24 May, 2006

Four walls and a window

Over the past year I have talked a lot about homeless people that are rough sleepers but today I want to talk more about people stuck in the hostel system and give a brief but compact history of how homeless hostels came to be.
Getting into a hostel these days to be truthful involves a certain amount of luck because there are simply not enough beds. Once you become homeless finding a place to live is near impossible if you don't have money or have certain problems.
Imagine living in another century where what would be classed today as a hostel. The first was called a workhouse. It was mainly used for orphans and vagrants and would be the nightmare we wouldn't want to revisit. Another place was sort of a nightshelter. It was a penny a night to lay over a piece of rope with one leg on the floor. The rope was tied to a ring at both ends. The next day you went to work or sea because this was where most seamen stayed. One of the first so called hostels in Britain was in Aberystwyth it was for female students, not homeless people. One of the very first homeless hostels was run by the church in Bristol during WW2 for people that had become homeless during air raids. Although there was a homeless crisis in this country. It wasn't until the early sixties that Homelessness became the massive issue it has become. Homeless hostels began to spring up in every town in Britain.
Homelessness has been a problem as far back as the 7th century, the English king Hlothaere passed laws to punish vagrants. William the Conqueror forbade anyone to leave the land where he worked. Edward the First ordered weekly searches to round up vagrants. Ever since then the number of homeless still rises and falls. We know that in the 16th century estimates of around 20,000 vagrants were made. It was in this century that it decided to try to house vagrants rather than punish them. It was by introducing what was called bridewells. These were place where they were supposed to train homeless people in a profession but where in fact just places of intolerable cruelty. They where later replace by workhouses these were even harsher and crueler. It's inmates often fell ill or died of starvation and the even crueler regimes. These then where replaced by what was thought to be a much more fairer and workable system they where called the spikes (dormitory housing provided by local boroughs), ( pictured on the left) Would you believe George Orwell, stayed in them while researching poverty in Britain?
In the 1930s there where 17,000 people using the spike and only 80 were found sleeping rough on the streets of London. In the early nineteen sixties homelessness became the issue it still is today. Actual homelessness has been decreased but now we have people in hostels that have only four walls a bed and a window. One hostel dweller I spoke to said what have I done wrong? I have been in the same hostel for three years. I don't have a drug problem and I am not mentally ill. It's like I am in prison. The only difference is I am allowed out at night till midnight. Although hostels today are a lot different to what they used to be. Is it right that people are left in this temporary for years with no hope of moving on? It is a fact that it does seem to be the case as the number of people in temporary accommodation increases year by year. Is building super hostels the answer to the problem? Over the centuries there have been different ways of finding a solutions to homeless none seem to have worked and now this government plan to put even more into temporary accommodation. Are hostels the answer at all? I believe that hostels are not the final solution as there are various problems that homeless people suffer from and lack of learning and confidence in themselves seem to be the main stumbling blocks most homeless agencies are coming across.

Strange days

I dont know whether its because I am just plain and simply unlucky or its just me but yesterday was the most confusing day I have ever had with the benefits agency. For over a week I have been waiting to get paid and I went to the post office yesterday morning to find only twenty two pounds in my account. So off I went to the job centre to be told the twenty pounds was my income support top up and the rest would come from incapacity benefit and a cheque was sent out last week. Seeing as I am no longer on incapcity this was confusing but this was then sorted and it seems I don't get quite enough employment benefit and the rest is topped up with income support anyway I told them I had not received the cheque. So I reported it as not received and was told I couldn't get a replacement until they had that cheque back. I understood that but then I made a claim for a crisis loan as they advised and not so promptly got refused, after being in the job centre for three and a half hours. So basically I'm left with nothing for another week. How can anyone tell me that my past does not affect any decision that is made? When I keep getting refuse the basic things. I have to be honest and admit my history with the benefits department has not been the most lets say the most honest as I do have around nine incidents of fraud between the years 1986 and 1998. Since those days I have transformed my life. I am no longer a drug addict I am no longer homeless and I no longer try and cheat the system and just to add every time I cheated the system I paid back what I cheated the department out of or went to prison for a short while. Am I still a victim of my own past? Is it my own fault that the benefits agency still doesn't believe me when I tell them I haven't received a payment? Did they take into account that last year when they sent me two cheques for the same amount I didn't cash them I went to the agency and queried them. Also when they were told I was working I got them a letter to tell them I wasn't getting paid a penny it was voluntary. All this only makes me more determined to find work but that's not that easy with a past like mine. I do regret not being the model citizen but I love what I do now and the thing is would I know what I know now if I hadn't lived the life I have. It's funny but yesterday after swearing blue murder and nearly getting myself arrested, today I am calm and collected in the old days I would be sort of out for revenge and trying to figure out a way of cheating the system but today I'm thinking about what other people are going through who have had the same thing happen to them. I have had some strange days just lately. I guess there are more to come.

