30 December, 2008

You don't have any ties so please take up your bed and leave

I thought I'd write one last piece for this year about oxford council asking it's the homeless to leave if they couldn't prove that they had any ties to oxford. This is getting ridiculous as homeless people are fast becoming the easy targets of councils all over the country and I do believe what they are now doing is bordering on being illegal. The question is are they taking away ones right to live where they can and choose. Does any council have legal jurisdiction over any ones rights? Its a bit like saying sorry there's no room at the inn but its happening all over England. Another thing is that if the government figures are to be believed a third of the rough sleepers in England are in Oxford.These must be all the above intelligent ones who are now getting university degrees. I wonder if the others are at Cambridge doing the same? As today I heard Cambridge was better than Oxford

What's in store

Well another year nearly over and to be truthful it hasn't been a very fruitful one for me as things have happened that have had me rather concerned about my health but everything is okay and 2009 should be a good year in fact I think it will a vintage one this time round. I aim to get the answers to the nagging questions that need to be answered like have we really lost the art of conversation and what do people think the reason for this. Another is about homelessness and are certain charities including my favorite and beloved Crisis moving a way from the real core of what they were all set up to help tackle and that is the homeless, are they in their drive to improve leaving behind the most vulnerable and have we in fact gone to a two tier of homelessness of those who can and those who can't. I hope to be doing some more radio stuff next year as I very much want to ask the question of whats going to happen if the economy doesn't recover. What's in store the homeless and is reforming the welfare and benefit system the correct thing to do at this time or is it just another way for the government to give with one hand and take with the other. Will we see a dramatic rise in homelessness as house repossessions continue to rise as the sticking plaster which the government has in place fails to do its job. All good questions to ask. So as this year ends on a bit bum note. Lets hope for a better one. See you all in the New Year. Have a great new years eve. Here's a question would I make a good MP as I have a back ground of avoiding burning questions and I can make promises that I know I wont keep

28 December, 2008


Homelessness is not just a thing that happens at Christmas although sometimes it does feel as if it is. The fact is that at Christmas we see a small proportion of what homelessness is and we learn more about how it affects some of those that are homeless. Its such a shame that it is the only time of year when everyone talks about the subject and we feel everyone should be given at least a small glimmer of hope. The fact that there are some people that actually do care and offer their time shows that some people do empathise but what does happens after places like the Crisis Christmas shelter in London or all the other places that are open, close. Most go back to life of living on the streets because there is no choice although there are housing advice places in the shelters the chance of getting someone in one is slim but its not through the lack of trying. There are still not enough vacancies to tackle the problem which is set to rise even further.
How do you tackle homelessness? No one yet has come up with a definite solution. The sorry fact that it has become more hidden is I think is a growing problem because we now have people sleeping at the back of shops and such places. Where as before it used to be in plain site suggests that I am right but I do speak from experience myself as I have been homeless and a drug addict. The fact that Crisis has taken a bold intuitive in trying to develop peoples skills in their skylight drop in centers in London at Newcastle is a step in the right direct but more needs to be done on the issue of homelessness itself because no matter what, no employer will take the chance of employing someone who lives on the street. Yes its that old vicious circle again once you're in it its hard to get back on the straight and narrow. With this recession starting to bite and as more and more people become victim to the housing market slump and many losing their jobs and homes. I once again see the migration of workers going to different towns in search of work. Which has happened before in this country and was in itself a cause of one of the biggest rises in homelessness in the seventies and eighties. I forecast that we will see the break down of families and a large rise in homelessness over the next two years and once again we will have a homeless crisis

05 December, 2008

What a laugh someone's having

The queens opening speech for the new session of Parliament was a bit of a damp squid if you ask me. The government are doing nothing for the poorest of this country and I believe they made no great in roads into the housing crisis that has been building up for sometime now. No mention of rentable social housing or of building any. Someone is having a great belly laugh at our expense but the trouble is the Conservatives wont do much better if anything they'll make it harder. Politics, its a comedy in the making. This year I think we have seen the worst comedy of errors that any government has made since the war. We are in for tough times and I strongly believe that we haven't seen the worst of things to come. Who really knows what's in store for 2009 doom and more gloom but it's Christmas and I think we should make the best of it for now so many poeple will be drowning thier sorrows with a mixture of goodwill and tears. cheers to you all

02 December, 2008

a christmas poem

After the year we've all just had.
This Christmas is the time we all should be kind of glad.
The credit crunch, the bombs, the war
I could go on some more.
Yet when I think of things to come.
And things we've left undone.
Like saying that I love you to ones that are so near and dear.
And to the child in misery say it's OK, I'll protect you and drive away your fear.
So lets make this Christmas a very special one.
Filled with love and cheer and loads and loads of fun
So I send to all the peace that all should be.
a happy Christmas from the man in red
and a very special one from me.

