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The People that are Ignored or Forgotten – Homelessness in the UK

By Life, ThinkingNo Comments
homelessness-in-the-UK Whenever the temperature really drops, like it has today, I think of people that are homeless. No scratch that, I think of people who I see as homeless – those that sleep on the streets.

I usually donate to my local homelessness project The Brick and hope that those sleeping on the street keep themselves warm enough to survive the bitter and bleak night.

If I’m totally honest: I find it utterly shocking that the UK, as one of the richest countries in the world, has homelessness and rough/street sleeping. At first glance homelessness could be easily resolved by ensuring suitable accommodation for everyone.

But the truth is that homelessness is a complex issue. Why? Because people are complex. There are also a range of complex issues that lead to people becoming and remaining homelessness.

The causes of homelessness or contributing factors include:

  • Poverty, being unemployed, being underemployed or losing source of income.
  • Unmanageable debt.
  • Addiction to alcohol, drugs or gambling.
  • Mental illness – including depression, anxiety, bipolar, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and personality disorder.
  • Domestic Abuse – including violence.
  • Breakdown of relationships – both romantic and with family, friends or others.
  • Chronic physical illnesses or diseases.
  • Physical, emotional, sexual, financial abuse or neglect.
  • Having a family history of homelessness (according to Shelter).
  • Transformation or regeneration of areas – leading to unaffordable house prices, mortgages or rents.
  • Criminal and/or antisocial behaviour including being in prison.
  • Being in the care of Social Care or being in the Armed Forces.
  • Changes to benefits and social security administration and/or payments.
  • Poor social support networks or isolation.
  • Death of carers for dependents.
  • Having no right to work or claim benefits/social security.
  • A combination of the above.

There are two different types of homelessness: 1. People that are sleeping rough on the streets, park benches or doorways. 2. People that are living in temporary accommodation. People in temporary accommodation maybe housed by their local authority in a bed and breakfast or cheap hotel, or maybe sofa surfing staying with relatives or friends.

We don’t have a handle on homelessness in the UK. We don’t have accurate figures of people that are sleeping on the street. Local Authorities are once a year required to go out and survey the population of people who are sleeping rough in their communities.

However in 2010 the Government changed the rules for local authorities (see Evaluating the Extend of Rough Sleeping by the Department for Communities and Local Government). These changes have impacted the annual reporting of homelessness, significantly reducing the numbers of people counted as rough sleeping or people that are sleeping in the street.

It is too easy to ignore or forget about people that are homeless. I’ve ignored people sat on the street when I’ve walked through the High Street of various town centres. The cold weather triggers me to think about people who are sleeping on the streets. But most of the time, if I don’t go into town centres, I forget about people who are homeless.

Here are some ways, that wont cost you a penny, to prevent people that are homeless from being ignored or forgotten:

  • Educate yourself and others around homelessness.
  • Use your skills, talents or hobbies to promote awareness of homelessness. A good example is this blog post, I’ve written it to raise awareness.
  • Email your local politician and ask them to campaign for people that are homeless and raise the issue in parliament. Politicians have the power to make positive changes to reduce and prevent homelessness.
  • Donate old items to charity shops that specifically support homelessness projects.
  • Volunteer your time in homeless projects.

I once heard someone say: You are only ever two paydays away from being homeless. I can’t remember who told me this, or the find the first person to say this on the internet. But I believe it to be true.

Like I believe that anyone could end up becoming homeless, it would just require the right causes or circumstances to become present in your life.

So take action for people that are homeless, because one day it could happen to you. Or to someone that you love. You wouldn’t want yourself or someone that you love to be ignored or forgotten.

