the Pavement relies on donations and volunteering from individuals and companies...
thePavement is the free magazine for the UK's homeless people
We are committed to publishing objective reportage, tailored to a homeless readership, and to publicising the complete range of services available to homeless people, to reduce hardship amongst our readers and to enable them to guide their future.
We believe that drives to produce homogenous services for homeless people are misguided, and that a range of service types and sizes are the only way to cater successfully for our diverse readership.
We believe that sleeping rough is physically and mentally harmful; however, we do not preach to those who chosen to, nor do we believe that all options to get off the streets are necessarily beneficial to long-term health and happiness.
The Rights Guide for Rough Sleepers outlines your rights around arrest, stop and search, answering police questions, move-ons, no-drinking zones, sleeping rough, taking a pee in public and highway obstruction. It was put together by The Pavement, Housing Justice, Liberty and Zacchaeus 2000.
If your benefits have been sanctioned (cut off or reduced) and you feel this is unfair, you can appeal. Print this letter and hand it in at the office where you sign on. If you feel you need more advice about sanctions, contact Zacchaeus 2000 or your nearest Citizen’s Advice Bureau. And let us know email@example.com at The Pavement!
If you are a journalist with some free time to research and write stories for the magazine, or you're interested in finding other volunteering opportunities, please
The web site is coded by hand at Flat Earth Industries
Ollie the twitterrific bird appears courtesy of www.twitterrific.com
The winter shelters are open, so please download the listing if you are rough sleeping. If the shelter accepts agency referrals, please phone the agency named. And if your shelter is not listed, please contact london AT thepavement DOT org DOT uk (you’ll need to remove the words in CAPITALS!).
Have you had your benefits cut off? Get in touch with Rebecca - thank you.
We’re getting many emails from people wanting to volunteer at soup runs and shelters. Unfortunately, we cannot run a volunteer-matching service. One day, maybe. In the meantime...
Go to Do-It (link below) to find your nearest volunteer centre - you can specify homelessness. Housing Justice coordinates the soup runs and winter shelters - email to see if they need volunteers. Crisis and Quaker Homeless Action run shelters in London over the Christmas period. If you go to The Pavement services, you can narrow down by area and approach services directly.
Wow. The Pavement’s Homeless City Guide, which appears in every issue of the magazine, has made it into New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Thirty homelessness projects across England have received a total of £3.5m in funding as part of the government’s attempt to prevent rough sleeping and get individuals off the street through the No Second Night Out (NSNO) strategy.
The scheme, which is controversial, is being progressively rolled out across England. It will help fund a range of services for some of the 2,300 people estimated to be sleeping rough on any one night in England.
The NSNO approach uses street workers to identify and engage with rough sleepers and ensure they no not spend a second night on the streets.
However, critics say that it fails to help those who have been seen by NSNO staff before as this makes them ineligible for future help. They say that its one-size-fits-all approach also struggles to deal with those who do not want to be housed in a hostel setting – to avoid drug taking for example – or be sent back to their home region.
The grants – of between £50,000 and £150,000 – come from the £20m Homelessness Transition Fund administered by Homeless Link and funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Despite this funding, rough sleeping counts have continued to rise. From April 2013 to March 2013, almost 6,500 people were sleeping on the street, a rise of 13 percent from the previous year. Three-quarters of these people slept out only once. About 2,800 them were, significantly less than half, found accommodation or went back to their home areas through No Second Night Out programmes.
Sharon Allen, the chair of the panel which granted the new funding, said: “We know how damaging spending a night on the streets is to an individual’s wellbeing. The grants we have awarded so far have helped thousands of people to escape homelessness and move towards independence.
“The 30 projects chosen for this final round will continue this good work and ensure that individuals who find themselves without a home can be supported to get their lives back on track.”
The new funding comes at the end of the first year that the StreetLink phone line has been in operation. This service allows members of the public to call a hotline to notify charities of people who they see sleeping rough, so that they can be targeted by local homelessness projects within the No Second Night Out scheme.
• Rough sleepers can also use StreetLink to request an outreach worker themselves: call 0300 500 0914 or visit streetlink.org.uk.