Geting too old

For the first time in ages I didn't want to get out of bed but i did and immediately started shaking, not with the cold but anger as i picked up the mail and found more bills addressed to my friend who died a year ago and for the first time in ages i looked in the mirror and saw an aged man. So as i sat down with a cup of coffee. I started to think my god! where has time gone. the truth is time just went on it's merry way as it normally does and I never noticed. funny how things turn out in life. You never notice time until it's gone and you sart wishing you could get it back when you do.

25 November, 2008

Credit and more crunch

As I See it the chancellor did nothing to get me out shopping for Christmas in fact all he did was make me worry about how I am going to pay my gas and electric bill as I am one of the growing 1. 7,000,000 unemployed. I get 240.00 a month and now a total of 75 goes on gas and electric and they still want more. Now the government wants me to get a job so now I have to fork out either 13 50 a week on bus fares or 5.20 a day on bus and tube travel. Lets go for the 13 50 week that's 54. 00 a month for searching and going to interviews. So that's half my money gone. Oh and don't for get I have to pay four pounds fifty a week water rates and 6.25 TV license. that leaves me with less than twenty pounds a week for food. So what has the chancellor done for me and many like me? So does it matter that he knocked two and a half per cent of vat because like many we already shop second hand. When we can afford to. It just hasn't dawned on anyone that poverty will be wider spread over the next year or so. Will we recover ? Who knows.

17 November, 2008

Second hand

I met this fella on my nightly travels around the city of London. He was one of the people that travelled on the night buses. I'd seen him around some of the day centers so we got speaking about being homeless and when I told him I'd been homeless and was now living in my own flat he wished that he was me. Funny I never thought of anyone wanting to be me. I asked him how he became homeless and he said that he left home 12 years ago with nothing but a suitcase of second hand clothes and a few pound in his pocket. All he wanted to do was make a better life for himself as all his life everything he seemed to get was second hand. From the clothes he wore, to the watch he had on which he got for his birthday some years ago. He said his parents always struggled with money even though his dad worked six days a week. He was the youngest of five and often wishes to go back home but after lying for years to the people that matter to him. He felf he had to make it but has found life really different and difficult since the day he just up and left home. I asked him what does he do with his days now? What's the point of doing anything was the reply. If i go into a hostel it's just like being a part of a system that trys to do its best but just does work properly for me and I don't want to live with acholics and drug addicts because i am not one of those. I just want to be normal. Whatever that is

14 November, 2008

What's not new

It's a fact that unemployment has gone up and more and more homes are being reposed is now old news but did you know that an extra 120 people slept rough in the last couple of nights and in the last three months the homeless figure has risen steadily. These figures were reached just by making a few phone calls to three homeless charities in certain parts of the country.
Homelessness is not a thing of the past. It's still a major issue and is going to be an even bigger issue over the next year. No one really wants to admit to a growing problem. The last time we had a recession homelessness went up by 26% . We see it more now on the fringes of big cities because of policies made by certain councils who want to give there area a look of cleanliness and respectability have made it impossible for homeless people to have what to them could be a safe place to sleep. Is it right that people should have to move from area to area? Christmas is on the horizon again and guess what we are talking about it again. The thing that is most annoying to me personally is that we are still talking about it. I know people will say things are being done but when you have only limited places for people who sleep rough in the winter I think is disgraceful in this day and age recession or not. The fact is no one wants to be homeless by choice is neither here nor there. It just happens. One decision, One bad move can and does change lives. Another thing that irks me is that out of the thousands over the years that have turned their lives around only 0.5% are now working for the homeless and I believe we have the opportunity over the next few years to remedy this. We should and can use the experiences of those that have been in the firing line as it were. I have been talking about homelessness now since I got my life back together and it seems I will be doing that for sometime to come. So I am thinking more positively and trying to work out how to have a more rigorous approach to the problem of homelessness and how to use the wealth of experience we have to good use. I have been toying with the idea of a hostel that is run by exhomeless starting with one then another and so on

