I would still run the country and govern to the best of my ability. If you look back at the Labour parties time in office can you say with certainty that they have done well. Me, I personally don't think so. Besides going to war I don't see a massive improvement in the country. I see the issue of schools coming to haunt them also I see the NHS problems becoming bigger and the arguments becoming louder. The problem I have with this government is how can you plough money into things that are either not working as they should or how can you under spend on things this country needs. Sorry but I am honest enough to say I would put 1p on tax and another half percent on vat. It is because previous governments dare not do these things that we have problems now. Any one voting for me yet?

Musing once again

Well in the last two weeks I have been to Manchester and Bournemouth and it does seem to me that all these politicians hear what you're saying but that seems to be all. Once you start trying to give positive solutions to a problem they always ask what's its going to cost us? Which does annoy me no end because if the country has severe problems now surely trying to do positive things now only eases the tax payers burdens in the future. One thing that keeps coming to the fore is the government saying of every one must be equal. Isn't it true that in todays society there will always be a minority that reach a certain level in education for example and cannot go any further although they keep on trying? Is it right for these people to be excluded from any government thinking? Me, I was once a member of the socailly excluded club am to a cetain degree i still am being homeless and an addict has it's stigma's even though I haven't been homeless or touched drugs for a while. This year I will keep on trying to make politicains listen eventually they will see I am not going to go away and maybe like i am doing now meeting up and really discussing the problems faced by homeless people and people in temporary accommodation which is becoming more and more permanant. Everyday I see people who are stuck in hostels and such and have become disalusioned about their future. What I think is to give someone hope for the future and then have to waste years in limbo not knowing if you have a home or some form of education that can benifit all is a travesty. life is short enough as it is but not to be able to live it to its fullest. Well?

22 September, 2006

I am always thinking about the effects of government decisions especially when it comes to homelessness, There seems to be a marked rise in homelessness amongst the black and Asian community. This government say that on any one night in Britain there are only a small number of people sleeping rough but due to the influx of people from eastern countries the number has risen sharply but it's not all down to this. The number of actual homeless people has been steadily rising over the last few years even though the government had made great strides to eradicate the problem but how can you get rid of a problem the is in fact ages old. Some people think that by giving homeless people a roof over their head it is enough. The question now being asked is what about the people that have been housed in temporary accommodation. The fact that there is a large number of people with health and social problems is a worrying fact. Is the way forward learning and skills? My question is even after going through the process of learning what steps can be taken to rid people of the obvious stigma that still follows them around? This weekend I hope to talk to MPs and find out what they think of the problems faced by homeless people. The fact that becoming homeless can happen to anyone is another worry imagine going through a black hole with no end in site. It's only then you can get an insight into the problems that surround homelessness.

07 September, 2006

I am back raring to go it's controversy

They say everyone needs a rest from whatever they do day to day. Me, I haven’t touched a computer for a couple of weeks. Not because I didn’t want to but for over a year I have written things in my blog and I didn’t want to repeat myself this year. I thought now was a good time to take stock and really look around me and listen to what people are doing and saying. It seems to me that a lot has changed around me or is it that I have changed and I am now able to see things from other perspectives, not just my own. Over the last couple of weeks the news has been about Romania and people flocking to this country for work the government put the figure at around 64,000 a year but in truth it will exceed the 100,000 so do we let so many people in? Now that’s a tough question because who has the right to stop anyone from bettering their lives in which ever country they choose?
I think the bigger question should be, can we as a country cope? I don’t believe so. Everyday on the streets of the capital we have people sleeping rough from other counties more and more are arriving but they are willing to work. What happens when work dries up or we have an employment collapse or monetary problem? I have heard the arguments about there is not enough work for the Brits that were born and bred here but this is untrue as most of the jobs these people take are the ones that Brits wont. It’s funny because this argument has been with us before and seems to rage on and on. In the sixties we had people from Asia and Jamaica in quite large numbers but we coped just fine and we had a rising population then. My worry would be health and benefits and education. At the moment we have a health service that is near to collapse and no matter what the government say or how much money they spend on it. It still seems to be dying on its feet. Benefits at the moment don’t match inflation or the real cost of living and we do have a problem with poverty. This government and previous governments like to tell us every chance they get that things are improving but they should wake up and smell the coffee. Education I think nationally is way lower now than it used to be. not so many schools these days. As a country progresses then everything I think must progress with it. In the fifties and sixties we didn’t have computers and we didn’t have calculators. We had to use our brains. Today we have all the mod cons and rely I think too much on machines to do most of our work for us as in the classroom not enough emphasis is put on real education that’s what I think. Teachers might not agree with me but if you look at society today and how different it is.
Hey I’m old and have lived a sort of life but someone once told me everyone has a talent for something the hardest thing to do is find it.

