The Homeless. Does anybody care?

The Homeless. Does anybody care?


This article is designed to raise awareness of the tough subject of homelessness. It delves into the world of homelessness, what the definition of homelessness is, how people end up homeless, some examples and asks the question "Does anybody care?" . This is one of those articles that people tend to bypass thinking it will never happen to me, but we are all literally just a couple of steps away from being in the same situation. If what I think is coming is actually coming, then I think this is going to be much more common and you need to study this article, it's another brain fryer and be warned it doesn't make pleasant reading.

This article can't possibly cover everything to do with the homeless but aims to scratch the surface and maybe a bit deeper in some areas. Some of it is sad, some of it shocking.

The Oxford Dictionary Definition of Homeless

adjective

(Of a person) without a home, and therefore typically living on the streets

A woman who in the Christian faith we call a "Sister" I watch on You Tube (one of many) gave me the idea and inspiration to write this article. Her
video is called My Experience at a Homeless Shelter  . A true Christian this one, they are hard to find these days. She's not exactly pro church but in my opinion it's just a case of finding the right one. If you check her channel she recommends other videos/channels but I can't vouch for those.

She's done it, I've done it, everybody has done it, seen somebody sitting down on the streets with just a sleeping bag and a few other items of no fiscal value for company, a begging note written on a piece of cardboard, we've looked or maybe worse looked the other way and then carried on walking down the road and done nothing.

I've been thinking about this a lot the last few days. Despite the governments efforts to get homeless people off the streets, there seems to be more of them.

Scenario 1
Walking through an underpass in London this week, a homeless guy asked me for a light, I just looked at him said No and carried on regardless. At least I looked and spoke to him. Everybody else just ignored him.

I felt terrible afterwards and remembered 5 minutes later I had a disposable lighter in the bottom of my bag so went all the way back and gave him the lighter (full and new) half thinking he'd probably be offended. He looked at me, looked at the lighter like it was a bar of gold and said "Thankyou so much Sir... Thankyou" and his lady friend gave me a big smile and said the same. The lighters are 5 or 6 for a pound down poundland, he knows that, but to that man it meant the world, not just the lighter but the fact somebody cared, took an interest in his situation and was willing to help. Total amount of time, couple of minutes......cost 20p or so. Made his day....made my day as well. If I would have given him 20p it would not have had the same effect and probably would have offended.

Scenario 2

This following video below is another example of peoples attitude to homeless people and sums up the world we live in today, the world of celebrity culture. It starts with a famous footballer getting dressed up as a homeless person heading out on the streets and starts doing amazing stunts like a world class footballer and seeing the reaction of the people walking by. The response is initially frosty to luke warm at best but after some time he gets a crowd of onlookers who eventually start thinking that maybe this person isn't who he makes out to be. One kid asks for his autograph whilst he is still in his homeless disguise and that's when he reveals who he is. Of course you can guess what happens after that but that one kid accepted him for what he was at the time.

VIDEO: Cristiano Ronaldo disguised himself as a homeless man and takes to the streets.

Scenario 3

If you were homeless and living on the East Coast of the US during that recent Winter Storm blizzard 2016 you can imagine what it must have been like out on the streets. The conditions were described as "life threatening".

The following video gives you a taste of what goes through your mind when you are Homeless in a hard winter. Believe me I've been there see my Testimony!

VIDEO: This is what it's like to be homeless in winter. Eric's Story

How do people end up homeless?
Family problems, financial problems, loss of job and income, addictions such as drugs or alcohol. Some may be foreign nationals maybe with no right to be in this country. Some may have mental issues, some may be kids that have run away from home, and lastly if you can believe it some make the choice to live this way instead of doing a job you can't stand, being a wage slave in the rat race, getting paid and then seeing a large chunk of your money just disappearing on rent or mortgage and then doing a rinse and repeat the following month.

How do they survive?
Here's something I learned. If you are in a city food is not in short supply. The food supermarkets throw out you would not believe. Restaurants, takeaways, fast food joints, it's an oasis out there but that is in the cities. With living in the cities though are the problems listed below.

The problems (based on my own personal experience)
Cleanliness. Keeping clean as in personal hygiene is a big problem not only yourself but your clothes, bedding and everything else.
Health and Disease: Being out in the elements leaves you vulnerable to all sorts of diseases and infection which has devastating effects on your health
The cold: In winter when the cold really bites no matter what you do it's difficult to keep warm and sleep. Lack of sleep leads to the next.
Mental problems. Being consistently ignored by society, moved on by police, vulnerable to attack and abuse, social stigma and low self esteem and exposed to the elements not knowing where your next meal is coming from and not getting the proper sleep takes it's toll on your mental health. Suicides or thoughts of are common. I've been there as well!
Security. Everything you own you either carry with you or you hide somewhere hoping nobody will steal what little you have. It's a precarious way to live.
No permanent address: No address means no ID, no hope of a job, no bank account, you end up as a social leper
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction: Common amongst the homeless who were either addicts or alcoholics which led to their homelessness OR became either or both as a result of homelessness to cope with the misery of living on the streets.
Constantly on the move and being moved on. No place to rest.
Crime: The finger always points at the homeless person if there is any crime within their area.