23 May, 2006

What made me agree to start a web blog? It was the fact that homeless people were a part of society and were a socially excluded group of people that did not have a voice. The other thing was homelessness was not included in any election mandate or manifesto in fact it wasn't even mentioned till we had the big voice tour. Which was when myself and and others went to five cities to talk to different prosprective MPs. After that I set about trying to give homeless people a louder voice during the general election but as the election loomed the voice of the homeless still seemed to be lost and I seemed to getting the same old tired answers we always got from prospective MPs. Then all of a sudden my blog started to get noticed and newspapers started picking up on things I was writing about. Even after the election I decided to persevere with my blog. I don't believe my blog has changed that much although it does have it's personal touches. I think that my blog features a whole array of issues; some local and some are national but what I think makes my blog unique is what I have written is based on fact and not fiction and that the end result does have what I feel is my own down to earth honest opinion. I get quite a lot of emails from a cross section of society most agree with what I am saying. Some have even met me and are now regular visitors to my site. Some are now bloggers themselves. My blog has a political edge which concerns homelessness and the government's agenda if they have one, which does at times seem unlikely. I have also added my own touch of humour as life is not always serious and its not all about the way we live. Maintaining my blog is a must for me personally as it does keep me in touch with what's happening on the street and politically. I think political blogging will rise at a rate of knots as technology improves and when someone discovers you can make a whole lot of money from them well by then we will have another form of communication but will it be the answer to getting more people involved in politics? Who knows? I think that although there will be a rise for a short while but like anything else as soon as the novelty wears off it will slow down to a crawl. The art of a good blog I think is to make it a bit different like I have mine. It's a bit like TV you wouldn't watch the same program over and over again would you? Well blogs can be exactly that, the same old thing. My idea was to write what I knew and to be honest and say life wasn't the bowl of cherries we all wish it was.

19 May, 2006

Another youth stabbing

As another youth is stabbed to death in a fight. People are now asking the question why do youths carry and use knives? Some would say that the sentences for knife offences are not severe enough. So the question of should or shouldn't I use or carry this knife never enters their head. Someone else would say that society has become so disaffected with violence that in today's climate it's become part of it. Is this because we see violence on TV and although the baddies never win they don't give up without a fight? Which always entails a shootout or a blood soaked corpse. I think the under lying trend towards violence is not what we see on TV but the attitude of people and the perception that it is okay to use violence when necessary. While watching a TV interview with a knife carrying youth. He was asked why he carried one. He replied for my protection and as a deterrent. It made me think of bombs and how we build them and say they are only a deterrent. Inbuilt in us all is a self preservation instinct which often leans towards violence for our own preservation. Is it the fault of society itself and the perception violence to oneself permits violence to another. Over the years we have had people shooting people to protect their property but when do we start to take stock and say no matter what, life is too precious

Homeless not hopeless

At some stage in our lives we all desire more than we have but image you're homeless and all you desire is a place of your own. A place you can have your own privacy. A place to call home. How would you feel if you where stuck in some temporary accommodation waiting for five or six years? That's what some people are doing right now because there is no where else for them to go. If you live in a society that seems to have forgotten that not everyone can manage the day to day things of a normal life. Whether it be because they are addicts, alcoholics or have other issues. Is this is what social exclusion means? Just because you have a roof over your head doesn't mean you are not socially excluded which is what some people do not realise. The stigma that attaches itself to homeless people doesn't disappear because you are suddenly in temporary accommodation. It's hard to explain why but it still affects you after you get a place of you're own. Take applying for work, you go to an interview and because you are advised always to be honest you are. There's always some shock attached to telling someone you where once homeless and an addict or had some mental health issue but when you tell them why and how employers can be unsympathetic and after a while this can become disheartening. My doctor still looks at me funny when I walk into his surgery and has since I told him about my homelessness and why I still have the plates in my leg, which should have been removed years ago. I tell people to keep on trying because the are just homeless not hopeless cases.

