This’s a Draft and not the final Piece!!
Today London continues to suffer from homelessness due to many different reasons. Its never a wishful thinking for people to make themselves homeless. In fact, people find themselves homeless out of their liking.
There’s no limit to:Age, Gender,Racial background, Able and Disabled, etc, for someone to become homeless. We can all become homeless, regardless of our social status.
When you’re homeless, its very likely that you’ll end up with psychological breakdown-thus, a mental health problem. However, one cannot tell if they have a mental health issue till they’re diagnosed by experts. However, its not only homelessness that lead to a mental health down, Its the displacement one suffers in life.
The displacement can be caused by many factors such as; A relationship breaking down, lose of a lively hood-poverty, natural & man made disasters,Abusiveness within a family or relationship,lack of belonging(no community to fall back too), severe illness, Ignorance(not knowing social services that can help) and communication barriers etc.
In short, its not if but when homeless can come knocking on our doors.
When people find themselves homeless, their lives takes a turn for the worst. The rough sleepers are the ones that I’ll discuss here; as they’re misunderstood and ridiculed most of the time by society-they are seen as vagabonds that have issues with drugs and alcohol. Though this could be true to a certain extent, its not the main reasons they found themselves in that predicament.
They’re many different types of Homelessness in London ranging from; Rough sleepers, Hostel & Breakfast temporary accommodations, crushing on s a friend’s sofa, domestic slavery, institutional detention, and refuge shelters, etc.
The type to be affected mostly of the mentioned above, are the rough sleepers. Its very true that most Londoners are some point ,have slept rough due to many reasons: not being able to get home due to lack or delay of transport, locked your self out-lost the key, got too drunk/high and crushed on some floor, slept on public transport or even a park, etc,
However, the short nightmare of that experience cannot be compared to those that have to sleep rough; week after week, month after month, and some times years.
The rough sleepers go through hell and its an experience you would not wish one to go through, as it takes heart to go through such an experience.
Though the majority of rough sleepers tend to be single, but also families do sleep rough. This’s not something I’ve been told, but have witnessed myself. Today, the Westminster borough has more rough sleepers than any London Borough, followed by Camden Borough.
Though this mind sound strange to some people-after sleeping rough on the streets for a very longtime, life becomes normal as one has to survive. The normal human relations are formed in terms of friendships and enemies.
Unlike in the past when a rough sleeper would crush by the door-way as to get some heating, today’s rough sleeper has been forced to find shelter under bridges and Underpasses, etc. because local authorities are now spiking any place they suspect a would be rough sleeper, might take advantage of.
The plight of rough sleeper isn’t only caused by authorities, but by some members of the local public, like local businesses that see them as a dent to their business premises, street hustlers that take advantage of them, and spontaneous bullies. In most cases, rough sleepers face physical violence.
In spite of all the hardships rough sleepers go through, they tend to build a bond among themselves. Life becomes a bit bearable when you have other rough sleepers you can turn too. Because one is on the move, they tend to carry their only possession with them. Knowing a few people, one can always ask a fellow rough sleeper to look after their property- in case they need to rush somewhere.
Its those type of bonds that help them to brainstorm what services might be available to them, such as: where to clean-up, have free hot meals, walk-in clinics, etc,
One might ask themselves why don’t rough sleepers look for a job like the rest of the people and get out of their predicament?? Its not that easy to be given a job without an address of residence. Being a rough sleeper also affects the way you make decisions, as the objective of the day is to survive and see another day, Its all about survival and not long-term goals.
The well-being of rough sleeper is always affected that one is very likely to suffer from a mental health problem. The unsettling life affects ones health-without a space to relax in, definitely you’ll get depressed.
However, we should not ignore why some people spend more time sleeping rough.
Though London has a few hostels that offer shelter, its never that easy for someone dealing with the trauma of sleeping rough to access them. This’s mainly caused by: not trusting people, lack of information and assistance, lack of confidence and fear to deal with hostels rules, past experience living in Hostels-sheltered accommodation, etc.But We should not also forget that accessing most of the hostels, one has to be refereed by a community worker.
When one is able to access those local service, then you can get to know the help on offer.
Its very true certain hostels will do their best to offer any necessary assistance on offer, or will even try to look for what is available somewhere else, according to ones needs. However, its up to someone to want to be helped.
Just like mental health, if you don’t seek help, your mental health will never be diagnosed and you’ll continue to suffer and feeling sorry for yourself, thinking its the way you’re.
In the Next series, I will look at how a drug dealer, took over the homeless family.
Observed from Victoria Area of London