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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

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In the latest issue


> Go figure In this interview extract, Matt Hobbs identifies the risk of homeless people dying by suicide as a problem caused by government policy Alex Bax, Chief Executive of Pathway asks, “What’s leading people into a position of being so desperate that they kill themselves? What is it...

I was ready to kill myself a few years ago. I’m really happy I didn’t... UB40’s hit One in Ten refers to someone on the dole, but change it to one-in-200 and the sentiment could easily be applied to the homeless community. We’re on the street and in the...
Is it right that homeless people are more likely to die by...
Low income, debt, and unemployment all increase the risk of suicide, but...
This is the full version of Matt’s article for the Pavement magazine...
I can't express how important it is that as a society we...


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

 27 February 2018

Everyone found this assignment tough...

Our From The Ground Up peer reporters know what it’s like to be homeless. Their aim is to report on topics that get forgotten, or feel too taboo to discuss in mainstream media. That’s why this issue is all about suicide.

Sometimes bald statistics and lived experience make it hard to stay positive, but as Drew Bailey, one of the peer reporting team, writes, “I want people to know there is hope.”

All sorts of things must change, from turning around low self-esteem to challenging government – and even hostel – policy. Read on to get the info, find help and enjoy our writers’ skills.


In a nutshell

Here’s how an off-balance society leads to escalating problems, including suicide for some, plus some ways to turn it around. Research by Matt Hobbs.

1. Suicide attempts rise when times are hard
• Triggers include job insecurity and fear of home repossession
• Having to move breaks up people’s own support structures

2. There’s fragmented health support
• Poor health, and pain, may also be factors
• As wellbeing falls, mental health services are even more important

3. Cuts to public services and poor living conditions remove safety nets
• Homelessness, or no address, makes support less likely
• Living in a more disadvantaged area puts you at a two or three times higher risk of suicide than more advantageous areas.

4. Lack of joined-up thinking adds problems
• Drug and alcohol may be used as self-medication
• But these services have been slashed
• Dual diagnosis can make help even harder to find

5. Positive change is possible
• First be suicide safe. Survive the crisis, see 'You are not alone'
• Find a community that’s true to you
• Make connections, talk, train and volunteer, ideas in 'Not a number'
• Use the listings in this magazine to find support and free counselling.


News in brief, March–April 2018

 27 February 2018

Top: Tuck in, image © FoodCycle; below: Decay at the London Art Fair

Bed and work

Emmaus Cambridge, a community shelter that aims to provide homeless people with a bed and offer them useful work, is expanding its Landbeach Community to provide 10 more rooms, reports Cambridge News. Visitors to the charity shop at Landbeach can buy a brick and sign it for £5, which will go towards the building work that was due to start in January. Community director Diane Docherty believes the project provides the “perfect opportunity to support yet more vulnerable adults.”


Fire pilot

Nottingham council is running a pilot scheme that opens the main fire station to homeless people on nights the temperature drops below freezing. One couple, Michael and Sarah, who have been sleeping rough on the streets of Nottingham “for months”, called the scheme a “brilliant” idea.

Sleeping bags, toiletries, clothes and hot drinks were also on offer at the fire station, courtesy of volunteers from the British Red Cross. The BBC quotes Nottingham Fire and Rescue group manager who said, “Our goal is to create safer communities, and sometimes this goes further than things such as fire and road safety."


Helping hand

A Birmingham business owner has offered a homeless man in Sparkbrook a two-week trial at his car wash. Birmingham Mail reports that business owner Shezad Zaman had also provided Kriss Wilkes with accommodation.


Decay at the London Art Fair 2018

Project collaborators Hopeful Traders Clothing’s Charlie Wright with Marice Cumber, who runs Accumulate, a charity which empowers young homeless people through creativity. Charlie’s T-shirt is from a design by Deborah Okako, one of the Evolve hostel residents (aged 16-25) in Stockwell who made Accumulate’s second zine, Decay. Next zine will be made at workshops with House of St Barnabas’ employment academy graduates.



Young people facing the prospect of sleeping rough in Glasgow can now have temporary shelter in residents’ spare rooms. Launched by the Simon Community Scotland (SCS) the initiative offers a maximum of three nights' accommodation, over three weeks, during which the young people will be given intensive support, reports Scottish Housing News. To date the scheme, known as Nightstop, has trained four volunteer hosts, with three more being trained, but the plan is to recruit far more.


Free cuts

An Edinburgh police box that was transformed into a barbershop for homeless men, in Leith, now also offers haircuts to homeless women, reports The London Economic. The blue box is fitted with electricity and running water and provides toiletries, tea and biscuits. It’s open on the last Saturday of every month.


Tap chuggers

Social enterprise TAP London is aiming to provide homeless people with work as charity fundraisers on the streets of London. Employees are provided with a box that takes contactless payment, with the current charge being £3, £2 of which goes towards the salary of the fundraiser, while the remaining money is split between two charities. Fundraisers are paid the London living wage, currently £9.75 an hour, and are paid regardless of how many contributions they receive from the public, according to Reuters.