A poem

Last night after getting home I picked up a book to read a little before I went to bed as sleep is still sometimes elusive for me and I suddenly thought of this poem for no reason at all.

The calling

I sit by a brook
With a sandwich and book
Then brush a strand of my hair
Wipe a tear from my eye
Suddenly I ponder the question of why
Have I read something between the thin lines?
Has something ignited?
Has something been drawn from my mind?
Has the echo of time swelled and become flowing
Have I suddenly become the one that's all knowing
As I sit by the brook with my thoughts and a sandwich
and course a good book

it just makes me think that our minds play strange tricks on us.
Last night I went for my usual night time stroll around the streets of London and as per usual I saw the same dejected faces I see most nights. Like most people going to and from work I felt that because I see it everyday apart of me has become desensitised. I think this happens to us all as we get used to seeing things. This time I wanted my night to be a bit different so I stopped to chat to people going into pubs and clubs. I put two questions to them and they were what would you do if you were about to become homeless and what do you think about homeless people. Most of the answers I got I can not repeat because of the repeated use of the f word but some of the answers I got to the question what would you do if you became homeless were interesting to say the least. Most thought that there's no chance of it happening to them. Some where so analytical with their answers that in some strange way they made sense although lets say inebriated would be a polite way of putting their condition. One person I spoke to was a student who lives in Camberwell south east London. She said she was always worried the loans she had got to keep her in college would eventually catch up and she wouldn't be able to pay it back and then she wouldn't be able to pay her rent and would end up living from hand to mouth on the streets because she had no one to turn to for help. She said she was a volunteer at the crisis at Christmas shelter and the people she spoke to made her more aware that anyone could become homeless and it doesn't matter if you have a doctorate or not. All it takes is one wrong choice or something to happen beyond your control and you find you're living on the streets.
I would say there's a real fear among the poorer section of our society that worry about not having somewhere to safe to sleep at night, not having a roof over their head or their own personal space to come home to is a basic worry but the fact that some think it wouldn't happen to them is startling. Some of the people I know on the streets have been in high flying jobs, some have university degrees, some have even had their own businesses. Every case of homelessness is different. I should be saying it could be you just like the lottery advert

18 May, 2006

Just catching up on what I have to say.

Making the right decisions are not that easy for some people I look at different scenarios and compare them to how most people do become homeless. It's that sudden choice of having had enough and looking for the best route out. It's a bit like reading a map but seeing and thinking there's a short cut. Then making the decision and suddenly finding out you've made the wrong choice. I myself was never a good map reader and it seems that I was never one for making correct decisions. Especially not snap ones. So this also leads me to thinking about government and some of the decisions they make. I look at them and like most people I think to myself what are they thinking? Because some changes in policy seem to me not that well thought out. Like making parents take responsibility for their children's behavior. I believe parenting to be an ever evolving thing. Parents are learning all the time how to be good parents and 99% know right from wrong and they teach their children this. Just because their child goes off the rails doesn't mean they are bad parents and how can we teach parents basic parenting when it's not the parents who are at fault? Seems to me once again we have shut the gate after the horse has bolted. How do we get back to a time when you felt safe to walk the streets at night or when a child was a child just misbehaving? How we as a society say to a government that does seem hard of hearing enough is enough.
Things are supposed to get cheaper or so I thought but things are actually getting more expensive. Take my internet connection charges for the first six months they were reasonable and affordable but now they have shot up by some way and are now expensive. Well, to me they are. Can I afford it? The answer to that is no. I would like to write everyday but as you can see from the slow down of my blog that I can now only write when I can get to a computer and the thing is I want to expand into an actual website that every homeless person can use. I have always said that homeless people have talents that are simply not used because they are on the streets and are socially excluded. How can we prevent this from being done I think the best way forward is to show peoples work. So with this in mind I am trying to give homeless people a platform to work from. If I can get the funding or sponsors then I think in the next year the leap from blog to full website is not impossible and who knows where that may lead. It only takes imagination and hard work.