13 November, 2008

Whats happening to me

Well it's starting again the weird dreams and stuff. It was probably after watching Enchanted a simple Disney film. That night I got into bed with my hot water bottle for the first time (the hot water bottle not the bed) I fell asleep quite quickly which is mighty unusual for me but boy I dreamt one hell of a dream. It was so vivid and clear and it was strangely haunting and in a way funny the next morning. It went something like this, there was Gordon Brown singing I saved the whole worlds banking I saved the whole worlds banking just in time for Santa and things can only get better and what a wonder full Christmas this will be. Along comes Cameron and starts singing its much too much to bear and I started to think it was all there but now I'm feeling blue and don't know what to do so I think I'll tell a fib or two. All this is happening in the houses of Parliament but it's when everybody on the conservatives bench started standing as if there doing the Mexican wave and each one starts singing Where did it all go wrong we were a government in waiting and we thought we were so strong. Then as suddenly as it all happened there was a small chorus of it will be lonely this Christmas lonely and cold from the Lib Dem's. So I either have the Christmas bug and I'm happy or there is something is terribly wrong with me. Either way who cares I'd love to see MPs singing in the houses of parliament i'd pay to see that

31 October, 2008

From bad to worse

I just don't get it anymore and I thought I was dumb but some of the governments thinking and plans seems to be heading in the direction of not thought out properly and definitely not workable with this credit crunch and recession biting. Who am I to talk anyway I've done some stupid things without thinking too much. there are three issues that are bothering me and i have made inquires of my own to shed light on these issues but I am still left with trepidation
House repossessions I know in the last quarter 11.000 homes have been repossessed and that it is expected to rise by another 10.000 by end of Jan 2009. I know the government have got some program for councils to buy and mortgages companies to rent out the properties to their tenants instead of them becoming homeless. The idea is OK and in it's self that's a good thing but with many councils and mortgages companies losing money to this credit thingy and from people in the know I have spoken seem to think that some councils will struggle over the next few years and the other thing is it defeats the object of people buying their homes.So here's what I would have proposed if I where an MP I would have made it possible for people to stay in their properties but would have frozen their repayments and made them pay rent until the financial crisis got better and then reapply their repayments at another rate to take into account all things well there it is

09 October, 2008

The government should really listen

How do things get so complicated in such a short space of time? I believe the trouble with the banks was always going to come even I was forecasting doom and gloom some months ago and coming from me that was something but guess what nobody was listening as per usual. The only question that was being asked was what does he know? He's an ex drug addict and homeless person. Guess what? I do have a brain and although it was not been fully functional for years to my surprise and maybe yours, it does work! Even I know you can't keep borrowing beyond your means and you certainly can't keep borrowing Peter to pay Paul and you can't put high risk strategies at the forefront of any market. This is what I think banks have been doing for too long. To top this off giving people mortgages and loans three times the size of their incomes doesn't make any sense to me plus we all know the housing bubble had to burst sometime but who am I to talk.
What makes me so angry is the fact that the tax payer who now needs a helping hand with increasing energy bills and food prices can not get it. Yet within forty eight hours of the conservative leader telling us there was nothing in the cupboard and the country was going to face tough times a plan was being form by the government to bail out the financial market. I believe the total package is above 200 billion to date. Funny how we can bail out the financial system with no guarantee it will work. When tax payers are asking for immediate help with rising fuel costs. I listened to the off gen or was it off com report and it stated there was no collusion between the biggest energy companies to hike prices. Well, if they where in front of a jury they would definitely be found guilty because if you go back ten years every time the biggest put the prices up the rest follow suit and to me that's collusion and not fair competition. While I am at it I must vent more on this governments energy argument that approximately only ten percent of a families weekly income is spent on energy IE: gas and electric. I beg to differ. When I speak to various people who are working and they tell me that the increase in energy prices is affecting them and with food prices rising each month their ability to pay is causing them to worry and when I speak to couples with children on state benefits that tell me they are going without food for one or two days every fortnight because of the rises in gas and electric and food. I am a single man on benefits and I am struggling myself and I can tell you that this winter it will be a choice between being warm and hungry or freezing and you must remember those on prepayment energy meters are already losing out because they are paying a daily tariff just for the prepayment meter.
Sorry Mr brown But you don't live in the real world and you certainly are not listening to the people who put your party in office. Yes your measures for the future are good but over the next three to five years people are going to need your help. This is what they pay taxes for not to bail out banks that fed on an over inflated market. Oh and Mr Brown if you want to be prime minister for another four years I suggest you get all your party to listen to the people because they are the ones who want know you are really listening to them. There is a plus to this as well you get the trust of the people and that would be a first.

