Homelessness and its Causes and Resolutions

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  • Homelessness is a political football. All parties pretend they will tackle it, but none of them do, or can. Why? Do they have the political will? Not really, but even if they did, there are so few options available to politicians to remedy the problem, that it is easier to just say that they will eradicate it rather than actually do anything.

    It's a subject I've always felt compassion about because if you actually speak to a homeless person rather than just walk past them, you will discover that they are not a druggie, or a wino, or a tramp or a bum. Of course some are, but they became that way for a reason, but most of them are just men and women, or even kids, who have fallen on bad times, desperate with no one to turn to and no one to listen to them.

    In 2012, I walked to work and each day I would pass this lad with nowhere to go and he was just sat on a concrete post with a carrier bag for a cushion, huddled in a blanket. At first I did what most people do, ignored him. I would walk past him day in, day out, but one day I noticed he was coughing furiously and I just asked him if he was OK. "Not really" he said. "But thanks for asking". I asked him if he had anything like cough medicine or things like that and he said he didn't. He had no money as he had no address and without an address they couldn't track him on the system. They had offered him a place, in Two Saints Hostel, but he refused as it was primarily a hostel for drug and alcohol abusers inwhich to rehabilitate, except they don't. And the lad did not want to be led down a path he might not be able to get to the end of. Anyway, I gave him twenty pounds. I told him to go to Wetherspoons, get a hot meal and a coffee and to use the rest to buy some cough medicine. He reluctantly took the money but think he felt awkward.

    About a week later, I saw him curled up under a tree and his cough clearly not better. I went up to him and just touched his forehead to check he was OK. Boy was he hot, he was burning up. I couldn't believe that in 21st Century Britain, there were demands from MP's to be charitable to migrants and people even offered to house one, but Brits, like this young man were being ignored and forgotten about by their fellow countrymen, the same countrymen willing to open their homes to foreign visitors. I phoned in work and told them I wouldn't be in, and I helped the young man to his feet and told him he was coming home with me, he needed someone to look out for him.

    I settled him on the sofa, gave him the chance to be warm before suggesting he shower (which he willingly did) and I gave him some fresh joggers and a tee-shirt to wear. After a couple of days his cough did get better, I just kept dosing him up with paracetamol and Nurofen and with a combination of that, hot meals, warmth and a clean and quiet place to sleep, he recovered.

    After a couple of weeks I sat down with him and told him we needed to evaluate the situation, and he told me why he was homeless. He was 23 years old. He lived with his dad, his mum had died when he was 7. But his dad beat him up, constantly. When he was 19 he had his ribs broken. So, he left and tried to live his dads sister but his dad had turned his aunt against him. So, he had no choice other than just find somewhere to kip. The council offered him the Two Saints placement but he refused as it would remind him of the violence he encountered with his father.

    I went with him to the council offices who said he had to apply to go on the housing list, but as he was homeless they could fast track him a place, but it would require him going to Two Saints. Something he was not prepared to do. Without him going to a homeless hostel and registering as homeless, there wasn't anything else they could do. They also wanted proof of his fathers address and he was terrified at the thought of involving his father. But reluctantly he gave them his fathers address and thankfully, when they checked it out, they were given the confirmation that Aidan (the lads name) was being truthful. The father was aggressive and told them Aidan was not allowed to go home. After a ploy by myself to get him housed, he agreed to go to Two Saints, but he would spend the day 8am - 10pm in my flat and just go to the hostel and his room to sleep. This went on for two and a half months and eventually he was given a studio flat by the Housing Authority. He took the flat and got himself a job driving for Sainsbury's delivering online Grocery orders. He is now a department manager in Sainsbury's in Theale and is getting married and has a child on its way. He sends me a Christmas parcel of luxury food every year and keeps in touch. He called me his guardian angel.

    Sometimes you have to see things for more than they appear. Sometimes people just need a bit of luck. I actually am very fond of Aidan. He's like a foster son to me, he never once abused my hospitality and showed nothing but gratitude and kindness towards me. I just urge people to say hello to the homeless, don't ignore them. Before anyone offers their home to a foreign stranger, they should really ask themselves why are they not doing the same for a Homeless, and desperate British person.

  • I know all about this as homelessness has become a huge problem where I am, but some people who have done what you have done have lived to regret it. Mr Wing and I have also lived to regret trying to help folk who are not honest. They steal, they take advantage and they lie. Then back they go on the street to find another willing sucker.

    If you manage to choose a good person, as you obviously did, then your altruism will pay off and you really will have helped someone. If not, you can end up sorry and minus some of your possessions.