Co-founder Katie Whitlock is hopeful the scheme can have a positive impact as “more employment opportunities are needed. Homeless individuals are rarely given a chance to be part of their solution.”


Snoring success

Following the success of the original event, more Sleep in the Park nights are being planned for Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh according to the Scotsman. The first sleep-out, held in Edinburgh in December, is expected to help 500 people off the streets, through the £4 million raised by 8,000 attendees.


Love not money

A meeting hosted by Love Southampton saw 70 delegates from groups based in the city, discuss how to improve the conditions of the increasing numbers of homeless people in the city. Staff from local businesses and politicians of all parties discussed ways to ease the plight of a growing number of Southampton’s population, with closer links between charities discussed at length. Also discussed was the need for more accommodation across the city, reports the Daily Echo. “We hope that this leads to collaborative working and creative solutions for the good of all in our city," said organiser Paul Wood. Practical advice on the website explains to the public why people beg, but recommends not giving spare change. uk/housing/


Rental challenge

A new report by the London School of Economics recommends the government better support social landlords and councils to expand and improve private renting. Private Renting: can social landlords help? uses evidence from 20 social landlords, four local authorities, three housing charities and a number of private landlord organisations.

“One of the most contradictory developments in private renting lies in the growth in buy-to-let tenancies on council estates. Many councils no longer have enough accommodation for homeless families that they are obliged to help, so they house them in private lettings in former right-to-buy properties on large social housing estates. Around 40 per cent of all right-to-buy properties are now re-let privately. This poses major challenges for housing management; it drives up Housing Benefit bills, and it causes maintenance problems on flatted estates. At the moment, there are no proposals to tackle this new form of problematic private renting in England. But the Scottish government has abolished the right- to-buy, and the Welsh Government is proposing to do likewise,” says the report.


Tuck in

In March when Norwood Junction (Croydon) opens, FoodCycle will be running a dozen London lunch clubs. Meals are made from food that would be thrown away and shared to tackle loneliness. Just six months after FoodCycle Finsbury Park opened, it celebrated serving the 1,000th meal with a lunch for 72 guests at Finsbury Park Community Hub. Local MP Jeremy Corbyn popped in and thanked the 14 volunteer cooks and their guests, adding: “Homelessness is a growing problem in London but this shows there are a lot of people who don’t just pass by.” Find your nearest at 


Valentine tragedy

Government figures reveal that on any one night, Westminster has the most rough sleepers (217). Tragically, there’s now one less homeless man seeking shelter in Westminster tube underpass. Early on 14 February, after a chilling night, a homeless man died in Exit Three, a few metres from the Houses of Parliament.

People do freeze to death in the streets, even in the UK. But the term ‘homeless’ is not used as a cause of death. In this case, police were treating the man’s death as “unexplained not suspicious”, reported the Guardian and Independent.

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner tweeted: “A homeless man who was seen frequently at the tube entrance to Portcullis House Westminster underground station has been found dead today. Whatever the circumstances it's a terrible tragedy that somebody ends their days like this, the govt must do more to combat homelessness.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn left flowers and a card, saying: “This should never have happened. As a country we must stop walking by. Rest in peace.”

Every death of a homeless person is an outrage. But when it happens on the government’s doorstep, could it be the turning point? As the Pavement goes to press we have to hope so.

In November St Martins-in-the-Fields holds a service to “commemorate those people whose lives have been shortened by homelessness.” At this service, names are read out of everyone who has died on the streets that year, or in hostels and shelters, as well as those who moved on to more settled lives, but who still relied on homelessness services.

Send names of anyone you know to have died during 2018 to to be read out at the service. The Pavement also publishes the list on our website.


Numbers up

 27 February 2018

Image © Matt Cooper.

For the seventh year in a row, the number of people sleeping rough across England has increased. It’s now the highest since records began, with approximately 4,751 people sleeping on the streets on any night in 2017. This is a 15 per cent increase on the 2016 survey.

The numbers are drawn from single-night street counts and estimates from local authorities, and published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The new stats do not include the hidden homeless, especially young people, who are unable to find a permanent place to stay because they cannot afford soaring rents or house prices.

In 2017, the north-west of England saw the biggest increase in rough sleeping since last year (39 per cent). This was followed by the East Midlands (23 per cent) and Yorkshire and the Humber (20 per cent).



There are 651 bed spaces in Camden but rough sleeping increased in Camden dramatically last year – by 647 per cent. On any one night there will be 127 people sleeping rough in the borough. Camden now has the third highest number of rough sleepers in England, narrowly beaten by Brighton & Hove (178) and Westminster (217).


Do the maths...

• 82% of homeless people felt the media portrayed them in a negative way, Groundswell
• 69% of homeless people said the public ignored them on a daily basis, Groundswell
• 73% rise in rough sleeping over the past three years, Homeless Link
• 71% of homeless people feel ashamed of their situation, Groundswell


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