In England there is approximately 158,000 people homeless each year, and 80% of homeless are male and the other 20% is female and the main reason why the male percentage is so high is because of marriage and relationship breakdowns. One minute they have everything and in the next breath they have nothing. The reason there is only 20% women is because there's less female than male because if they have kids, the women gets to keep the kids because you government isn't allowed to make children homeless so the mother and children will most likely keep the house they have or be rehoused. Yet the father has been put on the streets with nowhere to go. Yes sometimes people are homeless because of their own faults they have been alcohol and drug addicts. Or have mental health issues which they can't control and need maggs help, and so on. But it's mostly men due to marriage and relationship breakdowns. And there is roughly 40 rough sleepers in my local area. Rough being sleeping in doorways and alleyways. Yet people say they are homeless when they sofa surf or sleep in a hostel and have use of a shower and so on. That in not classed a proper homeless person as they have a roof over their head they say homeless but the actual homeless are the rough sleepers who sleep in door ways and alleyways.
So what I did this weekend was go to my local homeless shelter it's called Maggs and give out bags with the daily essentials they need, like a toothbrush and toothpaste, a clean t-shirt and socks, shower gel. Flannel, wipes, The list is endless. Give them somethings that we use on the everyday basis. Make them feel a little normal and be able to wash them self's and feel a little bit better about themselves.
When I went to maggs yesterday I spoke to an ex homeless person called Craig and asked him how he ended up homeless and what it is actually like to he homeless so this is what Craig said Craig's own words on how he ended up homeless...
"I was working as a barber, but then I started drinking regularly. This impacted on my work and I stopped going in. Inevitably, I then lost my job. This made me drink even more, I started building up debts as my priority was getting a drink, all I could think about was where my next drink was coming from. My debts got so bad that I ended up losing my home and sleeping on people’s sofas. But you can only do this for so long before you outstay your welcome.
The way I coped was to drink even more I hid all this from my parents until it got to the point where I had nowhere else to go, but I had to promise them that I would not drink any more. I then went on a ten week alcohol rehab course and then moved in with my parents. Finally I built my life up again. I even started my own barber business; this only lasted eight months as I started drinking again. I used it as a reward, if I had a good week I would have a few cans at the weekend, but it never stopped at a few cans. It got to the point where I was actually drinking more than the last time I got myself in a rut. I lost everything again and ended up sleeping in my shop for two months. It was very lonely, and my method of coping was to drink even more. Alcohol was my new best friend, I just had to survive from day to day; that was my mission each day; just to get a drink.
Then a former work college came to visit me from Scotland. He gave me a book about the mission; the book inspired me to turn my life around. The man also introduced me to a small Christian network; this meant I went from having nobody to having a supportive group of friends. I felt there were people around me who could accept me for who I was. At this time I went to stop with a friend who subsequently became my partner, and slowly I started to build my life up again. Seven months later, after another detox I am still sober. My advice for people in a similar situation is don’t isolate yourself and seek out activities that you enjoy to take your mind off your addictions, and remember you are not alone. One of the activities I took up was painting, four months later I was commissioned to paint a piece depicting my homelessness experience, this was something I had in mind to do for my sober reward. However I agreed to paint the picture early. This picture ( below ) represents me whilst I was fighting my addictions and when I finally accepted help"
What it's actually like to be homeless I asked three current homeless people what it feels like to be homeless And this is what they had to say.....
Person1: Being homeless is nothing but circumstance, things happen that result in losing accommodation reasons can vary from person to person. I do feel like being homeless gives me a sense of freedom as I have no one to answer to. My plan is to move to Spain, I feel like the attitude in this country is you either work or die. Sometimes it’s not always that easy to go out and get a job, so how are people able to support themselves if the options are not open to them. Maggs day centre is a good thing to have and all major cities should have a place similar for the homeless and socially isolated.
Person2: Being homeless is a very lonely and isolating situation to find yourself in. It leads you to feel anxious because you don’t know where you’re going and where you’re going to sleep. Being homeless makes you feel secluded from society and lost with no known direction. It does however give you a sense of freedom. Maggs day centre is good as it gives you a place to socialise and helps out with the most essential needs, including having a shower, being able to change clothes, being out of the cold and having a hot drink and meal. I became homeless because of a relationship breakdown, it got so bad I started misusing drugs which resulted in me not taking responsibility of my accommodation, and this led to me losing it. I now plan to look for work, I haven’t worked for two years but it’s something I really want to get back into. I should hopefully have accommodation by the end of the day so the job hunt can begin.
Person3: Being homeless is the worst in the winter, the cold makes you feel horrendous. It’s even worse when you don’t have enough bedding to keep warm or it goes missing. I have found my bedding in bins before, it’s obvious they are placed in a certain area for a reason so why do people throw it away? The implications of this means I freeze throughout the night because I am unable to find anything else for the rest of the night. Washing and changing is very difficult as is looking for work, you can’t really get a job unless you have accommodation which then becomes a cycle, it’s hard to find accommodation when you don’t have a job, and hard to find a job without accommodation. I think the public’s perception of homelessness differs, however I have had members of the public approach me and say “you don’t look homeless” what exactly is a homeless person supposed to look like? I suffer with mental health problems, which is probably a factor of my homelessness. I have mood swings and sometimes my anger gets me into trouble including being kicked out of places. Maggs day centre is a good idea, it helps out with the basic needs including showering and changing; it’s always here when you need it. They ran a night shelter during the winter which became a life line, it got us out the cold. My plan for the future is to look for accommodation and a job
So if you ever want to feel what a homeless person feels...in the winter go outside without a coat for an hour or so and just sit there. Sit there until you can't take the cold anymore. Then think of how lucky you are to go back into a nice warm home, the homeless can't do that. They stay cold like that night after night.
Until yesterday I didn't actually realise how lucky I really was. I'm so lucky to have everything I do. Yesterday I seen a completely different side to the world and life. And that world and life isn't nice but in the 21st century it's what it's like and is quite sad to be honest.
When ever I'm near the homeless shelter now I'll always pop in and see if they need anything and ask if I can help with anything. After yesterday I'll always help the homeless as much as I can. And I think you, yes you reading this should help the homeless too Because you never know. You could one day be where they are right now. Yesterday was definitely an eye opener for me.