    How to make homelessness history? You can't. The poor will always be with us, but reducing their misfortune is what must be tackled and to do that you need nationalism. Sorry if this pees off any lib-lefties but it is the only way to address the problem. Because small is better, and belonging to a nation makes you part of a large family and being easily reintegrated into it is far better than setting one group of underprivileged against another, especially if the favoured group is a foreign economic migrant or refugee.

    I agree with you 100% that charity begins at home. :thumbup:

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore

  • I agree Little Wing, that sometimes people get bad experiences and get their kindness thrown back in their face. But I would not help a drug addict for instance, not because I'm uncaring, but because they are given numerous options in which to rehabilitate themselves but choose not to. They fund their habit through any means possible and as such they might be grateful to you for helping them, but ultimately they would steal off you to fund their addiction. Places like the hostel I described in my opening post exist to help such people, but they have to be willing to help too, often they are not, they want it all and believe they are entitled. Aidan was different. I chatted to him for a while before I made the decision to take him in. The fact he refused hostelry accommodation because he did not want to be amongst drug abusers and such like, suggested to me he wanted to live a normal life but just needed someone to help him. I probably wouldn't do the same thing again but I would always try and help a person in any way I could if I had the means and ability.

  • Excellent thread wizzywick. :thumbup::thumbup: Well done on helping the homeless chap, I don't think many people could do what you did. :) I don't (and still don't) live in a house of my own, but if I had, my reaction would've been the same as yours.

    The most similar story that I have to you concerns when I worked at a building at London Bridge on the site of what is now the The Shard.

    Everyday I would walk over London Bridge and the hellish rat warren of walkways that linked the end of the bridge to the main station. One day there was a homeless kid there, probably no older than 18 at a stretch. He was sitting on the cold pavement, with a thin blanket over him.

    Like most Londoners, I walked past him everyday, but after a few weeks, I noticed he was getting paler, thinner and started to cough. He was thin to begin, when I first saw him, but I could see he was rapidly deteriorating. I started to stop and talk to him a bit and give him some money and started to bring him tea and sandwiches at lunchtime. After a few more weeks, he was comfortable to talk to me and told me his background.

    He said he was 19 (he looked younger more like 16 at most) and said he came from Leeds. He said his dad died when he was young and his mum had had various boyfriends since then. Her latest boyfriend didn't like him and started hitting him. He appealed to his mum to get rid of him and instead she chucked him out instead. He said he did a few labouring jobs, until he joined a circus, but that was seasonal and after that was finished, he was out of options in Leeds, so thought London would be better for him and used the last money he had to get on a train to the capital.

    After he told me his background, a day or so later, I asked him if I could sort out some emergency accommodation or a hostel for him. He'd already been in a hostel and he explained (like others) what can happen in them, especially if you're young..... I said I should be able to access council housing for him (I'd already spoken to the charities Crisis and Shelter on this) but he would need to go in a hostel first. He refused, but was interested in speaking to the council and Crisis himself. He didn't have any money, but said he would like to phone them up. I didn't have any money on myself right at the moment, but i said he could come into my office and use the phone and check things on the internet in the evening, once my boss and work colleagues had gone.

    In the evening, I couldn't get him into the office through the main entrance right near the mainline station, as he would never have got past the security guards. I sneaked him instead via the back entrance where the building's car park was (right by the underground station entrance) and as the gates and doors to the building there were all electronically controlled, there was no security guards. As we got into the building, there was a gym, squash courts and showers there. I asked him if he wanted a shower, but he was too nervous so we went up to my floor using a post room lift.

    At my desk, he left a message with the council housing office, it was 9pm by then and they had all gone home and made an appointment to see some people from Crisis later. He used the computer to check various things on the internet and then I took him to one of the service areas where there are a load of vending machines serving everything from soup to cola, sandwiches to chocolate. I got him a load of stuff, we went back to the desk, he ate all that, coughing the whole time, his health was in serious decline. I gave him some money, then I escorted out of the building through the back entrance. He said he would tell me tomorrow how he got on, but I never heard from him again.

    I would like to think it all ended well for him, but am not so sure. I did phone Crisis and gave them the name he gave me, but they have no record of anyone coming to them on that night with the name he gave me. It's quite possible the money I gave him had been used to spend on drugs and booze.

    Unlike wizzywick's experience, I've seen a lot of homeless people in my time in London and most of them were on drugs and drink. I will share some other experience s too, but that was the most involved I ever got. I don't think it was anywhere near enough.

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  • Horizon, what you did was plenty. People have to be prepared to accept responsibility for themselves too. Aidan did and he succeeded in life where others fail. Your kindness may have startled the youngster, or it may have made him realise that London has nothing to offer him so he spent the money on a train ticket back to Leeds. I'm a Samaritan and as harsh as it sounds, some people struggle when others offer kindness, partly because of the brutality they experienced from others and partly because they don't know how to reciprocate. You did way more than anyone else have probably ever done for him.