12 August, 2006

Here I am just in case you are wondering where I have got to. Things are okay for me at the moment but that's because I am working and don't have much time to think about things. I wake get ready for work, take a stroll to get to work, do what I have to and then it's home to go to bed and to do all that I did the day before but this time hopefully a little better. It would be very very boring if the outcome of everyday was the same. Wouldn't it? Life can be so dull and tiring if you don't do what you enjoy doing. Me I hate working where I am working but it's a means to an end. I like doing something with my days and I would love to say I enjoy everything about my life but there are quite a few things left for me to do before I can say that, as you can guess this is what people call normality. How boring

02 August, 2006

Funny how things go

It's funny how thing happen in life . Me, I went to a thingy at south bank and I met such a beautiful woman I just can't seem to get her out of my mind. I just can't explain it but As it happens ( hello sue) . I sold her one of my poetry books. It just leads me to believe that you do not have the control over your destiny as you think. Would I like to meet this woman again? Yes, most definitely) and tell her what I feel? Not on your life. Hey I'm just a guy and who knows where it will lead? Marriage, divorce? I think it' just part of lives mystery. I think as I said I am now having dreams about her, is just one of those things but what if it's not? . Many things are possible in this life and if you realize we have only just one life to live. Then I guess It's just the right now that really starts the balling rolling. I find it strange that I can relate to this. if you recall I have been in a state of non conformity for so many years. It's just that everything in the world that I am used to is so different. I used to see things see as tough and harsh and immovable, its just not so anymore. Funny how life can change in the blink of an eye.

27 July, 2006

Another day but no dollars

Nothing surprises me any more. Today I went to the social security to see if I could get a loan to tied me over till I get my first weeks pay. I waited as per usual for a hour and a half to be told that I had one days income support due, which doesn’t help me in the slightest. When I tried to explain that with no money I could not get electric or gas or even food and I could not get to work. They told me to get a sub from my agency and as I had already gave them a letter which stated no subs were given this leaves me thinking that no matter what you try to do, something always holds you back. As you can guess I am in a stinking mood and tonight is my night off. I'm working four nights on and three days off. It’s not that I mind going without I am used to that but you’d think that once you get a job there would be some kind of help you can get till that first week or months pay as some people don’t get paid till the end of the month. I feel as if I have been kicked in the teeth and keep getting kicked when i'm down. Well I have this crazy idea that I can sell ten of my poetry books which will get me to work and get me all the stuff I need till next week. So if you see someone reading poetry on the South Bank in the next few days. Do not worry it’s only me going nuts. Just say hi.
I haven’t had much time to write this week, what with working and things but I hope to catch up in the next few days.

21 July, 2006

Another challenge

It’s funny but everyday that passes by I am so glad that I can remember what and where I was. Walking along by the river Thames on my way to work tonight I realised that there have been too many forgotten days where nothing much was accomplished. I think that I have changed those days of nothing, to days where something does happen. Maybe I make someone smile or help someone in some minute way but at least I am doing things. Last night I did my first hard nights work I was order picking at a large distribution firm and boy that was hard graft and I’m doing the same tonight. To me it's just another challenge to get used to working. It’s not what I want to do but it’s a job. Working for an agency sort of goes against my better judgment. If you look at it logically agencies get paid for the work you do because they found you the job and boy every hour you work the more they get. To me that’s unfair. I am strong believer in a fair days pay for a fair days work. But at least I am getting the hang of working but I have been told to stop being so happy though.
Well that’s another day over and my body is aching so it’s to bed for me. Maybe I will eventually get the job I want. I will keep on trying though as i am not the type to give in easily.