29 September, 2008


I asked the question some months ago what would happen if we had a financial crisis or crash. Well i think we are heading for just that and there is not much we can do but watch. The days of spend spend spend are truly over. So now my question is what happens to those that lose their homes or can't make payment for gas and electric payments. I believe we will see a steady rise in homelessness and council waiting list. A major growth in border line poverty in this country and real growth in actual poverty. Times are going to be hard for most the less well off will be worse off.
The government have already proved they don't really care and today they took control of the Bradford and Bingley mortgages. I still believe it will give all concerned a headache they wont recover from. Why well the by to let was a risky business at best but what i always remember was when the Conservatives where having their election for leader I remember David Davis saying you could always consider the buy to let market which I laughed at because I was homeless once and had only just got my own flat.
Well as i feel the pinch just like everyone i leave you with this thought who do you trust with your money. Is it safer under the mattress.

31 July, 2008

gas + electric = more poverty

I am now being asked what do i think about the big price rise in gas and electric. My first reaction was to say hey I'm a guy who now has a flat and has only just begun to enjoy it but the fact is it does affect me as well as the people that are working. Here's what i have to say anyway. The 35% rise in gas prices was too excessive and what i can't believe is that British gas is allowed to get away with it. They say profits are down but are they really don't forget that British gas is an off shoot of centrica and that also makes profit. I thought the rise in gas would have been 22% to 25% and that still would have given a healthy profit. Over two point five million people will be below the fuel poverty line next year and i would estimate that a further one point three million by the beginning off the next. It is now up to the government to step in and take control. The word Poverty will become used and more common than it is today and i do believe that if this government don't do anything then it will become their Achilles heel and bring them down the people don't have much trust in them at the moment and if they just sit there then say goodbye to a labour government.

25 July, 2008

Another night finding the homeless not in view

I go out most nights on to the streets of this big city to find out why people are now sleeping rough out of sight. Most people say it's from being woken up and told to move on, which most councils and police deny. Its that it was him not me thing that's going about. Why can't someone just say we are trying to clear the streets of homeless and get them somewhere safe which is of course what we have heard before and its only another little white lie as we know there are not enough spaces in hostels and there are few night shelters. It does seem to me that we are going backwards to the old days when they used to hose down the streets to move people on which by the way was barbaric> how does it end ? who knows ?

21 July, 2008

What do you have to do?

Since i became a member of the nearly normal society brigade. I have done quite a lot of interviews and things concerning homelessness and every year it seems I am still writing the same old thing and still talking about ways to tackle homelessness. Strange but true. being homeless isn't a crime yet it does seem to be going that way as council after council try to stop people sleeping on the streets. I have to admit to the ingenious tactics they have used but until we all really admit that there is a problem, which by the way is growing once again.it's estimated that over a thousand people sleep rough on any given night and that over 400 hundred thousand sleep in temporary accommodation such as friends sofa's, hostels and night shelters and so forth. now the summer is here there aren't that many night shelters. It seems to me that over the last three or four years i have met MPs from various parties and they have all sat there and listened and asked questions but to be truthful nothing much seems to have been done. its the same old thing. It all comes down to money said one MP recently. we don't have that much money to spend and what we do spend on homelessness has been tried and tested and we can see a results for what we spent. I have been thinking about this statement for quite a while now and i have come to this conclusion, the results that this or any government see, seems to me to be about the same. one year the figures may be slightly down or static and the next slightly improved and of course we hear about this because any government worth its salt would say things are improving. Even i have to admit that compared with the homeless number ten to twelve years ago there has been a dramatic drop but things speak for themselves and the steady rise we are seeing all over the country needs to be addressed especially when you find people sleeping out of site of the public eye. these are the people that need to be included in any government statistic. we should be looking at new ways to end homelessness for good. it's the thing that has tarnished the reputation of Britain for years. homelessness has been with us as long as history can remember it's time to end it for good. not just hide it while the Olympics are here I know in the past we tried work houses and today they are called hostels but its not the brutal regime of the old days but the same thing applies to both once in one its hard to escape. Coming from me that might seem funny as i have my own flat and live quite a reasonable life but that took me nearly a life time to get because no one really knew how to tackle the problems i had and there are so many out there that don't have as long as i have had unless we learn more about homelessness it's affects on people, the root causes of homeless and how to break the cycle and habits of homelessness. I still believe that former homeless people are the key to getting things right