They lied to me

Well once again it happening to me the local benefits agency. They stopped payments going into my post office account because they had to adjust my payment because they wanted to take money off me for crisis loans. Which I understand but what I can't get into my head is why it takes them four days to do this and why they send this order to pay late. Then tell me they sent it last week and in fact it hasn't got there yet . So along I stroll to the job center and kick up a fuss to hear sorry but an order to pay was sent but only sent yesterday. I spent the whole of yesterday in my local job center. Just to be palmed off but at least it wasn't a waste as I met and talked to several people. One was a woman of about 40. Who told me she was divorced with two children and getting the benefit she was entitled to. Was like trying to find a dentist. For twelve months she has been in and out of the local office with benefit problems. She said the benefits office are a law unto themselves. When I said they have a law to adhere by she laughed out loud and said if everything was perfect they'd still find away to screw you( her exact words) Another member of the public I met was Joe living in a St mungo's hostel just down the road. He told me that his benefit had been cancelled nine times in the last six months due to an error and he was here trying to get the arrears he was owed. Another I met was Myra a twenty something young woman who up till three weeks ago had never been out of work. She was complaining about being disallowed benefit because she had left her job. She said she had already told them she didn't leave and that she was laid off. I know mistakes are made and that due to the system that staff are stretched

15 May, 2006

Lets talk

I'm I think an average man of intelligence and when I hear a PM saying, we need to have talks on various things and that the public should be involved with these talks as well. I start to wonder. So why should we believe this government are going to take on board anything we are going to say? They haven't in the past. One of the things the PM spoke of this morning was social exclusion and the need to find ways of connecting different departments like housing and benefits and where to get help if you have problems like drug and alcohol. I do believe all these things have already been talked about and only a few things have been done. If this government are serious about wanting to talk about these things. Then isn't it wise to talk to people that have been socially excluded after all they have the T shirt and badges so to speak. Now I'm wondering what does this government really want to do? Does it want to be seen doing something. Mr Blair said: "I believe people want a society without prejudice but with rules - rules that are fair, that we all play by, and rules that when broken carry a penalty. "And the truth is that most people don't think we have sufficiently such a society. My feeling is that talk is cheap and we shall see whether its lets talk or will it be lets listen and do nothing as per usual? Hey I'm a sceptic when it comes to any politcal party that says we are trying to change things because change never really happens or if it does start to happen along comes another political party to change things that haven't been fully changed in the first place. It does get rather confusing after a while.

14 May, 2006

The smog of the old days still rises first thing in the morning underneath this bridge someone sleeps Posted by Picasa
More homeless people sleeping in.Many homeless have slept on these steps of the church at Waterloo over the years. Posted by Picasa
Another that's homeless joins the tourists. This time his bottle of cider is his cloak of invisability.  Posted by Picasa
One more homeless person hide among the tourists Posted by Picasa
Old Admiral Nelson has had enough of sitting on top of a big colunm he's gone on a short secret holiday so I've been told. Posted by Picasa

12 May, 2006

Wishful thinking

Aren't you glad you don't have to fear being eaten by alligators if you're going for a jog. Some woman in America did. I think the nearest thing to that is being talked to death when you're in bed with the wife or husband. Now that can be construed as a shark attack, only joking but joking apart, you have to admit that here in Britain we are so lucky we don't have that many things that can kill us with one bite or maul us to death and if anything did have a lethal toxin. I think there's a cure. The only thing we really have to fear in this country is one another because some people would murder you over a few lousy pound or attack you if you looked down and out. Someone once said the the decline in peoples attitudes and morals will lead us into civil war if we are not careful. I have always thought it to be a rash statement to make. The attitude and morals of today's society aren't that good but lead to a civil war I doubt it. If you look back to a time when things were hard but when you could leave your back door open at anytime of the day or night without fear of being raped or robbed or abused or to when neighbour helped neighbour or even to when a stranger would stop and chat to another stranger without an ulterior motive. That was something to be proud of. So what happened? We can't keep on blaming the parents or can we? I was listening to the radio one night sometime ago when someone said the morals of our children are non existent and for that we have to mostly blame single parents and their standard of up bringing. Since then I have always thought that statement was over the top too because I know lots of single parents. Some come from really deprived back grounds and their children have done ok. Myself I think society has to take its fair share of the blame. If you look at things over the years like consumerism and the trend it has set for the younger population. It has set a high priced standard which most can not afford. Whose to blame? Major companies that want to make less but charge more or companies that are only intrested in profit, could we blame fashion trends? It does seem to me that money is the thing that makes the world go around at the moment and if you haven't got it, tough. I wonder if some company will come along and will see that just charging a fair price and making a fair profit is the best way of selling a good product but I think its just me wishful thinking

