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