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homelessness, and how to help.

Discussion in 'Personal' started by dunnocks, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    so, have been very aware recently of the numbers sleeping rough around us in London and Brighton, and have had several tutees who were homeless at as teenagers.

    What helps?

    I would like to do something, but I don't know what works. I don't give money to beggars on principle, but will buy a meal or pass on clothing, although I want to do something a bit more substantial than that

    Grumpydogwoman mentioned "nightstop" and I asked her about it, but that was on someone elses thread , and I thought it would maybe better to start a separate thread about it.

    All expereinces and suggestions very welcome, even if you are saying what you have found by experience doesNOT work
    pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  2. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    We have a friend who is a Salvationist (Sally Army) and every Christmas asks for donations of toiletries or socks that just go straight to the people who need the help. I'm not very generous to charities but I think this is a very direct way of helping.
  3. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    this is for their hostel is it? Do the sally army have a hostel that opens at Christmas? Or is it all year round
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  4. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I think it's open all year round but our friend just asks for extras at Christmas.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

    Beggars and the S A are the only two recipients of my charity.
    I've got three spare rooms and I do feel guilty about it when there are homeless people sleeping rough 200yds from my house, but I can't just round these people up and install them ad infinitum. I can't afford to keep them, I don't know who is psychotic, drug-addicted or criminal, don't know what their friends are like, or if I should trust them with a key; and God knows what it will do to my insurance and DBS.
    Paying towards night shelters would be one thing to do but lots of homeless people have been chucked out of them.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. NewToTeachingOldToMaths

    NewToTeachingOldToMaths Lead commenter

    Don't ask US, Dunnocks ... ask THEM.

    Over the last quarter of a century, I have befriended a number of the rough sleepers, Big Issue sellers and so on in central London. I tell them I'd like to help and ask what they need, and the answer always differs. Be guided by them.

    One thing they all say is that they will NEVER sleep in the hostels ... because the hostels are full of drugs, and most of them are trying to get / stay clean.

    One Big Issue seller was desperately trying to put aside enough to buy a weekly travel ticket for £24 rather than dailies at £5 a day, which was costing £30 a week (coming into central London 6 days a week ... this was about 20 years ago!). I'd seen him and talked to him a lot, and knew that once he got started, he'd always manage to put aside the necessary £24 across the week for his next week's ticket ... so I just took him and bought his first weekly ticket. How much good did that investment do him? It earned him a 25% return PER WEEK ... indefinitely. Wow! Some return. Alternatively ... some tax on poverty going on there!!

    Another Big Issue seller was just moving into his first flat. He needed china and glassware. I brought him some old china and glassware which I would otherwise have thrown away. He was immensely grateful to have it ... I was immensely grateful to be rid of it. Win - win.

    Another was a qualified bricklayer. He said there was masses of work in London, if only he could get onto a site. I asked why he didn't. He said they expect you to have your own spirit level and work boots. I said OK ... there's a hardware store across the road. Let's go and buy you a spirit level. We found spirit levels, and I asked him which one he needed. He pointed to one and said "that's the cheapest". I said that wasn't what I asked - I asked which one he needed. He pointed to a rather more sophisticate spirit level. It was a lot dearer, but not the dearest. That was the spirit level he needed, so that was the spirit level I bought him, I then organized the boots too, and I've never seen him again. I assume he got onto one of the sites, and has managed to sort himself out. Probably sofa-surfing for a while with his new workmates, then getting his own place when he could afford to. It shouldn't have taken him too long ... like he said, there's good money to be made on the construction sites.

    So ... it's an individual thing, need. Take the time to get to know the homeless as individuals. Find out what is needed, then deliver it (if it is in your power to do so).

    As for me, yes, I do give money to beggars. Including those that I think may spend it on drink. I don't see a beggar so much as an individual in need. I do what I can to respond to their need and empower them to make choices; and I try not to impose my value judgments upon them.
  7. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    We have a local 'overnight shelter in our LA run by volunteers (our friends and other helpers) but it only runs during the colder months. They've been trying for over 5 years to get enough money to buy a permanent building, but it's slow going and property prices rising all the time.
    They provide a 'meals service from a van during the warmer months too.