Can't sleep, trying to make sense of my thoughts

I'm always thinking these days when I have a quiet moment or two but something's I just can't understand, why people bomb other people or why people go to war this is what I think is the real unhuman side to us. While this is going on though there there are people all over this world that are less fortunate than others that suffer from through no fault of their own. They problably have had severe droughts and floods and I know we do try to help them in our own way and here on our own doorsteps we have disadvantaged people as well. The question I keep asking myself is, did the world start this way and when it finally decided to start calling itself civilized. what happened? because from what i see and read in the newspapers we are far from being a civilised world. It does sometimes feel as if a human life is worth nothing at all.
Everyday when you go to work or for a night out and I don't think it matters what country or where you live, we see the less fortunate, sleeping on the streets of our cities. shouldn't we at least try to correct it or just improve life a little. Most nights I go out on the streets of London to see if I can get homeless people to tell me their stories of how they became homeless and what is exactly happening to them now. Sometimes it so heart breaking to hear their stories and some of these people have been homeless a long time. The saying there is always someone that has a worse story than you own is really true. I always thought my childhood was rough but some of the stories I have heard over the past year are horrifying. What can be done for them? Its what I am always asking myself? It seems that the government are so busy focusing on young couples and people that can afford to buy their own homes they have simply just done the minimal for those that are disadvantaged. Is this because home owners are the bread and butter of this country as a member of the public said or is it that some of the homelesss need so much help that it's too expensive or is it that so much is said about the homeless all being junkies and alcoholics that everyone has said enough is enough lock them away and get them out of sight? no wonder people are afraid of homeless people and only sigh sadly inwards when they pass someone sleeping in a shop doorway.
my own oberservations are that people do care about other human beings but are not sure what they can do to help.
my own thoughts are, who cares what it cost to get someone back into the folds of society? Isn't it better for everyone to give people a chance at normality? So they to can pay their way? Just like everyone else and doesn't everyone have the right to live as part of a society?
not outcasts. These are just some of the thoughts that go through my head. Funny not so long ago I didn't have any.

11 May, 2006

In gods hands

Another night walking around the streets of London's west end finding more homeless people sleeping where ever they can. these I found sleeping on the steps of a church. I have heard the stories about this government reducing the number of rough sleepers but now its definitely on the increase last month I counted thirty two people sleeping in one area tonight I counted forty eight.Posted by Picasa

10 May, 2006

Outside the houses of parliament

Posted by Picasa

The homeless panel on the left to right we have myself one Jamie McCoy ( the real McCoy) then we have Brian Hansanlli, Yvonne Powell, Jamie Williams from London and then from Birmingham we have Natalie Wier who was the youngest of the panel members and Andy Patrascu
Last night the homeless panel (a group of homeless and exhomeless people from all over the country) met with some MPs from the Labour party. Not that many came as we all know MPs are very busy. Anyway we talked to the ones that came and I left the meeting with the impression that although they listened and talked to us they still did not understand what it was we were trying to say. This has left me wondering if we are going about this the right way. I believe the homeless panel is a good thing but the question is, is there a way of making people and members of government properly understand us and what we are trying to achieve. The answer I think is not that easy as nobody who has not been homeless truly understands what its like to be homeless and disadvantaged to the degree that homeless people are. I have heard people say why should the homeless get more than any ordinary person. The answer I always use is they don’t because at this moment in time they are so disadvantaged that they are mainly ignored by government and the public in general. It seems that only at Christmas there is this big thing about homelessness but homelessness isn’t just a Christmas thing it all years round. In many cases some homeless people have been homeless for years and have lost so much of themselves that they don’t see way back to normal everyday things. Last night I have to admit I was disappointed, not at the turn out of MPs but at the feeling I got that although the MPs who came were listening they really were not. I think it’s the usual thing of homeless charities and people coming along and saying look homeless people are just people and the public and the government have all heard this before. What we need and we seem to have got is a chance to meet all MPs from all parties in a one meeting to tell them this is what it is like to be homeless and this is the way we are treated. Then it’s up to us to say this is what is needed. Like I mentioned that there are some so disadvantaged people that can’t read or write or that some need to learn new skills but they need to go to college to do so but because they are on benefit they will lose their benefit. The sixteen hours a week rule needs to be changed not only for the homeless but those on benefits. Take me for instance I couldn’t read or write. I would have studied more if I had been allowed to without losing any of my benefit. I studied in my own time for hours which proved to be the right thing for me but not that many are as lucky as me or were more motivated. Attitudes and perceptions on homelessness need to be changed. The myth that every homeless person is a drug addict or an alcoholic or is mentally dysfunctional is wrong. Some are just the opposite and its only circumstance that has lead them to become homeless in the first place. The fact that when someone becomes homeless and inevitably ends up in a spiralling circle of no hope and no future and is doomed to fail is quite common. What would I personally like to see this government do? Put homelessness properly on its agenda and admit that there is a real problem and really focus on how to prevent it and what can we do now for those that do become homeless and what will get them back on track permanently. There are no quick fixes to this problem. There are an estimated 400,000 people that are what is now being called hidden homeless. these are people that are living on the streets and in temporary accomodation and the problem is becoming worse as the government continue to focus on putting people in hostels. Getting them off the streets is only part of the answer and is only a sticking plaster at best. the problem is where do you put them after. If they can't cope with everyday life. Teaching people the basic things they need to if they get their own places is a must because once you have been homeless you learn how to survive on the streets, but learning how to survive in normal life is much much harder. Every person who becomes homeless has a different reason for becoming homeless but the simple truth is it can happen to anyone.

