Wednesday, 9 March 2016

F*ck Homeless People?

I spent a day in London interviewing homeless people on the world's current topic 'Are the homeless fakes?'. This is the feedback I got and an honest opinion from me to the world wide web.

I read the tabloids daily and I can often be found rolling my eyes, nodding or sighing out loud at the words printed on the pages, people's opinions and at what is going on in the world around me. Even if I am close to missing my train I will still take the chance and pick up a copy of the Metro. In my opinion, it is massively important to be clued up about the world’s politics and news.

I have read many articles in the press recently debating the taboo topic of homeless people. Are homeless people actually a thing? Are they all fakes that make £200 a day? Are they truly as worse of as they appear? As a trainee journalist myself I put my national paper down, jumped straight of the Northern Line tube on my way home, whipped my shorthand notebook out of my coat pocket and took to the busy streets of London's Camden Town. 

Many people now believe that homeless people are extinct. Some believe that they are actually sitting in a £200K home in the evenings and laughing while counting their earnings from that day. Sadly it has been proven that in fact this is true in some cases and some people do pretend to be homeless as a part-time way to bring in income. But I put this to you; just because some people decide to earn money this way does not mean that homeless people are extinct. It is a very real and heartbreaking problem that happens across the UK, the streets of our beloved London and across the globe. 

It’s an egregious mistake to believe that every homeless person you see is a phony. People are struggling, so if you are reading this and you are a phony it’s now partly your fault that the homeless are becoming poorer. People have stopped donating and putting money in a cup because of you, because you were selfish enough to make the globe believe that being homeless is no longer an ecumenical problem.

The first person I sat down next to was a 25-year-old lady named Lily. I handed her one of the fresh bottles of water I had just purchased from a Tesco Extra and she grinned the most beautiful grin at me. It was full of gratitude and she generally appeared to be over the moon over something we view as so normal.  I explained about the article I wanted to write and she gave her consent and asked for her surname not to be identified, of course, I will be respecting her privacy and will not identify her. Lily explained to me that after these recent speculations she was struggling even more than usual. She explained ‘street life’ to me and said you can spot a phony a mile away.

Taken from my notes and quoted by Lily: “A phony you can spot a mile away. At 5pm they stand up, throw on a decent jumper, comb their hair and call their wife asking what’s for dinner.

“I wish that was the case for me. At 5pm I take my mere couple of pound to usually a pound shop and pick up my dinner for that night, but I always buy my dog a can of dog food first. I then go down an alleyway, ignore the drunks that tend to bully us homeless and curl up for the night with my dog.

“Me and Tiggles (her dog) have each other, I always put him first. He always eats first and he keeps me company. He is my world.

“I wish people didn’t think so low of me. I tried; I had a good job as a cleaner. I did my bit to pay my taxes. I moved in with who I thought was the love of my life and it just didn’t work out. I became homeless, I never wanted to be homeless, I tried.”

At that moment, she crumbled. She told me about her ex-partner and how he domestically abused her so she had to flee. Her life was in danger and she left with £30 in her pocket and with no savings, as he had always controlled her money. She took to London and slept rough for one night. Of course, that one night turned into her speaking to me four months later, on the same street of Camden Tow. 

You see it’s a vicious cycle. You become homeless so keeping a job while not being able to get a good nights sleep, shower and eat properly becomes impossible to manage.

Lily got herself a cleaning job and was fired because of turning up to work tired. She had that job so she could save up and get a place to get herself off the streets of London.

I’m sure you’re wondering how Lily is doing now. I wrote my mobile number down and told her if she ever can get in contact to do so if she so wished. I took her for lunch that day and promised her things would get better. I got a phone call yesterday and recognised her voice instantly. Lily and Tiggles are now happily homed. I wrote down a list of domestic abuse charities, which help women in need, and they took on her case and helped her get a place where she could be safe. She has applied for many jobs now and has interviews coming up, so I wish Lily every bit of luck as I know she can read this now.

So no, we shouldn’t ‘f*ck homeless people off’. 'But some of them are fake', well yes but you could say that about anything. 'Some men are rapists', 'some women are whores', 'some people are rude' yet we argue everyday as a nation that you should never give up on those in need, never stereotype and never judge. We battle those arguments every day and yet people are giving up on the homeless because there are some fakes out there? Imagine a world that gave up on every single situation like that, a world where we just gave up. I know for a fact I won't be part of it.

Let me know what other type of columns you would like to see from myself on opinions, stories, my own antics and news in the comments and also I would love to know and would be grateful to know your opinion on this topic!

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