19 July, 2008

The weekends

Saturday and all is well on the front line or so it seems but no one ever sees the true face of homelessness but at the weekends when all the day centers are closed and the streets are filled with shoppers doing their weekend thing. Homeless people can be seen sitting on a wall or on a bench in the park doing nothing but awaiting the next working day where they know they can get a shower clean clothes or even talk to someone about the problems they have. Politicians do not know what these people go through day after day and the weekend is one of the worst times. It's a time when you sit down anywhere and reflect on the week gone by and you don't see any change and don't see anything changing soon either. It's a poor outlook on things I know but this is the reality for most homeless people. I used to call the weekends my nearly dead days all I seemed to do then was wait for something happening and being stoned all the time didn't change anything. I still get a few dead weekends but nothing like what they were and besides I now have the choice what I do with them.
Imagine yourself homeless and there's no place to go during the day except the same museum you went to yesterday but it was a two hour walk and you don't really fancy getting sore feet again or just imagine its Sunday and there's hardly a sole passing by you're hungry because you could not buy a cheap breakfast and no one's handing out sandwiches anymore because the local councils have stopped them from coming. What would you do?

18 July, 2008

old age

I was sitting down on the wall outside Charing Cross underground station and because I was having to look upwards at people passing by it sorted of reminded me of the times I used to be that beggar on the south bank. It was strange really having that feeling that everyone was looking at me again. That's the way it is some days little things remind me of what used to be and how I felt way back then. Everything changes over time we all grow older some of us grow wiser and some of us stay in that cycle of youth running around like teenagers at forty. Not a bad thing in itself but it just hides the fact that we are getting older by the minute and that youth does fade and we have to adapt or become the oldest swingers in town. I think Gordon used to be one you know.

15 July, 2008


It's been a hell of a week for news. Not good news at that but to my way of thinking its about time this government started to realise that not everyone is the same and this thing with the national health and targets is so miss leading that I think that everyone has sort of lost the plot. The NHS was never mean't to be a business. It was designed to help people in need of medical assistance but over the years the NHS has grown and so has the population. So the increase in spending on the NHS had to increase but by the amounts that this government has put in we should have a great one . So what has happened to it?
It's the same with our roads the government say there are a million more cars on the roads than ten years ago but once again i say that means the government had one million more in taxes. so why is it every year taxes go up and why do we have the largest tax in the EU on fuel?
Every day in this country a minimum of 40 people become homeless for one reason or another some times they have luck on their side and are found accommodation. Which prevents them entering the cycle long term homelessness but why in this day and age is it still hard to place people in temporary accommodation?
I have always thought this to be the best country in the world for freedom and the help we can get when times are hard but I am now beginning to see that all is not as it seems.
Is there any good news about to come our way?

11 July, 2008


Isn't it funny the way things are spelled out on TV and in the papers. The credit crunch is what they are calling the present monetary crisis but isn't it really miss management and a bit of greed thrown in. It does seem that today everyone is out to get the best for themselves which, is understandable if you take everything that has happened over the last twenty to thirty years but you have to ask the question why didn't any body see these things coming and prepare properly for them. Credit crunches or what ever you want to call them don't just happen. I believe it is because we have no forward thinkers in the world today and we have too many this will do for now politicians. If you build a dam you make sure its built right and no expence spared to make sure it doesn't leak. Shouldn't the same be applied to politics. you should make the most stable and future plans and laws for the country of which you serve.
Its just seems funny that a beggar begging said any spare change please and a man who usually gave what he could afford now and again said sorry I can't afford to give you anything thanks to the government. Then he sat down next to the beggar and proceeded to write a sign saying not homeless but penniless please help.

