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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.



Your rights

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 at The Pavement!



If you are a journalist with some free time to research and write stories for the magazine, please contact us . For other volunteering opportunities, please approach organisations listed on our Services pages or your local volunteer centre


The web site is coded by hand at Flat Earth Industries

Ollie the twitterrific bird appears courtesy of


In the latest issue


Julz Somerville describes the journey that’s got him his own set of keys Having spent the majority of my life since 21 either squatting, travelling, sofa surfing or spells living with girlfriends, I’ve mostly had to be in and up at times set by others. So being given...

She had a job, but not enough money to pay for life’s basics – food, rent and utilities – so why did McGinlay feel that she couldn’t tell her friends that home was now a squat? Oh my. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in my...
Carla Ecola, founder of the UK's first LGBTIQ+ crisis/ homeless shelter and...
More than half of homeless people struggle with chronic pain. That’s damaging for...
It’s easy to be positive when things are going well for you...
“It’s not forever, it’s just ‘til I’m back on my feet…” says...


07 March 2018

Our team of peer journalists from the 'From the Ground Up' project talk about perceptions of homelessness.

09 February 2017

Our Glasgow Word On The Street project went so well that we are now running it in London. Véronique Mistiaen, lecturer and human rights journalist, led the second session, 'How to tell your own story'. you can read more about the project on her blog, The Right Human. Check out the trainees' blog to follow their progress from newbie to news hound.

23 June 2015

Will you use your admin ninja skills to help a unique small charity working to support homeless people?

Download PDF (141KB)

23 June 2015

Do you want to use your fundraising skills to support a unique small charity working to support homeless people?

Download PDF (146KB)

23 June 2015

Will you donate your a journalism or photography skills to help the homeless people we work to support?

Download PDF (146KB)

04 November 2014

Our Glasgow-based Word on the Street team of reporters and photographers – along with London guest writers, who also have experience of the homelessness – has been working hard on a special edition that tells it how it is: benefit sanctions, a cartoon about hostel life and how football can change the world, for starters. The WOTS team is: Iain Alan, Brenda Brown, Brian Dobbie, Jason Kelly, Peter Kelly, Jim Little, Caroline McCue, Alex McKay, Patrick O’Hare and Roddy Woods. Thanks, team!

19 August 2011

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. 

Latest Stories

 24 July 2018

All night parties, staying with random strangers, asking to “sleepover” are all ways to stay off the street. So who’s at risk of hidden homelessness?

1. CATCH UP: hidden homelessness is a crisis for the individual that Government hasn’t yet grasped. The challenges of overcrowded homes, low wages, lost jobs, killer estate agents' fees/deposits and rent, plus the cost of food, getting around and utility bills often turns people towards sofa surfing. So too do family rows, relationship breakdowns, coming out as LGBTIQ+, mental health problems or addiction.

2. LAW: the new Homelessness Reduction Act – passed in April 2017 – could offer more support, but often young people don’t realise it’s there to help them too.

3. PRISON: the Prison Reform Trust and Women In Prison have found: “Many women are given short prison sentences, which dramatically increases the risk of homelessness as benefit payments are stopped so rent arears accrue and tenancies lost.”

4. THE PRESS: still has a tendency to depict rough sleepers as aggressive beggars feeding a habit rather than with human compassion. No wonder many of us are in denial.

5. GOOD INFO: is essential for anyone homeless or sofa surfing. For example, homeless veterans don’t have to be Scottish to get housed at Scottish Veterans Residencies, they just need to be ex-military, as this anonymous testimony shows:

“Being an ex-soldier, I did not want the stigma of being labelled as 'homeless'. Eventually living at a hostel took its toll, I lost my job and couldn’t pay the £15 so had to present at the Hamish Allen Centre in Glasgow. Here I realised that after 17 years in the Army, a job, a family and a home, nothing is guaranteed. Anyone can become homeless. By chance I went to the library PC and typed in ex-forces hostel Scotland and up came Scottish Veterans Residence. Within a week they offered me a warm, safe room at Whitefoord House, Edinburgh.”