The author of Trainspotting, the novel and film set in drug-addled Edinburgh in the late 80s, is revisiting the life of lead character Begbie in a new short story to be published in The Big Issue and other street papers around the world this Christmas.
Irvine Welsh shot to fame after the publication of Trainspotting in 1993 and the release of the film three years later, starring Robert Carlyle as Begbie. Welsh has since gone on to further success with novels such as Filth, which was this year made into a film that is currently in cinemas across the UK.
The new story, called 'He Ain't Lager', centres on Begbie visiting his family, including his homeless brother Joe, at Christmas after being released from prison. Welsh said: “I'm not sure where this [story] came from. I never really know. I just think the character has to be full of surprises and I quite like this little twist in [Begbie's] life.”
He revealed that the infamous violent hardman has been rehabilitated through art, and fallen in love. Welsh said there were more revelations about Begbie in his new story and urged people to buy The Big Issue.
Though Welsh now lives in Chicago, he wrote Trainspotting while working in the housing department of Edinburgh council. He has written the new Begbie story in support of the International Network of Street Papers (INSP), a charity based in Glasgow, Scotland, that supports The Big Issue and 121 other street papers in 40 countries.
Welsh admits that he himself is “not disadvantaged in the current housing market, but privileged by it”, and laments that homelessness issues –"ubiquitous across the western world" – are "a product of the weak priorities our political leadership has set.”
Paul McNamee, editor of The Big Issue, says he hopes the story will have people “queuing at their local Big Issue vendor". Maree Aldam, who heads the INSP charity, said “interviews and writing by famous names give our network of homeless vendors a big sales boost.”
Two homeless men became a Twitter sensation last month when they advertised their job hunt via Twitter, with the help of a kind passerby.
Ken Jones, 44, and Ron Rogers, 40, were living in a leaky tent near the Hilton Hotel in Cardiff, after seasonal work dried up leaving with them with no money for a roof over their heads.
They made posters that asked “Have you any work for me?” and stood with them in the centre of town promising cheap demolition, recycling and security work.
The pair unwittingly hit the social media sphere when Ani Saunders posted a photo of Ron and his sign on Twitter. Within an hour it had been retweeted over 250 times, 700 within a couple of hours and nearly 2,700 to date.
Ani, who’s 29 and an artist, told The Pavement: “It’s so terribly common to see people living on the streets these days. It certainly seems to be an increasing problem. It’s baffling to see how many people are failed by the system, mind-blowing, really.”
Ani says she hoped to “increase awareness of Ron and Ken’s current situation and also increase their chances of employment.”
“It seemed that people really wanted to help them find a job, it was very heart-warming to see such a positive reaction.”
But a 2005 report by St Mungo’s highlighted the unique problems homeless people face when seeking work.
Two-thirds of the 100 homeless people they asked said that agencies and employers wouldn’t give them a chance. They said expenses like work clothes and equipment were unaffordable. Half also said that not having a mailing address was a barrier too.
Ken agrees. He told us: “Someone wanted me to hand out flyers in a suit – but I live in a tent!”
Only about two per cent of homeless people are in full time employment, according to a report by Crisis with 12 per cent working part-time and 13 per cent volunteering.
But current data from the Office for National Statistics shows the number of unemployed fell by 48,000 between July and September this year. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.6 per cent – its lowest in over three years.
At the same time the figures for long-term youth unemployment have quadrupled in the last decade.
The government’s £5 billion Work Programme, which was launched in 2011 with the aim of getting more people into employment, has been found lacking by a committee of MP’s. They say it isn’t helping the long term unemployed, including homeless people.
Labour MP Dame Anne Begg explains: “The Work Programme has proved much less successful to date in addressing the problems faced by people with disabilities, homeless people, and those with a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
"The government must do more to ensure that the work programme provides effective support for all jobseekers."
Jacqui McCluskey, the director of policy and communications at Homeless Link, said: “Most people who have experienced homelessness want to work but often face the most severe barriers. The Work Programme was created to help break down these barriers, yet our research suggests that it is failing."