Take care,



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Charitable Donations 2014

By Gay, Health, Home, Life, Money / Finances, ThinkingNo Comments

Last year I was Thinking About Homelessness and made donations to The Albert Kennedy Trust and Shelter. I aim to donate to these charities again this year. But this year I’ve also made donations to:

JDRF-logo After reading this blog post: Why EVEN I’M excited about the beta cell breakthrough for type 1 diabetes – and why your £10 donation today will go further than ever before. By JDRF’s Head of Research Communication Rachel Connor, as a Type 1 diabetic, I felt compelled to donate towards a cure for diabetes.

I hope to buy or be bought a JDRF onesie from Onesie Warehouse to make a further £5 donation.

tom-daley-dustin-black-video-screenshot After watching Tom Daley’s and Dustin Lance Black’s heart-felt Youtube video, I decided to donate. My donation supports The Human Rights Campaign in the US and The Brain Tumour Charity in the UK. Both worthy causes that deserve support.

Plus by donating I’ve got a chance to win a double date with Tom & Dustin which includes: a photoshoot, going on the London Eye, going for dinner with Tom & Dustin before being shown around some cool places in London by them.

To find out more see: Omaze – Go on the best double date ever with Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black in London.

sell-off-nhs-header I’ve made a donation to help make the film Sell-Off – The Abolition of Your NHS.

I am seeing the results of The Health and Social Care Act (2012) on the NHS firsthand. We are quickly moving towards the American model of healthcare, driven by profit not medical need and I think it’s wrong. This film will hopefully show the general public the truth, which is being widely under reported in the media.

All these donations have been relatively small. But even small donations help, and if many people made small donations it would soon mount up.

Write soon,


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Thinking About Homelessness

By ThinkingNo Comments

This time of year when it’s dark and cold makes me feel for people who are homeless. Who’d want to spend a single night sleeping outside in this weather?

No matter the cause of someone’s homelessness; it can be a vicious cycle. A person needs an address to get a bank account, so that state benefits can be paid to them. They often need to be in receipt of benefits to get support in accessing housing and so that housing agencies can contact them. Of course there are ways around this, but people who are homeless people often don’t know how the system works.

People who are homeless also tend to have complex issues (such as substance misuse, relationship breakdowns, bereavements, etc.) that they are trying to deal with at the same time.

So I recently made two donations to The Albert Kennedy Trust and Shelter. The donations were small, but something is better than nothing. Here is some information about the work the charities do and a link for donations:

Albert Kennedy Trust Logo The Albert Kennedy Trust supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans homeless young people in crisis. They have offices in London, Manchester and Newcastle.
Donate to The Albert Kennedy Trust
Shelter Logo Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness – and they campaign to prevent it in the first place.
Donate to Shelter

A friend and I were talking recently about what we do when we see a person who is homeless on the street begging. I said that I don’t usually give money as I don’t carry it, but if I’ve got the time, I offer to buy them a hot drink.

My friend said that he collects McDonalds hot drink loyalty cards stickers and saves completed loyalty cards to give to the person who is homeless and on the street begging. I thought this was a great idea and will be doing it as well.

Anyone can become homelessness, it just needs a certain set of circumstances to happen a person. This means that it can happen to you, a member of your family or one of your friends. I once read somewhere that we are only ever two paydays away from being homeless. Considering this, perhaps it’s worth making a small sacrifice (like that cup of coffee from Starbucks/Costa you buy) and using the money to make a donation to one of the charities above? I’ll let you decide.

Foodbank Image Throughout the year, I’ve also donated items of food to a FoodBank run by The Trussell Trust. The UK is one of the richest countries in the world, yet in the last few years the numbers of people who need to use FoodBanks has dramatically increased. This is worrying and is symptomatic of some of the poorest people being forced to make some very difficult choices.

I’d like to share a thought with you: It seems to me that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. I don’t write this to be depressive, simply to express a thought that many people are thinking.

Here’s another thought: This is not the kind of society I want to live in. Food, water and housing are all basic things that everyone should have access to.

So the question becomes: How do we go about changing our society for the better?
Any ideas or opinions, please comment below.

Take care,


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