Homelessness

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skalpel
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Homelessness

Post by skalpel » Thu May 19, 2016 6:00 pm

Anybody else noticing the increase in homeless people on the street? Apparently rough sleepers have doubled in number over the last 6 years, and I've got to say I've noticed. When I visited my old city of Leeds I was actually pretty shocked to see how many more people were on the street. I live in Bath now and there's barely a street in the city centre without somebody sitting or sleeping in a doorway.

What is it like where you live? Do you have any close experience with being forced to live without a home? Does anyone give to charities or have a regular big issue guy, or do you guys just spare change when you can?

It crossed my mind lately that I'm not getting out as much cash as usual because everywhere takes card, and that this is probably increasingly the case for a lot of people in the country. So once paper and coin cash is so rarely used as to be basically obsolete, which is arguably something on the horizon, what the hell are homeless people going to do? That's a potentially huge disaster.

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Re: Homelessness

Post by FogOnTheRhine » Thu May 19, 2016 6:37 pm

To my knowledge we have one on this island. I mean there are obviously more but there's this one guy who hangs around the car parks and he's the only one who's at all noticeable. I guess maybe they actively try and disguise it over here, or just help out. We do have several homelessness charities and the Sally Army is pretty big here and there was a tin drive this week to try and collect food for the homeless.

When I lived in Oxford though there were a fair amount. Generally I'd give something to anybody who asked, every now and then I'd buy a Big Issue and then give it back. I think that if somebody's having to debase themselves to the point of begging strangers for money then who am I to judge them for it or assume they'll use it for drugs or whatever.

I think the key thing though, more than just giving money, is actually acknowledging homeless people. Treat them like actual people and talk to them. I noticed that basically everybody just walks straight past and I know I've been guilty of it plenty, but from conversations I've had the impression that I got was that it's really dehumanising to be homeless and having people talk to you like they would anyone else is appreciated.
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Re: Homelessness

Post by JFK-1 » Thu May 19, 2016 6:51 pm

It's a lot worse in the US than it is in Britain which was something that immediately caught my eye when I first came here. At busy junctions with a traffic light there are almost always people standing there with cardboard signs talking about being homeless, sick, hungry etc.

There is no healthcare available to these people unlike in Britain where if somebody is sick or injured they simply go to the nearest hospital and there is no comprehensive welfare system. It's like a third world nation in many respects. Search google for Third World Health Care: Knoxville, Tennessee Edition and look at the video on dig.

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Re: Homelessness

Post by Bodacious Benny » Thu May 19, 2016 7:34 pm

Definitely noticed an increase where I live in the Midlands. There's quite a few near my work, rarely a day goes by that you don't see numerous homeless people.

I don't usually give money. I know someone who works part time at McDonald's and they get s*** loads of free burger and drinks coupons etc. He always gives some to me, if I go past a homeless person I'll give them out as I don't eat McDonald's unless I'm hammered.

I don't give money as although you can't judge, you don't know where it goes. I've seen people sleeping in underpasses with discarded cans of lager next to them. At least my giving food vouchers you know they're getting a hot meal.

You also get 'professional beggars' who have roofs over their head but beg for cash. I overheard one guy telling someone how he managed to get about £40 a day begging. It's not easy to weigh up the difference sometimes between people who genuinely have nothing and the element who do.
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Re: Homelessness

Post by Donkey Toon » Thu May 19, 2016 8:11 pm

Like LiDL i'm from a small island community and I am not aware of any homeless people here currently.

Actually the only one I can ever remember seeing was when I was a kid growing up and that was actually an old guy who just decided to up and walk away from the rat race. Walked out of his house one day and started living in the tunnels of an old german bunker complex by the coast and started keeping goats which grazed the grass on the nearby common. Supplementing his needs by scavenging through bins. I don't ever recall seeing him beg.

Strangely when he died the talk was that he left a house and cash amounting to nearly half a million to his daughter. And this was thirty years ago. The house alone would probably be worth more than double that in today's money.

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Re: Homelessness

Post by Mifune » Thu May 19, 2016 8:34 pm

Books like Down and Out in Paris and London certainly makes you empathise a lot more.

Once got told off by some local in Rio for sharing some food with a homeless guy <erm>.

Ironically the worst place I've ever seen homelessness is Vatican City. They're everywhere.

In London in the winter if you see homeless people about you can call Streetlink and give the location etc and they will go out and try and help them.

It's weird that you don't see many female homeless people about. I wonder if that is because they are more likely to go into prostitution or because they are just generally less likely to become homeless for whatever reason.

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Re: Homelessness

Post by Donkey Toon » Thu May 19, 2016 8:49 pm

mifune wrote:Books like Down and Out in Paris and London certainly makes you empathise a lot more.

Once got told off by some local in Rio for sharing some food with a homeless guy <erm>.

Ironically the worst place I've ever seen homelessness is Vatican City. They're everywhere.

In London in the winter if you see homeless people about you can call Streetlink and give the location etc and they will go out and try and help them.