10 July, 2008

It seems to me we have this thing in society and in life generally that if you don't see anything, then what's the problem? The problem is that no matter who we are we just can't go around ignoring the problems that suround us on a daily basis. First there is the world wide problem of global warming and nobody seems to want to do much about it right now as it doesn't affect us right now. If that is the case then i have to ask the question. Do we love our children? because it is those who will be affected and suffer the most. people might say we are trying to do something about it but to be quite frank its just not enough. Remember when we were kids and we'd lie on the floor or stamp our feet and scream until we got what we wanted. Well i think it's about time for the whole world to stamp thier feet and scream before its too late. We are always saying that children are our future. So isn't it our duty to make sure they have one?
The second problem is since the announcement of the olympics to be held here in london in 2012. There has been this rush to clear the streets of the sight of poverty that clearly this country has. If you look back at previous olympics preperations in various countries. The same has happened there and in some cases it has been more forceful. Everyone I have spoken to seems to be of the same opinion that if you don't see the problem. Then whats all the fuss about? What gets me is that for years and years now previous governments started to do something about the problems and because of changes to various departments. Money and the basic drive for change has dried up and so the problem has some how been put to the back of the importance queue. its a shame because there were some good schemes and initives taking shape and at one stage homeless and poverty were decreasing. now its on the increase and when you see people sleeping near dustbins at the back of supermarkets like in Victoria, Camden Kings Cross, Greenwich these places are in London and out of sight of those that matter. What makes me shudder is that all the places i have mentioned I have seem mice and on occasion rats. So what makes these people sleep in such places and I do have one answer is that no one really understands the problem of homelessness it's not just about sleeping in shop doorways or having no job or place to live. It's more a question of survival. Not only do you have to learn how to avoid preditors that prowl the streets at night. You have to learn how to look after yourself and be safe at all times. Now councils accross London and elsewhere are making it harder and harder. Letting people go from area to area just because you don't want them in your area and waking them up and telling them not to sleep their again is not a solution. Telling them to go to the nearest day centre for accomodation isn't the answer either as most day centers will agree that getting a place in a hostel is virtually impossible but it's a first step.It makes me ask the question. How can this be happening in this day and age and why? When we are one of the eighth richest countries in the world. It just beggars belief. Thanks to crisis I can get out at night and speak to the people that matter

01 July, 2008

Nothing's really changed

I'm pretty sceptic when it comes to the government and councils saying they will put homelessness on their agenda or saying we are trying to do something about it. Maybe they do but somewhere on the back page. so when it comes to a party like the conservatives who have let down the people in the past setting up a homeless foundation. I was blown away but then I looked at who would be on the board and I suddenly thought would it have been better to have some people who had the Tshirt and experience to be part of this foundation as well

So last night I walked the streets of London where I counted 28 people just in Charing Cross road which was ten more than two months ago. I spoke to them on the subject of the idea of the foundation but as usual the question of what experience besides sitting behind a desk have they got.? I then went to Victoria and chatted to over thirty people who all asked the same question. but they where more concerned about the fact that they can not sleep in the shop doorways anymore as they get woken up and moved on by some official looking people who tell them to move including the police. A few women I spoke to, say it's not safe for them to sleep in the back streets but that's what they are now doing. It's wrong for any council or government dept to stop people sleeping where it's safe, after all no matter what people situation isn't it their right to be safe.
Homelessness is definitely on the rise and there are many cities and towns that can say this is a fact. So what can be done we can't go back to the old system of just putting people into bed and breakfasts. We're already at breaking point with the hostel system which only partly works as like prisons we have people returning to the hostel system. I already have my own ideas on how to tackle some of the problems but this entails each person who goes into a hostel to sign a contract that states he or she will learn basic life skills IE: cooking, cleaning, budgeting etc. What i see and I do speak with a little knowledge having come off the streets myself. I couldn't cook for myself or budget properly but this is only part of the problem. I think the main problem is getting homeless people out of their way of thinking IE: thinking like a homeless person and doing things that have become a habit. So has anything changed? I guess not

30 June, 2008

what a day

Well, today has just been one of those days you just want to hope is a dream but alas it's not and the day just goes on and on and on and on. I thought those kind of days were over for me but it seems I was wrong. So it got me to thinking which to be honest hasn't happened a lot just lately, anyway as I was saying I was thinking about all the things that are happening during the credit crunch and how it will affect many more and I think things are going to get a lot tougher in the coming months. I'm no economist but i see house prices falling by another 6% in the next six months and this means there will be a lot more people who will own properties that do not equal their mortgages and see the government try to put a freeze on wage rises whilst hiking up taxes. The question to ask is why is all this happening and why did no one foresee this months ago? I asked someone the other day why do people pay road taxes and still have to pay to use roads in city centres and why do we pay National insurance and still get unfair post code health services and why do we pay over the top taxes on petrol and lastly why if alcohol is so bad for us why is it legal it seems strange to me that the government spend millions on informing us about the risks in drinking yet by not making it illegal the government still earn from taxing it. Just seems strange when you think about it.