Almost normal...

Homelessness in 2018 is almost seen as normal. People have got used to seeing tents at Charing Cross station, rough sleepers in Princes Street or sofa surfers in their living room.

• Six in 10 women released from prison do not have a home to go to. (2008)
• Crisis warned that more than half a million will be homeless by 2041. (2017)


Our Instagram page

 24 July 2018

© Mat Amp

Mat Amp is running our new Instagram page @pavement_magazine: “It was being homeless that got me into photography, because it made me look around me for stuff people had discarded or dropped. It’s amazing how many things you can find when you look. In doing this you see things you never noticed before. A friend of mine used to be a burglar and it was the looking for open doors that made him look at the world differently. He’s straight now and addicted to photography instead.”

Smiles Lewis, who took the cover photo for the Pavement May/June issue, says: “For quality of life individuals need a chance to express themselves and communicate this to others too, regardless of training. Photography gives people a level playing field to do this.”


Share your photos

Would you like to add your pix to the Pavement’s new Instagram page, @pavement_magazine? If that’s a yes, please send photos with your name and a caption to Mat

Or put up your own pix on your Instagram page tagged #pavementpix


News in brief, July–August 2018

 24 July 2018

Down and out in Paris and London Live © Orwell Foundation

Everybody in

Ten years. That’s how long Crisis estimates it could take to end homelessness in their new plan, Everybody in: how to end homelessness in GB, which makes use of expert thinking from the Chartered Institute of Housing, Heriot-Watt University, National Housing Federation, and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

It has also been endorsed by experts in the US, Canada, and Finland who are backing movements to end homelessness in their countries. To succeed 100,500 social homes need to be built each year for the next 15 years. And 18,000 homes need specialised support for homeless people. Crisis is also calling on all political parties to commit to ending homelessness so that everybody who is homeless will move into a safe and stable home within 10 years.


Pet care

In London Blue Cross offers first-come first-served pet care and prescriptions at their mobile veterinary ambulances. Find them at Highbury Fields, Walthamstow, Islington, Hackney and Southwark. You can also volunteer for Blue Cross Animal Hospital, which is based in Victoria. There are all sorts of roles from fundraising to pet bereavement councillors.


Pavement glory

Pavement writers will be at Byline Festival on 26 August running a talk on Unfettered Voices: Homeless People in their Own Words with our columnist Mat Amp chairing. Big thanks to Byline Festival for this fundraising opportunity.



If you want to contact Citizens Advice (sometimes known as CAB) for free help call:

England: 03444 111444

Scotland: 0808 800 9060


Down and out

“George Orwell said in his diaries that he wanted to make political writing an art,” said producer Libby Brodie of the Down and Out in Paris and London Live immersive reading seen by thousands. “Theatre is to tell stories and give an idea of that experience. People came and listened (or watched online) and felt, then left with their perceptions changed.”

Additions to Orwell’s words from 1933 included five Stoke teenagers and three men from The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields speaking about their experience of homelessness with a knock-out testimony by Peter Mitchell on How it feels to be homeless – maybe the 21st century George Orwell?

Romeo Nanub, 19, from the Pilion Trust, who is learning media skills with Engage London and City University, saw the show and reports: "The scrabbling around trying to get any work and the rough sleeping, these things are timeless.

It was really relatable and sad, especially the boredom. You have nothing to do, so do useless things until the next time when you are busy working again. I'd love to read the book.”

In September, the show will be performed again in Paris. Watch the event online at


Nasty business

Since 2009 the number of people living in temporary accommodation in England has shot up by a dramatic 500 per cent. The Guardian reports that avaricious landlords and letting agents are entering the market in record numbers, as they can take between £100 and £300 more when letting their property on a nightly basis compared to long-term arrangements.

A Freedom of Information request by the Observer revealed that 159 providers are “making almost £160m a year from nightly paid accommodation in the 50 worst homelessness hotspots in England.” Despite ludicrous profits, complaints about unsavoury conditions in temporary accommodation persist.


