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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.
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 www.twitterrific.com
Homelessness and mental health: ask most people who have been homeless and they’re likely to have something to say about the link. Often it’s a chicken and egg question: which came first?
Research shows that eight out of 10 people who are homeless report some kind of mental health issue – 45 per cent have a diagnosed...
Mat Amp, who has spent time sleeping rough himself, went to meet the women behind the social enterprise Crack and Cider. Is it a good deed or well-meaning meddling gone wrong? Mat ended up more impressed than he expected.
I am sitting in Pret a Manger talking to Scarlett Montanaro, 26, about the controversially named enterprise ‘Crack...
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.
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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!
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.
Skippering, a colloquial British term for rough sleeping, is a 30-minute ‘sonic meditation on homelessness’ that features sounds collected by a homeless group in Glasgow. In 2014 they and radio producer Steve Urquhart began to record and edit the audio stories that punctuate the piece and guide the listener.
The result is an incredibly powerful and evocative journey that blends fragments of sound and speech from a world where Glasgow’s homeless population live and sometimes die.
The typical sounds experienced by those living on the streets and in the hostels of Glasgow is punctuated by blunt street wisdom, creating a feeling of hope one minute and pitching you bluntly into despair the next. It weaves a mood - the cold, the isolation and the chinks of light that appear through the hustle and bustle of life.
It begins at the start of a day with the sound of a sleeping bag zip and the chirping of birds, before cutting to a death check in a hostel, which involves staff knocking on doors to check that the occupants are still alive: “If they don’t get a response they kick the door in”, someone informs in a casual voice.
The starting point for the piece was the fact that “When you’re skipping on the floor, you are actually down on your knees. You get more attuned to things, things you wouldn’t normally hear. “
Sound functions in different ways to signpost moods and issue warnings. “Even before you go down an alleyway, you’re just listening to hear if there’s anyone already down there. You don’t use your eyes a lot; you’re listening. You make yourself small and quiet, so you’re not noticed. It’s all in your hearing - you get in touch with your animal instincts, and your senses adapt.’
For those who have never been homeless, skippering uses sound to illuminate the fragments of life on the streets and in hostels. For those who have, it offers catharsis, evoking powerful emotional memories through sounds such as the chatter and clatter of soup kitchens and of course that hard ‘death check’ knock of the hostels. For those still out there it represents their daily life: the hope and the grind.
“You’re seen and not heard... hoping, sometimes, for somebody just to turn round and give you a smile, just to ask you how you’re doing. Just that slight human contact to feel human again. ’Cos 90 per cent of the time, you do feel like a ghost with a heartbeat... just floating around.”
A Glasgow law centre which provided help to almost 200 rough sleepers using the city’s winter shelter claims that the city council is failing to meet its legal obligations to homeless people.
Govan Law Centre gave legal advice to 198 men and women sleeping at the Glasgow Winter Shelter at the City’s Lodging House Mission from December 2015 to March this year, and claims the vast majority were legally entitled to housing.
Lorna Walker, legal service manager for the law centre, said some clients she advised at the winter shelter had previously gone to Glasgow City Council’s homelessness services, but no homeless application had been submitted because it had wrongly been thought unnecessary.
Others had applied as homeless, but they had not been offered housing, though they should have been.
When she challenged decisions, accommodation was often found.
In six cases, Govan Law Centre started the process of legally challenging the council’s decision not to accommodate by submitting an application for a judicial review at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. In each case accommodation was found within the day, which meant none of the cases went before a judge.
Walker said: “Many of the people that we spoke to were not aware of their legal rights.
“But when we looked at their situations we found that in the majority of cases the fact that they had not been accommodated was in clear breech of the council’s statutory duty.”
Since 2012, when the concept of “priority need” was abolished, all local authorities in Scotland have the duty to accommodate all unintentionally homeless people who can prove they have a local connection and a legal right to remain in the country.
Where a local connection cannot be proved, the council should refer the person to the housing team of the last local authority they were living in, and offer housing until the situation is resolved. The council should also offer accommodation to anyone who appeals a decision not to offer them somewhere to stay.
This year the winter shelter in Glasgow remained open for an additional month and numbers of those using shelters rose by 94 per cent in Glasgow and 38 per cent in Edinburgh compared to last year.
The Glasgow City Mission reported being full on 32 nights in 2015/16 – something which never happened in previous years. An average of 33 people used the shelter on any one night, compared to just 17 in 2014/15.
Meanwhile, the Bethany Christian Trust in Edinburgh has seen demand rise by 131% since 2013, with an average of 48 people using the shelter on any night during winter 2015/16.
Crisis has joined forces with the two charities to call for action from the Scottish Government.
Grant Campbell, chief executive of Glasgow City Mission, said: “We’ve witnessed a significant rise in demand for the Glasgow Winter Night Shelter.
“This is not just an issue around housing, but health also, and we should assume and be prepared for solutions which require a brave, determined and concerted effort by all to put an end to homelessness.”
A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “Throughout the operation of the Winter Shelter we sought to ensure that anyone who spent a night at the shelter could receive support from homelessness services the next morning.
“We fully acknowledge the pressures that currently exist within the homelessness system. We are working closely with both the voluntary sector and the housing associations to improve access to emergency support and also longer term accommodation.”
You have the right to be accommodated if you can prove you have a local connection to the authority (such as living there or having a family member living there), a legal right to remain, and did not mean to make yourself homeless. You can appeal a decision not to give you accommodation, and the local authority has a duty to house you while they investigate your appeal.
You have a right to be accommodated if you can show you have a local connection to the authority (such as living there or having a family member living there), a legal right to remain, did not mean to make yourself homeless and are in priority need. This includes those who are 16–17, under 21 but have been in care (or over 21 but vulnerable because they were in care) and those made vulnerable because they have left the army, prison or are fleeing domestic abuse. Those who have children, are elderly or disabled should also get priority. If you think you have been wrongly refused help, you can appeal the decision.
Find out more about priority need: www.crisis.org.uk/pages/priority-need-definitions.html
Thousands of protestors took part in a march calling on the government to drop its controversial new Housing and Planning Bill. The ‘Kill the Bill’ demo took place in London on 13 March, beginning at Lincoln’s Inn Fields and ending at Parliament Square. Controversial new measures outlined in the bill include rent rises for higher-earning council tenants (higher earning being defined as over £40,000 in London and £30,000 elsewhere); the extension of the right-to-buy scheme to housing associations (removing yet more social housing from the market); and promoting starter homes – so-called ‘affordable housing’, capped at £450,000 in Greater London and £250,000 outside. At the time of writing, the bill was at the report stage in the House of Lords – two steps away from being given Royal Assent.