  • I would like to see governments use some of the taxpayers' contributions that they waste on a number of other mad things to establish, maintain and utilize hostels, workshops and colleges for the genuinely underprivileged. They should be Spartan, as they can't expect luxury, but they should be safe, safeguarded and what they offer should be audited, monitored and evaluated for integrity on a regular basis. These should not be partisan affairs and should have no religious or ideological grounding. They should be specially so homeless, abused and impoverished folk can climb out of holes.

    Prisons have facilities for rehabilitation, yet the ordinary non-criminal citizen who falls into a hole ends up on the street, the potential victim of everything that creeps out of the subway after dark.

    This would be a specialist national network of aid centres that were open to public scrutiny because the public's money would be funding them. Not charities but national shelters so that as few as possible of the nation's underprivileged ended up among drug dealers and pimps, or in the street in all weathers.

    Relying on individual altruists is pathetic when the dangers involved in helping strangers can lead to murder and theft, rape and exploitation on both sides. People in trouble and in need should be catered for by national institutions. This shouldn't be for opportunists but for genuine cases of need. Many young people need these shelters as many are abused and deprived. Many elderly also end up on the street. The generous individual can't be expected to solve this problem and as the governments of the world rake in every unit of currency they can squeeze out of their populations of spenders and workers, the least they can do is give the nation's needy a chance on some of that cash.

    Politicians living in grand houses and driving state of the art cars while their own people starve in the gutter is positively obscene. Because those same falsely powerful people are so by means of the same cash flow the hapless workers of the nations are robbed of every time they buy a packet of sweets or come into any money they worked for.

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore

  • Only just seen your post above LW, but I think your ideas are excellent. Superb post.:thumbup::thumbup:

    What I can add to that? I fully agree.

    The only thing I could add to your ideas is I would extend them. Prisons are full of drug addicts, alcoholics, the abused and mentally ill. In time, these people should be offered these shelters. Perhaps for some of them, it maybe for the rest of their lives.

    Surely it would be cheaper to society in the long run having these centres, rather than dealing with after effects of drug addiction?

    I think your sentence about helping strangers can potentially lead to extreme danger for oneself is particularly pertinent, considering the story I'm going to link to below:

    A "manipulative" homeless man who turned on a family who befriended him has admitted the "frenzied" murder of the mother and her 13-year-old son.

    Tracey and Pierce Wilkinson were stabbed to death at their home in Stourbridge, West Midlands in March.

    I think what wizzwick did was extremely kind and generous, but this story illustrates the potential dangers in helping the homeless. The flip side to that story is it's usually the other way around. The homeless get abused and used as per the stories this year of the travellers keeping people as slaves, people they got from the streets.

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  • Yes, that story is a warning. It's why I think the problem shouldn't be left to altruists in society to handle. It should be a large scale effort by the government and social services and this would also create many employment opportunities, especially if the government set up training facilities for this staff.

    I also agree that incarcerating drug addicts is ridiculous. In fact incarcerating petty criminals is also of no use. The only people who should be in prison are violent rapists, murderers, and grand scale thieves. No one should be imprisoned for political incorrectness.

    I can empathise with the survivors of the family who helped the man in your link. We have been shafted by a number of this sort of person. Others have taken individuals into their homes and returned from work to find the place stripped. We have had tools stolen, we have been lied to so the seemingly hapless and desperate drifter can get money and many benefactors have been attacked and some have been killed, as you have pointed out in your link.

    Charity is not the answer as governments are perfectly capable of setting up places for a number of social welfare cases who can be housed outside of prisons. When you look at the sheer waste of tax payers' funds, you see the basic failings of governments stand out. When you have large populations you have increased dependents, homeless and victims due to a number of factors affecting the nation and the economy. Expecting the problem to be assuaged by kind members of the public is an atrocious way of admitting the government can't solve it, or won't.

    Importing cheap labour or target populations of foreigners so as to change society to fit in with some idiotic model of idealistic do-goodiness is madder than a brush factory. You now have terror cells all over your cities. What did they expect? But they refuse to be held responsible. They just keep taking your money and spending it on things that aren't doing much for you, especially if you happen to be one of the unfortunates who ends up in the street, or unemployed, or old, or sick. They are always promising you the earth but delivering dirt to your door instead.

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore

  • A homeless man has been jailed for life for a minimum of 30 years for murdering a mother and son who had helped him.

    Good. The killer been put away, but as I said earlier, I think with some people the State will always need to look after them, it's just a case of where and in what circumstances.

    I don't know the killer's background, but perhaps if there had been a intervention by the State earlier, well before he became homeless, this may never have happened. Unless he is a psychopath, and something like this was always going to occur at some point.