    There are loads of restrictions about 'donations' though and duvets and pillows are refused. Blankets which can be laundered are better.

    Someone else mentioned about having a dog, which they thought odd, but we know this is so the dog can provide companionship and warmth and they are encouraged to keep one and veterinary care and help with food is also provided.
    frangipani123 likes this.
  8. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I have, quite a lot, and one thing that comes up over and over again is that you can't get a job without a home, and you can't get a home without a job, and you can't get either without a bank account, and you can't get a bank account without a home.....

    I can't provide any of those things, so what I'm asking is, what organisations do we know of between us, which DO provide these things EFFECTIVELY

    and how do we support them?

    Providing individual things to individual beggars, yes , I do that, but in the end, I'm not sure that it helps. I've known someone get robbed for what I've given her, for example, so she not only ended up without it, but injured too. :( and still homeless
  9. NewToTeachingOldToMaths

    NewToTeachingOldToMaths Lead commenter

    Yes ... I've heard about that vicious cycle too, Dunnocks.

    One thing I've been thinking about is trying to design a light, inexpensive, adjustable shelter that can be attached to a park bench and turn it into a weatherproof overnight shelter. I can't help thinking it would make sleeping on a bench slightly less intolerable if you were confident that you would not get soaked through if it rained in the night ...
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  10. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    that's interesting, are you designing this yourself? There are similar things in camping shops , for survival without tents, etc.

    have you thought about legal implications in "no camping2 areas, would it class as camping? also what about needing to see out, for safety reasons, and being able to pick it up in a hurry and leave if you are threatened.?
  11. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

  12. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    thank you monicabilongame. I've got this app quite recently. I haven't used it yet though. Does it work?
  13. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Isn't it already called a bivvy bag? They've just saved the lives of two walkers caught overnight in the Cairngorms. That plus a karrimat would be a start.

    Daft thing is teenagers at rock festivals abandon their pop up tents when they go home because they're so cheap. Some organisations collect them up and redistribute them to charities.
  14. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Whilst people sleeping rough have immediate pressing needs, what they really need are affordable homes, which requires political intervention to achieve.

    It is a national disgrace that for decades the homeless situation has been allowed to grow and our politicians have only paid lip service to tackle it. It's a disgrace that the Tory plans to build more houses are only for people to buy. That excludes the completely homeless from getting a look in.

    It's a disgrace that the Tories have told housing associations they must reduce rents by 1% per annum, thereby putting new building projects on hold and it's a disgrace that they've allowed private landlords to increase rents above increases in property prices.

    The only way the situation is going to change is by the public making this a significant political issue which threatens politicians jobs if they continue to act like arrses.

    For years we've been told there isn't the land to build on. Then miraculously, land can be found for an absurd high speed novelty railway which only a handful of people actually want.
  15. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I believe the co-op bank have a current account specially for homeless people.
  16. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    hopefully if people move out of rented accommodation to buy, than there will be more rented accommodation available.

    I don't understand the lack of land point, there's plenty of derelict buildings around here that could be torn down and rebuilt

    but anyway, which political party is doing something actively about these things right now? As opposed to wafling about them?
    slingshotsally likes this.
  17. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    really, now that is worth knowing, I'm going to look into this, and if its really true, then I'll start carrying information about it around with me, to inform anyone who tells me this is one of their main obstacles.

    thank you InkyP, that is exactly the sort of information that we can pool amongst ourselves ,and put to good use.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  18. rachelpaula008

    rachelpaula008 Star commenter

    I just put my head in my hands at this. You really don't get it.
    sabrinakat and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  19. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Indeed local Scouts / Guides and the Salvation Army this year benefit from 'clearing the site' after the annual Festival. It's ridiculous how much people think isn't worth saving. Agreed, some of it isn't, after a very wet one but an awful lot is!
  20. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    A friend's husband goes to Glastonbury every year with Greenpeace to do this, plus a few other things.

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