It's weird that you don't see many female homeless people about. I wonder if that is because they are more likely to go into prostitution or because they are just generally less likely to become homeless for whatever reason.
Same thing happened to me in Mexico for giving money to a kid. He told me that because of the poverty many parents were keeping their kids out of school to beg. I hadn't even considered that as an option at the time.

Haven't read Down and Out, but have read "Autiobiography of a Supertramp" by W.G. Davies and I imagine that the effect is much the same. <ok>

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Re: Homelessness

Post by Mifune » Thu May 19, 2016 8:59 pm

I guess that is a fair enough point, but at the same time I think that even if nobody gave them money they would not be getting sent to school but instead getting told to do other stuff to try and earn money by their parents.

It's a really great read <ok>. Haven't read that but will probably give it a read at some point <ok>. Think Skalps mentioned another book of the same ilk in the books thread too.

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Re: Homelessness

Post by skalpel » Thu May 19, 2016 9:19 pm

LiDL wrote:To my knowledge we have one on this island. I mean there are obviously more but there's this one guy who hangs around the car parks and he's the only one who's at all noticeable.
Seems really weird that there'd be one notable guy. For some reason it feels to me like there's more reason for people to help him out because it's like one individual in a single community.
LiDL wrote:I think the key thing though, more than just giving money, is actually acknowledging homeless people. Treat them like actual people and talk to them. I noticed that basically everybody just walks straight past and I know I've been guilty of it plenty.
Yeah, it's amazing and genuinely sad to see how some people must just imagine that homeless people are part of the furniture of a city or some other species or something. Just the other day I saw a woman walking with two Waitrose carrier bags (you couldn't make that part up) and rather than adjust her direction to pass a homeless guy sat on the pavement, she just walked straight forwards and raised one of her arms so the carrier bag just floated half an inch over his head like he was a bollard or something. She didn't even look down either.

JFK-1 wrote:It's a lot worse in the US than it is in Britain which was something that immediately caught my eye when I first came here. At busy junctions with a traffic light there are almost always people standing there with cardboard signs talking about being homeless, sick, hungry etc.
Nearing the end of my travels in the US, I went to the outskirts of a city to find somebody who might need all of my camping gear; sleeping bag, tent, etc. I met this awesome guy with a sign by the side of a Denny's who was the most thankful I've ever seen anybody for anything. Guy gave me a hug and we had a great chat. What I thought was really weird though was that so many US cities (and especially the outskirts) are just car zones. Sometimes don't even have a sidewalk. So who was this guy expecting to come along and help him out? He seemed so oddly placed. Do people actually pull over and chat and help out?


Bodacious Benny wrote:I don't give money as although you can't judge, you don't know where it goes. I've seen people sleeping in underpasses with discarded cans of lager next to them. At least my giving food vouchers you know they're getting a hot meal. You also get 'professional beggars' who have roofs over their head but beg for cash. I overheard one guy telling someone how he managed to get about £40 a day begging. It's not easy to weigh up the difference sometimes between people who genuinely have nothing and the element who do.
I've lived in cities in Europe where there's basically a syndicate of fake homeless people, usually north African women holding babies for the sympathy. But regarding your first point there, I agree that I'd usually rather offer someone a meal but it's so easy and common for people to turn to drink and drugs when they've been utterly crushed by long term rough sleeping that I don't know if avoiding helping them out monetarily is really the right thing to do. They still need the basics, like cash for a roof at night or other basic supplies.
mifune wrote:It's a really great read <ok>. Haven't read that but will probably give it a read at some point <ok>. Think Skalps mentioned another book of the same ilk in the books thread too.
The People of the Abyss by Jack London <ok>. There's a sort of pattern of similar books each which takes influence from the last.

How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis (1890) in New York
The People of the Abyss by Jack London (1902) in London
Down & Out in Paris & London by George Orwell (1933)

Jack London's is the best one of the three for me. It's one of my favourite books of all time.

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Re: Homelessness

Post by Donkey Toon » Thu May 19, 2016 9:25 pm

mifune wrote:I guess that is a fair enough point, but at the same time I think that even if nobody gave them money they would not be getting sent to school but instead getting told to do other stuff to try and earn money by their parents.

It's a really great read <ok>. Haven't read that but will probably give it a read at some point <ok>. Think Skalps mentioned another book of the same ilk in the books thread too.
That's it. Many of the locals were campaigning to stop tourists from giving to the child beggars, but at the same time were doing nothing to alleviate the problem of poverty. The parents being left with a Hobson's choice of: a) send your kid to school, starving and homeless, or b) send the kid begging, to earn the money to feed him and provide a roof over his head (for the whole family), but missing out on an education.

Was my first step to realising what a lucky f*** I was growing up in a part of the world where having to have such a choice had never even occurred to me.