    I know this may sound cold, especially as the mother and boy are dead, but why on earth would two parents expose their children, or one child at least, to a complete stranger off the streets in their own home?

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  • Because they are in turn the victims of a philosophy that causes people to be overtly charitable and to put themselves in danger for the sake of a warm glow. It's a very decent ambition that can have very serious consequences. It is the fluffy side of a more insidious intention to take advantage of people's decency and to call anyone who refuses to become an acolyte, a nasty "bigot". I've seen it over and over again for years as their little trolls pop up and castigate you if you don't dribble charity and your heart doesn't pump custard every time a beetle squeaks.

    What happened to these people is beyond horrific.

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore

  • The number of elderly people becoming homeless in England has surged by 100 per cent in seven years, figures show.

    People over the age of 60 are now twice as likely to register with local councils as homeless than they were seven years ago, with the figure having risen from 1,210 in 2009 to 2,420 last year.

    While overall homelessness has increased in the same period, rising by 42 per cent from 41,790 to 59,260, government data shows the figure for elderly people has surged by more than double as much.

    Important as Brexit is, perhaps it's now time for Parliament to limit the time spent discussing it and to get on with some of the many and growing domestic problems, especially homelessness, the NHS and care for the elderly.

    I've always been a Tory but I really don't see how we can go on like this.

  • I agree Morgan and that's why I've said on here that's Corbyn's message on these issues resonates with me.

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  • So we have elderly without a home whilst other elderly people are in houses much too big for themselve alone. Perhaps some initiative, like a council tax break, for those who will welcome a homeless elderly person to share the load of a household and also companionship?

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.


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  • That's actually a really good idea, Heero. Let me ponder this further, you know how long I take to ponder things.... and I'll come back with a more detailed reply.

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  • A number of councils in England are regularly buying one-way train tickets for homeless people out of their area, the Victoria Derbyshire show has found.

    Some spent more than £1,000 a year on fares and charity Homeless Link called the scale "worrying".

    The strategy can be used to reconnect rough sleepers with family, but one man said he was offered a ticket to a city he had never been to before

    I can understand a council doing this if its sending the homeless person back to their own town, but an arbitrary "get lost" which is what this appears, is disgusting.

    Homelessness will never be resolved if councils just ship the problem off onto to somewhere else.

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  • Homeless people have told of their shock after a man died in a shop doorway during a night of freezing temperatures.

    The body of Rob O'Connor was found in Springfield Road, Chelmsford on Friday morning.

    Essex Police said Mr O'Connor's death is being treated as unexplained.

    Although temperatures in the city dropped below 0C (32F) on the night of his death, his friends say he had been suffering with his health in general.

    I gave some money to the homeless charity Crisis over Christmas time, but for those on the streets, they are homeless all year round, not just at Christmas.

    I used to work in central London and had to work many a time late at night into the early hours. I've seen with my own eyes what happens to someone when they've been on the streets in freezing temperatures and it looks like something from a horror film. There was always a certain time in London when the bodies were cleared in the early hours, so all "looked" good for the tourists and commuters later on in the day.

    When my ex-firm moved into it's new HQ above Charing Cross station, the police were ordered to clear all the homeless who used to shelter in the arches out of the area, so it all looked nice for us office workers when we spent two seconds passing through each day...

    As I type this pondering various things in my heated home, my thoughts go out to those on the streets.

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  • Had a little bit of a shock tonight which upset a member of my family who was with me.

    A new Lidl store has recently opened in my town, so we went out to have a look at it. Next to the store is a library and we went in there to get some new reading material. As we came out of the library, there is a small alley between the library and shop and we could see a cardboard box there....

    There was no-one in the box at the second we looked in, but there was someone's jacket and a blanket. 21st century Britain and people are sleeping in cardboard boxes in freezing temperatures. This should not happen. If we had found someone in the box, we would have at least have given the person some money.

    When we got home, we had dinner around 9pm and felt totally sick as we stuffed ourselves with tons of newly bought food from Lidl in our warm home.


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  • It's important to remember that that the case the OP has written about, 'Aiden's', are a very small minority and are very rare case scenarios when considering homelessness. Generally, work ethic and self help don't go hand in hand with homelessness as it is often a severe lack of these characteristics that see them in this scenerio to begin with. There are many services already available to help people like Aiden get back on track, the problem is there are too many people who, often through no fault of their own, don't possess the ability to help themselves, and although admirable I would be very wary of stepping in and making yourself vulnerable to someone who is most likely getting by on manipulating others and stealing, and will often play the victim act down to a Tee.

  • Horizon

    Set the Label from Super Topic to Central Thread