08 May, 2006

I was thinking of what it would be like to have had a normal life, going to school everyday and learning. Having a job and earning. To me that’s what normality is but me being me I suppose normal was always out of the question. The thing is I now know I’m normal what ever that is. I used to think I was one hell of a hopeless case as my life was out of control, being a drug addict and homeless didn’t help matters but life has taken a strange twist thanks to all the people that never gave up on me, no matter what. One of my many downfalls was I couldn’t read or write and thanks to some hard work and people that had the time and patience I quickly learned but the one thing that always keeps coming back to me was how difficult it was to get some place to learn. Being homeless has its barriers and one of them has always been getting into education. I was talking today with a group of homeless people who want to learn stuff and go to college and because they are on the streets they can’t find a college to take them because of their lack of housing. It always seems to me that barriers are always put in place even if you have somewhere. I was in a hostel and I couldn’t afford the tuition fee. Thanks to a thing called changing lives I got to go to college and won a couple of awards. What I am saying is everyone deserves to be given the same opportunities as anyone else. One of the things that came up in my discussion was that ordinary people do not want to sit next to a homeless person that maybe is unshaven or has clothes that are a bit worn and dirty. No matter how clean underneath he or she is. I think the image people have of homeless people is out dated and to be truthful has always been misconceived. The picture we always seem associate homelessness with is the man with string round his waist for a belt. Holes in his jacket and shoes unpolished and holey and to add to that lot is their worldly goods in several bags in a shopping cart or something. I think this is the picture people see. They don’t see the actual person in front of them. If you add to all this the stories one hears about all homeless people being drug addicts and alcoholics. No wonder people are afraid to talk and mix with the homeless but how do you dispel people’s perceptions. You can only do that by showing the public and government the true nature of homelessness. What it's like to be homeless. What it’s like to be society’s outcasts because that is what homeless people are the forgotten members of society. What most homeless people want is a way back in to the mainstream of society and some kind of normality.