19 July, 2006

What a shame

I'm always going out late at night and talking to people that sleep rough or I'm visiting hostels during the day but nothing can prepare anyone for the sights that you sometimes see. Tonight I found a man who had soiled himself and was just lying there in the middle of the pavement, crying and blind drunk. The smell was overwhelming but it was something I thought ought to be addressed. So I got some friends of mine to get me some clothes and clean underwear from places they knew, god knows where, but they did. We got the man bathed at the local Salvation Army center and dressed him in the clothes. The saddest part is probably tomorrow or the day after things will just be the same for him.
I think that when outreach workers who where supposed to find the most vunerable were reduced to what they are they are now. The vital link that was needed to reach the homeless has now been lost and the trust that was built up between homeless organizations seems to be disappearing. Most homeless people don't trust organizations such as favorite. which is crisis because as they put it, being actually homeless has now become a secondary issue. Everyone expects something that most of us can't give and that is our time. We are just busy trying to survive from day to day. Anything more is a bonus. It's funny but I lean towards agreeing with them because although homeless charities are now searching for other means to help alleviate the homeless problem, the fact that in doing so they seem to have forgotten their intent. Their intentions are good but they seem to have lost sight of what homeless really means. It's not just that you haven't got a roof over your heads. Simply, the fact that its so soul destroying and no one gets it unless you have been there. Being homeless isn't the problem. It's the things that go with it and then when you think it's all over there's the stigma that stays glued for a quite while longer. Too really make an impact I feel that homelessness needs to be shown for what it really is and that is to show all aspects of homelessness from start to finish without the gloss over.

14 July, 2006


You hear and see things that sometimes you think how can this happen in this day and age but two nights ago I met a man called William from Bradford. He used to be an area manager managing six pubs for a local brewery. Then he had a stroke and became I suppose unemployable and life was just about manageable he was still receiving sick pay from his employer but he was finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. Then he had another stroke and over the course of time things went from bad to worse. He lost his flat which was privately rented and was told by his council that he couldn't be helped so he moved and found himself in London homeless. Now he's been here for six months and still has to visit the hospital for check ups and so forth and has all the relevant documents. He went to an advice center to see about getting accommodation and was told in a round about way that because he only had a minor health problem and he could get about, it would be very difficult getting him housed or into a hostel and that if he had a drug or alcohol or even a mental health issue he could probably be found somewhere quickly. He's a diabetic as well. Which should put him on top of any list. So how ill do you have to become before you are a priority? This is the problem I am hearing about here in London. If you are just homeless it is much harder to get a place to live. The government are saying on one hand everyone entitled to have somewhere to live but it does seem there are guidelines which does not include people without problems. this to me is a great disadvantage.

Having a Jamie day

I was thinking about all the tired and glum faces that I see nearly everyday on my way to wherever I'm going. Why are people like this I sometimes think? It's not solely due to lack of sleep or sex is it? I mean I could understand it if you're not getting any(that's both)? Many a time in the morning and I have looked at them and just to be polite said good morning, how are you today and got a conversation started. It seems to me that we have lost the art of conversation. Is this because of the way society is today? Do we have this fear of what might happen? How many of us see the same people day in and day out or even sit next to the same person on the train to and from work for years and have not said one word to them? Wouldn't it be good to put a smile on someone's face by just saying good morning, nice day to day. So here's what I suggest is on your way home forget about what could happen just weigh up the situation and say what a nice day it is and if you're sitting next to the same person as per usual just say hello how was your day or just say I'm having a Jamie day. Get a conversation going. Maybe you might make a new friend? Who knows? Where all this brain wave activity of mine will lead.

