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