Death check

Reports on the deaths of vulnerable homeless people are almost non-existent, new research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found. A series of freedom of information requests made by the Bureau reveal that only eight safeguarding adults reviews had been opened since 2010. These reviews are set up to determine whether a death could have been prevented. Since October 2017 at least 102 vulnerable homeless people have died, and not a single official review has been launched into 83 recent deaths. Without these reviews officials will struggle to understand the causes of death and fail to address the problems suitably.


Negligent council

People living in temporary accommodation in Hackney has reached a 12-year high, and the cost of housing homeless families in temporary homes has broken the £35million threshold. The Hackney Gazette reports that 2,700 households in Hackney are now registered as homeless.

The number of private rent properties has ballooned in Hackney over the past 30 years, while over the same period the borough has lost 10,000 council homes. As a result, the council has put more and more people in hostels or B&Bs. Spending on temporary accommodation has consequently increased from £9.4million in 2010–11 to £35million in 2015–16.


Reform required

The number of people under the age of 25 sleeping rough has increased dramatically, with Centrepoint estimating the figure grew by a third between 2016 and 2017.

But council efforts to help young homeless people are being harmed by welfare reform, according to a poll by Centrepoint. Inside Housing published details of a report by the charity that warned homelessness will continue to rise unless the Government addresses the problems in its welfare policy. The report called for an increase in the Local Housing Allowance rate for young people, with an overwhelming 89 per cent of councils surveyed supporting the proposal.


Hostel shock

A new report by Healthwatch Hackney and City & Hackney Mind has criticised the conditions of hostels across the borough. Interviewing homeless people and a number of mental health advocates, the watchdog reported cases of bedbugs, cockroaches, rats and even excrement in a corridor. Interviewees told Healthwatch Hackney that “drug and prostitution businesses” were operating in hostels. The conditions have a negative effect on the mental health of residents said the executive director of Healthwatch Hackney, Jon Williams, reports the Hackney Gazette.


Temporary fix

Temporary accommodation is on the rise among homeless households in Scotland, reports the Scotsman that found that 10,000 homeless people are housed in temporary accommodation on any given night. That’s a 43 per cent increase since 2010. Between 2003 and 2010 the figure of homeless households in temporary accommodation doubled. The data comes from a report by Social Bite for Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group. Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, warns that homeless people in temporary accommodation become “increasingly marginalised, stigmatised and mental health challenges can worsen.”

See help in the centre of the List (Scottish readers)


Nailed it

Look out for new research from 10 peer researchers working with St Mungo's Recovery College who have tried to identify why some people return to sleeping rough after time off the streets. The new report, On My Own Two Feet, includes 11 recommendations for the Government, local authorities and homeless service providers. It was published on 2 July.


Intolerant authorities

The Guardian ran a front page story about the rise in homeless people facing fines, criminal convictions and even imprisonment for rough sleeping and begging. Although the Home Office told councils not to target homeless people at the start of the year, more than 50 use public space protection orders (PSPOs). PSPOs prohibit homeless people from town centres and begging. Since 2014 around 51 homeless people have been convicted of failing to pay a PSPO fine, occasionally resulting in criminal behaviour orders. It was PM Theresa May who introduced PSPOs as Home Secretary in 2014.


Find us a home

Streets Kitchen must move out of its temporary home in 48 Seven Sisters Road, N7 at the end of August. Open from 11am-2pm daily, the grassroots group reckons it supplies 1,000 meals a week. “It’s sometimes standing room only it’s so busy,” said Jon Glackin. “If any bigger buildings were handed over to us, we could end homelessness overnight.” It’s possible he’s thinking of the now closed Holloway Prison which has not yet been taken over by builders for redevelopment.

If you know a suitable property, tell Streets Kitchen or email


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© Copyright 2009-2014 The Pavement. Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656 Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760 ISSN (online) 1757-0484