Going from the ridiculous to plain daft

We must have a real good sense of humor in this country because I know I would be up in arms if I got fined for dropping a sweet in the street but it seems this not just a one off. Strange things are happening all over Britain. So if you hear of anymore please feel free to comment.
As I was saying yesterday what you can achieve with the right help are things that are literally life changing. The homeless charity crisis have an award scheme called changing lives it gives grants to people that wouldn't necessary get the help they need anywhere else. They help people with college fees or things they need to get a head start. Starting a small business which as most people know is one of the hardest things to do but thanks to the support of Barclays they have made things possible for so many people like myself who without their help I wouldn't have been able to go to college or for the man in Reading start his own gardening business. I am truly grateful for the help I received personally. When you have had nothing and suddenly you have the help and advice that's needed it can change everything about your life.

13 July, 2006


Everyone has their limits and what one person can achieve is not the same as the next because all of us are different. Knowing your own limits is one thing but achieving things beyond that is something else. When I see all the talented people that I see from day to day living on the streets I get so deflated. I know all these charities and organizations try to help the homeless by having such things as learning centers and day centers where you can go to learn or do art ect: but the question is how can they look for accommodation and learn at the same time? That's the question I am always asking. Should we have places that the homeless can go at night, just like night school say from 5pm till 9pm. When I am out at night it always seems that between these hours it's what I call a dead zone. Where nothing much happens. You see the homeless sometimes sitting on benches or in shop doorways waiting for night to fall so they can make their beds and try to get some sleep. I been there myself so I know what I am talking about. Some people think that the homeless don't want to do things for themselves but I beg to differ not only would you see a rise in the people that attend these classes but I think you would see more homeless people that were once thought to have no chance, start to show just how talented they really are. I set my self one goal when I first came of drugs and that was to be able to read and write but I have achieved much much more. Who knows what I can do? I have yet to reach my own limits. Nothing is impossible but things are just hard to get if there's no one helping.

11 July, 2006

Am I talking sense on my soap box

There are things in this world we can do and cannot. So when it comes to the things can't do why aren't trying to do them? It seems to me that we just don't seem to be able to do them or as in most cases it's too expensive. If that is the case why do we spend billions of pounds to put men on the moon but we can't cure poverty in a world that's rich in most things or why can we can spend billions of pounds building these great big nuclear plants? Which turn out to be quite dangerous but why can't we can't cure homelessness or poverty? The thing that keeps popping into my mind is why do we spend all this money on things that either can harm us badly or that are just no use to us at this present moment in time? Are we secretly planning international housing estates on the moon or something or will the moon be turned in to one huge international prison colony?
Forgive me but you have to remember I have been in a my own world for quite a number years due to my old habits, drugs and drink to be precise and suddenly I don't need them anymore. I've woken up to all these new ideas. So me not being in my hazy world has sort of left me with so many questions and the most the important I think is. Why is life not more important than flying to the moon or curing aids and cancer? Shouldn't we be curing what ails this planet now instead of spending billions on bigger war machines and going further into space because make no mistake. This planet is dying and so are millions of people from hunger and pollution and sickness? It seems to me that while we are gallivanting around the universe trying to find other forms of life that might kill us. We are letting ourselves and our planet die slowly anyway.
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I went to the west end to see if I could find some one who has been missing for somewhile now as I was walking down the strand when I bumped into some old faces and began telling me how manic it had become at the soup handouts. So I went along to see for myself. What I saw surprised even me.
This government says there are only a few sleeping rough on any one given night. Well here are at least one hundred homeless at just three soup runs in London's west end.
Then on the way home I spotted a young girl asleep on a mattress outside a shop in londons The Strand. The big double mattress had sheets and stuff and I suddenly had this picture of London being the poverty capital. It doesn't really matter what this government say they have done or are doing. We can see nothing is changing in fact things are only getting worse. The question is why? Now homeless people that are actually sleeping rough are saying, what good is education It wont get us a roof over our heads. All it means is we will be able to read the no vacancy signs. So why concentrate on that when we are homeless and we live by using our wits. Isn't that a sign that we are not as thick as two short planks?
Most homeless people I have spoken to, are angry because they feel they are being left out in the cold once again and soon their voices will once again become a whisper. My own feelings are that now too much is being done in one direction and yes education is important but I have to agree that being educated will not put a roof over anyone's head. It's in this area we should put our efforts. It's like poverty I believe you can't cure poverty around the world till you cure it at home. Strange don't you think that in a country like ours we have poverty and homelessness.