Yeah i'll give Down and Out a go. Add it to the ever increasing pile of books to read. :)

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Re: Homelessness

Post by JFK-1 » Thu May 19, 2016 10:17 pm

JFK-1 wrote:It's a lot worse in the US than it is in Britain which was something that immediately caught my eye when I first came here. At busy junctions with a traffic light there are almost always people standing there with cardboard signs talking about being homeless, sick, hungry etc.
Nearing the end of my travels in the US, I went to the outskirts of a city to find somebody who might need all of my camping gear; sleeping bag, tent, etc. I met this awesome guy with a sign by the side of a Denny's who was the most thankful I've ever seen anybody for anything. Guy gave me a hug and we had a great chat. What I thought was really weird though was that so many US cities (and especially the outskirts) are just car zones. Sometimes don't even have a sidewalk. So who was this guy expecting to come along and help him out? He seemed so oddly placed. Do people actually pull over and chat and help out?
Standing out in busy places can quickly attract police attention and there are even people who appear to take pleasure in calling the police to report it while simply driving past and seeing someone holding a sign at a junction.

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Re: Homelessness

Post by ALF » Thu May 19, 2016 10:51 pm

Got a few in my town, I no longer give them anything because one was a convicted sex offender and murderer if I remember correctly and others have just been plain rude. Feel like I'm being pressured into giving money.

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Re: Homelessness

Post by Speedo » Fri May 20, 2016 7:16 am

I'm in London and it's awful. A friend of mine volunteered for a homeless food kitchen sort of thing near Waterloo station, and he said it was unbelievable how many there were. They reckon the are a couple of thousand within a mile of Waterloo station. Most of them aren't "beggars" but there's an enormous amount of it. It's awful.
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Re: Homelessness

Post by Ramone » Fri May 20, 2016 8:40 am

I've not really noticed a massive increase in Newcastle to be honest but I was in Belfast at New Year and it was awful, seemed like there was 3-5 people on every street begging for money.
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Re: Homelessness

Post by overseasTOON » Fri May 20, 2016 9:37 am

I was homeless once for almost a month.

I'd just paid up a full months rent and depoist to my landlord after moving to a brand new city for a new job and was pretty much broke.

My new landlord decided to have a party in my flat without telling me so when I came back from work about 1am he had 20 people in the flat trashing the place and he was having sex with someone in my bed.

I asked him to leave and take his mates with him so I could get some sleep but he told me to **** off because it was his house. I then phoned the police to ask if they could be of help and after a while the police showed up and asked him to leave because he didn't live there and I had a contract proving it.

He punched the WPC in the face and all hell kicked off and he was arrested.

Turns out my landlord was a renowned gangster and I was informed by the police that it'd be best if I wasn't still living there when he was released so at about 6am I had all my possessions packed and in the back of a taxi and didn't know where the hell I could go as I knew no-one.

I decided the best I could do was ask work if I could store my stuff in one of the spare storerooms they had and they allowed it.

No-one had a spare room for long enough so I managed to mix sleeping under a bridge with occassionly sleeping on someones kitchen floor and grabbing a few hours kip on the couch at work for the best part of a month until pay day and I got into a new flat.

It sucked but I was lucky enough to have a job and a way out so since then I've always donated to Crisis and take time out to chat with a few guys around Clapham or Victoria.

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Re: Homelessness

Post by Duke » Fri May 20, 2016 9:48 am

Ramone wrote:I've not really noticed a massive increase in Newcastle to be honest but I was in Belfast at New Year and it was awful, seemed like there was 3-5 people on every street begging for money.
I don't remember you asking my permission to come over here.
I dunno

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Re: Homelessness

Post by Ramone » Fri May 20, 2016 9:53 am

Duke wrote:
Ramone wrote:I've not really noticed a massive increase in Newcastle to be honest but I was in Belfast at New Year and it was awful, seemed like there was 3-5 people on every street begging for money.
I don't remember you asking my permission to come over here.
Shut up.
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Re: Homelessness

Post by Duke » Fri May 20, 2016 10:27 am

I've noticed quite a few homeless around but I don't really have anything to base it against because there's only Belfast over here and I'm never really in Dublin. There's a LOT of Romanians here at the minute and they make up probably 80% of them. I wish they'd f*** off. I'm not racist or xenophobic but they contribute literally nothing to the community. Very few of them work and none of their kids go to school, they're here purely to sponge off the government/beg/sell roses outside nightclubs/be d***s.
I dunno

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Re: Homelessness

Post by Colback's Orange Tufts » Fri May 20, 2016 11:15 am

Liverpool has a real issue with this, with far too little shelter space in the middle and a large number of men who lost their jobs decades ago and ended up on the streets. Trying to work out how (donations aside) I can help the local charity with the amount of travelling for work I do. It's awful.

Many of these people have substance abuse issues and hang out around the main train station, which doesn't help with first impressions of Liverpool
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Re: Homelessness

Post by Perch's First Touch » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:10 am

Annoys me that with the amount of resources a country like ours has we still have homelessness. I mean isn't that exactly why the welfare system was created? To prevent it and give those without a helping hand to get on to their feet. My Mum constantly tells me "you're only 6 decisions away from being homeless". It's frightening to think how close it is.
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