Homeless Statistics
Rough sleeping, London & England
At worst, homelessness can mean sleeping rough on the streets.
Government statistics show 2,744 people slept rough in England on any one night during 2014 - a 55 per cent rise on 2010
Local agencies report 7,581 people slept rough in London alone throughout 2014/15 - A 16 per cent rise on the previous year, and more than double the figure of 3,673 in 2009/10

However, the problem of homelessness is much bigger than that of rough sleeping

US Statistics
Although the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in January 2012 annual point-in-time count found that 633,782 people across the United States were homeless, other counts vary widely. In a recent approximation, an estimated 1.6 million unduplicated persons used transitional housing or emergency shelters. Of these people, approximately 1/3 are members of households with children, a nine percent increase since 2007.

Homelessness in Pop Culture
Popular culture has had a stab and depicting homelessness in film and music with varying degrees of success, the depiction isn't the problem it's getting people to see and listen to music and films about homelessness and living on the street. Here's a couple of well known examples.

Music

1983. "Brothers Under the Bridges" by Bruce Springsteen, later released on Tracks compilation album

1989. "Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Collins, a controversial but

Film
1986 Down and Out in Beverley Hills

2009. The Soloist -- based on a true story of Nathaniel Ayers, a musician who becomes schizophrenic and homeless

Celebrities who were homeless.
Shockingly quite a few celebrities from the past and present were homeless either for a short period of time and sometimes much longer and some of the names are staggering, highlighted in the video below.

25 Celebrities that used to be Homeless

Homeless Social Documentary

This is the documenting of the human experience whilst living on the streets. 3 people I've come across on my travels that stood out and produce work that rattles your cage. I'll be honest at this present moment in time I couldn't do what these people do!

Chuck Jines Social Documentary

Chuck Jines is a social documentary photographer based in Chicago and has documented the homeless experience especially the drug addicts in the rougher areas of Chicago. He's all about highlighting the plight of the homeless especially drug addicts and has lived amongst them. His motto "do good with your camera". Not religious in any sense of the word BUT this man shows more Christianity than many Christians I know!

He defines his work what he calls Grit Street as "Unlike most street photography that we see today - which tends to have no particular objective or message - GritStreet has deliberate psychological, social, and political intentions."

Chuck Jines Gallery

Street Photography Ethics Photographing the Homeless

The Emotional Price of Social Documentary Photography

Gloria Cassens
This woman was found by accident by a Chicago Tribune photographer, she was homeless but had a passion for photography. She is a street photographer who specializes in portraits of the homeless and others who are struggling. She also offers the homeless help whenever she can. Cassens was last known to be a resident of a single room occupancy hotel in Chicago.

Gloria Cassens Street Photographer by Chicago Tribune

Ron Corbin
A street photographer who puts the human condition that's out there on the streets right in your face and shockingly. The stuff you turn your back or look the other way is right there staring you in the face. Warning the video below contains disturbing images.

2012·Interview with street photographer Ron Corbin. Explore More @lifemeanswhat

Miscellaneous Videos on Homelessness
Some fascinating videos giving further insight into the world of homelessness.

Helping the Homeless Compilation

The Homeless Preacher

Homeless Preacher on the Tube

Pastor Dresses Homeless and Christians Ignore Him

Christian V Homeless in Squatter House

Guy Dressed as Homeless Gives Back

A day in the life of the homeless.
Documentary to understand a Day in the Life of the Homeless in Chicago, Evanston and the North Shore of Illinois.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=27Gf5HAg6_0

Streets of London Help the Homeless

After 10 Years Of Photographing Homeless People, Photographer Discovers Her Own Father Among Them

What can we do to help?
My opinion is just giving a couple of pounds as a one off doesn't solve the long term problem of homelessness. As a Christian it is your duty to help the needy but really it's everybodies duty to help the needy. Monthly small donations, a cigarette lighter, McDonalds free drink loyalty card, volunteer work, even just an old blanket or clothing makes the world of difference. If you can't do that just say "Good Morning". That doesn't cost a thing!

Homeless Charities UK
More information on Homelessness at the following UK charities. These are 4 homeless charities that are well known in the UK. I'm not a charity fundraiser like those ones you see on the streets but just a couple of pounds a month can make a difference to somebodies life.

Crisis

Shelter

St Mungos

Centre Point

The Big Issue turns homeless people into magazine street vendors giving them a job and an income to sort out their life.



The Homeless. Does anybody care? The Homeless. Does anybody care? Reviewed by Frank John on February 12, 2016 Rating: 5
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