No electric

Some weekend. When things go wrong in my house, oh boy do they. No electric for over 14 hours on Saturday and then I nearly fell down the hole which is right outside my front door. Now they're are back to dig up the pavement some more just like gremlins because they say it was only a temporary fix when they came before and repaired it. So the last time. It's another night of drills and bad language wouldn't it have been cheaper and easier to fix it properly the first time? Posted by Picasa

07 July, 2006

Another minority group

Well, after going for a night out on the town and being chatted up by a Freddie Mercury look a like at a gay pub in Vauxhall. I managed to get away unscathed. My friend who I went with and who is gay wanted to go out and doesn’t like going out alone. So I went with him. It’s funny but people’s perception of gay men and women is one of phobia because of stories about aids and stuff. It’s just like anything else in this world one story of aids turns into a nightmare tale and it gets bigger and bigger every time it’s told. This in the case of gay people leads to fear. After talking with a few people and trying to get an even perspective. The conclusion is, here are group of people that just wanted to live their lives their way and because they fall in love with someone from the same sex they are put in to this category as being unfit and strange. The norm is that men should love women and visa versa but isn’t love supposed to be blind to colour and gender and doesen't everyone have the right to live thier live's they way they want? I have to admit when I was young queer bashing was the norm and I did take part but I didn’t understand things then. Now I see things for what they are. I think it’s called life.

05 July, 2006

I have thought about several things since I have kind of gotten some form of what people might call sanity since my heyday as drug addict and homeless man. With one thing and another I had yet to face the thing that had held me back for so long. Tonight I think I did when I told a group of addicts that life is too short to just float along in the bus lane. Which didn't make much sense to me at the time.How did I reach my this part of my life? To be truthful I haven't the faintest. I just know that life asleep to the hurt that one feels is not the answer to most people's prayers. Yes it is the short term answer. Drink and drug do in fact make you forget but only for the time being, but like the governments new deals it is only a short term fix. How can anyone depend on anything but themselves? Me, I can only recount from my own experiences. The trouble I had trying to get people to take me seriously was like capturing grains of sand and keeping a whole handful once you had dug deeply on a beach. Sometimes I think what the hell am I doing still blogging away and sometimes getting nowhere? Me I think its my time to say this is what I went through but if we did this or that then it would make a difference. But what does make a difference that's the question I keep asking myself.

03 July, 2006

My advert

Ex drug addict and homeless man seeks full time employment or should I write old codger and ex heroin addict and former homeless man now seeks full time employment because life is now too short not to annoy a boss I have never had.

Two different worlds world

My world now and what it used to be are two different things entirely. I still get the nagging feeling that something could go drastically wrong at any time but I don't let it bother me that much as I love the life I lead now. Everyone has problems and boy I have had quite a few but the fact that I am still here writing about them I think does tell people that I am determined to do well. I do have dreams for my future like having a book published but not my story as I think that people have heard it all before but something I have written. Which for me would be something. Sometimes I have crazy ideas for a book that I think would work and at the moment I have worked on and off on a play about a man who is released from prison to find his wife doesn't want him. So out of frustration he burgles three of her friends. Then he has a touch of conscience and puts all the stolen stuff back in the wrong houses. Which causes more mayhem. So you see from being what I call asleep for years I am wide awake and I am having ideas and that's what I love about my life now being able to think clearly and having an imagination. None of which would have been possible without the help of quite a few people. So whenever I think about other people in the same position as I once was, I always feel that the best way to help is firstly to listen. Then act the best way you can as people are different and do have many different problems. If people had not listened to me then where would I be now? Not in the world I am. I am sure of that much

Lazy shifty idle

Someone asked me at the weekend when I went to a barbecue. Did I used to be lazy and shy away from work? Well the truth is yes I was very lazy as the only world I knew at the time was drugs and how to get money to score. If I look at things from another angle I could also use the excuse who would employ someone that couldn't read or write? The roles are reversed now and I still can't get work. I'm still lazy but not so much and I do hate washing up and doing the house work but I do it because it simply has to be done. I do many things now that I once thought I'd never do. The saying a change is as good as a rest is solely true for me but now I need a rest.