07 May, 2006

Someone to talk to

When I go out at night and talk to homeless people I hear some horrific tales of violence and abuse that stem from the home. I think that I was so lucky when I was at home because I had a mother that loved me even though she had problems herself. It was only my own drug problem that eventually drove me away seeking a quick cure and a change of scenery, a chance to change my life, which didn’t happen for some years. So when someone tells me what kind of life they have had and why they are on the streets. I really do listen because it’s what some people have never had, someone to listen.
I was out as usual on Friday night and came across a woman of about forty. We went for a coffee where she told me something about herself. Her name was Tanya and she was originally from Norwich. She’d been living on the streets since she ran away from home at thirteen. She told me about her step dad abusing her and how no one believed her, not even her mother or the social services. She told me what she had been through whilst on the streets and that she’d been a working girl; in London’s west end. How she got into drugs and how many times she’d been arrested and been in prison. She summed up her life as a total waste of space. when i told her a bit about myself she thought I was joking. We chatted for quite sometime after a while she said how hard it was for her as a single woman on the streets, because every male she'd met always wanted something and how hard it was to get a hostel or somewhere safe to stay. She said being a single woman seemed to her to leave her at a great disadvantage because everything was so male orientated. When I left her I felt that somewhere along the line she had been badly let down by the system.
How do you catch the ones that need help so badly? We used to have outreach workers from various homeless organizations roam the streets at night looking for just this kind of person but now all that’s changed as the government and councils search for more cost effective ways of curing homelessness and to me that’s what it’s all about. Money. As we try to cure this age old problem of homelessness it seems that we are missing the people that need the help the most. I was thinking about Local councils that give people sleeping on the streets a bit of paper to go to a local day center to see if they can be help to get them off the streets. This is all fine and well but what about the person that cannot read or write, the severely disabled or the person that is afraid to go to these day centers because of the fear of violence and believe me violence often occurs among homeless people. What about the alcoholic who seems to be beyond help? Simply not enough now is being done to find the people that really need help and sometimes all it takes is that one defining moment in someone’s life when someone shows compassion that change does occur.
It's early Sunday morning and I am at last going to have an early night but I thought I'd write a few words of cheer. I am supposed to be going to a christening tomorrow. My friend is having his son baptized and I won't be there as I have an important prior engagement but I would like to wish them all my best wishes and have a good day Maff and Ruth and little Freddie. Here's a little something hoping to make it a great day even if I can't be there. I will make it for the weekend the next bank holiday though.

A child will grow and grow
From its parent learn all the things it did not know.
With confidence and poise
Match pace with time.
When growing
This child will not maybe walk a perfect line.
Yet all will still be well and this child will be the apple of their eye
With no exceptions this child will bring a ray of sunshine in his father's life
Along with all the worry and the strife.
And in a mothers heart that gently beats
A love that knows no bounds
A love that never has to die
Through tears this child of joy might cry.
Then one day this child has grown
The mirror image of its parents
Yet still a child with age
Still with confidence matches pace with time.

Well, that's the first thing I have written for ages. Well I must get some beauty sleep as I am looking a bit on the old side today.

05 May, 2006

The people's warning to government

Well, well, last night the people fired the first warning shots at Tony Blair and his Labour party buddies, by voting for the opposition. the people of this country are not stupid and they are certainly are not going to put up with a government that fall short on ideas and isn't doing enough for the country. That was the message last night. This morning in gorvernment, heads have rolled and some surprises have been unveiled. Should this have happened twelve months ago? Maybe we wouldn't be in quite the mess we are. Has Tony Blair let things go from bad to even worse or is he at last trying to stop the rot in a government that is slowly disappearing into obscurity? The funny thing is even after three terms of New Labour things are still the same. The poorer have gotten poorer and the rich well, that's why there are poor. Crime is still on the increase and there is still a section of society the left out in the cold. Plus you can still get mugged not only by criminals but by Governments. This governments achievements whilst in power, none really, well not any that affect people in Britain directly. Oh yes here's one the N.H.S. is in a worse crisis than before new Labour took over and here's another pensions are not worth anything. Another crisis the government have not sorted and yes Tony there are still people sleeping in shop doorways not as many as there was but it looks to be back on the increase. I wonder why?

04 May, 2006

Making changes

Everything changes over time. Sometime ago old Tony Blair was saying, this was his last term in office and now has left people wondering if he will or wont. Now the head of crisis Shaks Ghosh is calling time after nine years of trying to get this government to recognize that there is much more to being homeless than just a roof over your head. (everyone seems to leave after they have met me a couple of times) She says she is a person that likes to make change. Has she made changes at crisis. When she first came to organization it was called crisis at Christmas. Now it's just called crisis and it's focus on the homeless at Christmas has changed to an all year round focus mainly on education and learning skills. Other services that have emerged are the skylight center and changing lives awards and smart move and of course the skylight cafe . Those are the changes being made by some individuals but later on today some people will try to make changes, by voting in their local elections hoping that their vote will bring about change. My god does this really happen? I am so skeptical when it comes to voting I sometimes think if I just vote for Charlie Chaplin I would be somewhere near what I have today. Only once in a blue moon does one person come along and make dramatic changes that affect us all and meet with the agreement of the people. Through the years though there have been some noteworthy people though. My question is how can a handful of politicians get the message that we want to give them if we don't give them our vote of confidence? Simply they can't. If you listen carefully to politicians you can get a rough idea of how much they can actually deliver and how much is give me your vote bull. To make change you have to give it a go who knows maybe this year one person will come forward and start to make the changes we need.