19 May, 2006

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

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