We don't get it right all the time

I was thinking which seems to be every minute of the day these days but I was thinking that no matter whether you're an MP or just an average Joe in the street. All are really just the same. We all have these fears of making ends meet and doing things so we don't start a war with our next door neighbor's. Only politicians have to think on a larger scale. When I first start to meet MPs I remember one saying we don't get it right all the time but just lately I have been thinking about what he said and I keep on saying why the hell not? After all isn't it what the people voted for? Someone who doesn't make mistakes. This government I think will not be in power for much longer and the fact that Gordon Brown wants to be prime minister I personally think it will be the labour parties biggest mistake, although he is what I would call a safe pair of hands I think that the British people want more than that. They want progress. They want a decent standard of life. They want someone who has the foresight to build Britain into one the most progressive countries in the world. they want someone who really does want to fight poverty not only abroad but here as well but mostly they want someone who is not afraid to tell the people how it really is and how drastic the cure will be. I'd vote for them if they told the truth.

Monday morning blues

Well, it's Monday once again and who'd have thought I'd be dressed in a suit going for another interview ( which went ok ) but it's not exactly what I want to do but a job is a job and I need something more than social security. Last week I thought things were looking up at one stage but it doesn't take much to bring people back down to earth I mean if you just look at things going on around you like England losing in the world cup again I watched the match and I personally thought where was the passion? No wonder we lost although Rooney got sent off, he was playing with passion at the time. Now today I read piece called just for the boys about woman bloggers or the is it really the way men think about women in today's society. Its not about women working in the house or bringing up children anymore. It is about equality and the fact that women are just as intelligent as men it is so apparent only a blind man would deny it. Women bloggers there seems to be more and more joining and what's more women seem to be getting to grips with politics after all they are the ones that mostly doing the house keeping. There's one other thing if women want to be crude, they are ten times deadlier than the male and they certainly know how to be little a man. Ever seen the writing in a women's toilet. Maybe that's what politics wants? Blood and guts

29 June, 2006

What's going on

Everyday I listen to the radio or watch TV. I hear what the government are trying to do and it's this word trying that really bugs me. After nine years in office shouldn't we now be seeing some kind of reward from all the governments schemes. I think quite a few have been executed since 1997 how many have worked well that's another story. I was just wondering how many new deals have be adopted by this government and how many people are better off. Me, I'm lucky. I was once homeless and illiterate. Now I have a home and I can read and write better than most. It wasn't the government that got me off the streets and in to education and that really does bug me because when this government were elected they were supposed to be the caring ones. Even when they got into office this time. They said there where many things they would do for the socially excluded and although they have taken people off the streets they are stuck in temporary accommodation on a semi permanent basis as there is no where else for them to go and some of these people don't have drug and alcohol problems. It costs more to keep someone in a hostel than their own place I think it costs about the same to keep someone in prison and to be truthful there not a lot of difference only that in some hostels you are allowed out. Now I have said my piece I can relax and watch a bit of tennis shame about Tim.

28 June, 2006

As per usual I was just thinking how lucky some of us really are because I know tonight I have some food and a bed. In some countries they don't have that luxury. In this country it seems to be that a certain amount of homelessness is an acceptable thing but is it? Shouldn't everyone no matter what have the right to live somewhere that's safe and warm I meet these MPs that want to change the system so that everyone has the right to a roof over their head. It just seems to me that listening is not enough and while we use the same methods of trying to cure this problem over and over again. It will just not work. Governments are fond of rehashing scheme's and now they are planning to reform welfare I see a huge rise in people becoming homeless because socially excluded people are not in any plans a government makes. The fact that homeless charities ect: exist is testament to that . Now the government are relying on charities more and more and I wonder is this the right way forward? Why since the 60s have we still got so much of a problem and why do we still have to have people lobby MPs to say look this is still the problem? Funny but I always thought one voice could not make a difference but now I think many voices saying the same thing works really well