An Important Message From BBC6Music’s Liz Kershaw
Every time I go to work on the train I pass the homeless in the car park, underpasses and station forecourt in one of the most prosperous cities in one of the richest countries in the world.
I’ve had a safe and sound sleep in a warm clean comfy bed. I’ve had coffee and breakfast then a hot shower and clean clothes. I wouldn’t be able to do my job if I’d just crawled out of a dirty sleeping bag in the gutter. Or if I hadn’t had electricity to prepare on my computer or charge my phone.
No home. No job. No job. No home.
That was the message from one young man I spoke to recently. He lived with his Grandma until she died. Then her landlord – the local authority – threw him out. He lost his job because he was dirty and he can’t get another because he has no permanent address.
This Saturday morning I spoke to a middle aged man I hadn’t seen before. He’d been evicted from his flat when his alcoholic girlfriend trashed it. Six long cold lonely boring hours later he was still there when I was making my way back home and looking forward to a nice welcome and a fireside supper. He told me he’d be sleeping in a cleaner’s cupboard he’d found in the bus station.
I don’t know what that’s like. But I know what it’s like to have nothing on the streets of London. A few years ago after a Christmas party I had my bag snatched in Soho as I hailed a taxi to the station to catch the last train home. Suddenly I had no money, no credit, no ticket, no phone, no keys. No identity. Nowhere to go.
In a few seconds I’d gone from being an empowered girl about town to a nobody.
If I hadn’t bumped into somebody who knew me as I wandered in a daze crying I don’t know what I would have done. I’d missed my train and they offered me a sofa for the night and gave me £25 to get home the next morning.
Nobody sleeping rough is a nobody. Everyone has a story to tell. You can help them on the spot in some small way. And you can help in a bigger way by supporting Breakfast In A Bag and lobbying our politicians to help house the homeless.
Don’t walk on by