27 June, 2008

Do we still care about homelessness

The amount of times I have heard, of course we care about homeless people and the less well off, it just makes me wonder and ask the question why have we still people living on the streets of our cities and why do we now have a network of hostels up and down the length of this country and why are they full up every night Its question after question with me I know but if you don't ask them then the right answers to the problems cannot be truthfully answered. The thing that does concern me is that we put people in to these places which really are today's poor houses if compare things with the Victorians. Workhouses were hard to get away from and they did leave the same kind of stigma that hostels leave today. That's why alot of people used different names. I have to admit that life isn't too bad these days but there is this feeling that by not spending the money now to train and teach the homeless and less advantaged that we are in fact building a second class of citizen. Everyone that works is this sector knows how difficult it is get people somewhere back in society and it's even much harder to get them back into work. That's why I advocated work training and life skills but even this sometimes is not enough

17 April, 2008

Don't enable beggars

Well, someone had to start the ball rolling this year with the usual speech of don't give to beggars. This time it was Thamesreach and cynical me seems to think this is the usual ploy to get people to give them the money instead as they claim to help more in better ways. It does seem that when funds are cut or money is tight for some charities that they come out with this don't give beggars thing and they use this slogan that we could do more to help while this is right in so many respects it is also worth noting that many people who live on the streets from day to day struggle to survive. people who give money from time to time do help and yes they might inadvertently help them sustain their drug or drink habits but its not all doom and gloom as things appear to be and if you believe the new campaign of don't put the money in the pushers hands then things are at a worse state than i imagined. the thing is not every person on the street is an addict and this is the big misconception. yes there are addicts living on the streets and its a large number but it not the problem. The problem is there is not enough help. If you phone a hostel on a Monday morning you might be lucky to get a a place but it has been the same old story for a few years now that the shortage of places for people to stay and it has steadily rose year after year. Now in 2008 the story hasn't changed, things are still the same. They say by 2012 things will have been sorted but i think that its just all hot air and what big wigs think is if they put things out of sight then they can sweep the problem under the carpet so to speak. its that want you don't see doesn't hurt you thing. Maybe i am just getting too old and cynical but i have experienced it

25 March, 2008

As I see it

As most of you know that for the almost all of last year my blog has taken a back seat while I became a full time carer for my friend who died in November. It has taken me a while to come to terms with but I am now back and for the last month I have been busy trying to find out about the hard core homeless people. These are the people that hostels and day centres have banned because of drink or drug related things and are hard to deal with. I suppose you could say these are the people that are blacklisted.
So I had an idea and set about it by virtually living on the streets at night. I wanted to find out if things had really changed since I lived on the streets.
What did surprise me was that only a few stopped to look and there was no look of shock on people’s faces. It was as if homeless people where expected to be where they were, like we expect to see statues in Trafalgar Square.
In my first week I had many arguments and nearly a fight with another homeless person who thought I was asking too many questions but in the end I walked away unscathed.
After asking all my questions and meeting people like, Paula, John, Ben, Cliff, Hussein, Michael and Nancy I came to my own conclusion about being homeless in today’s society.
As I see it various charities and institutions have some ideas and structures in place for those people that can help themselves or are ready and willing to take that first vital step. This is as I see it an excellent step in the right direction. It was this kind of help that helped me but there are still numbers of less fortunate people that are noticed but because they are the hard core homeless these are the ones that are hard work and not easy to place any where. The problem is that they drink or are heavy drug users and are really difficult to work with or they are just not on the radar because they are too busy surviving their own personal hell from day to day. They think they are forgotten except at Christmas. Which seems to them to be the only time they are treated as people? John says that the last four Christmases have been the only time he has talked to someone normal someone not living on the streets. These are people we see most days swaying from side to side or looking as high as a kite as they ask us for spare change and are not very polite if we say no. These are the people I believe that need the most help and these are definitely the hardest to help. The thing is, we really don’t have any new ideas how to reach them but we are not void of ideas. The government seem to think that attacking their benefits is one answer but I will disagree. It’s virtually certain most will die sooner than you or I. Yet if you spoke to them as I have done over the last month. It’s so surprising that they have such clarity on things you would not expect and they have a great sense of humour. Will it take drastic ideas to help these people or will it still be we can only help those who help themselves