Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

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August - September 2022 : Creativity READ ONLINE

the Pavement

the Pavement 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.

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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 contact@thepavement.org.uk at the Pavement!

VOLUNTEER

If you are a journalist with some free time to research and write stories for the magazine, please contact us web@thepavement.org.uk. 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

The joys of food
I am a firm believer that there are three core things that make us human: community, laughter and sharing nourishing food. And every week, up and down the country in churches, community centres and schools, hundreds of people are coming together at FoodCycle meals to share in just...
Panic writing
OH FUCK. It’s 5:30am on a Monday morning and the hard print deadline for this piece is this morning. The editor has already held up my submission deadline for a couple of days. If you end up writing for this magazine, please remember this isn’t regular protocol.I first...
Down the rabbit hole
Welcome to Wonderland, where my quest for knowledge leaves me endlessly searching...
Dark to light
You stand there in the dark. It engulfs you, its lure pulls...
Staying connected
Whether it's primitive people grunting over a wild boar dinner around a...
On the ward
Part I The numbers worked insistently to define and describe new, unique...

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Streets Kitchen offers FOOD DAILY in various London locations.
Mostly evenings (plus the Sunday dinner project, Camden)

Want to talk?
Mind, a mental health charity
www.mind.org.uk or 0300 123 3393
 To discuss your mental health over message,
text “SHOUT” for free to 85258


NEWS about coronavirus COVID19
Useful protocol guidance from
Housing Justice:
homeless.org.uk/connect
covid-19
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?

23 June 2015

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

23 June 2015

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

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

01 August 2022
Accumulate’s Utopia exhibition on opening night, July © the Pavement Accumulate’s Utopia exhibition on opening night, July © the Pavement

The Accumulate exhibition

Congratulations to everyone involved in Accumulate’s latest project, Utopia, A New World for Everyone. The exhibition, being held at One Crown Place, near Moorgate and Liverpool St, London, features architectural models, visual arts and creative writing by young people with lived experience of homelessness. People involved in the project worked with architects from the AHMM firm, as well as creative arts tutors and practitioners, to learn new skills and develop their creativity. The Accumulate group worked on the project from April to June this year, with the Utopia show featuring their work opening in July. Learn more about the Utopia exhibition, and how to get involved with Accumulate projects on its website: accumulate.org.uk


World Cup woes

This year’s FIFA World Cup being held in Qatar this winter has courted controversy and outrage for a number of reasons. Now, Middle East Eye (MEE) has revealed residents of the emirate are being priced out, and even evicted, as accommodation shortage has rocketed rents. Foreign residents in Doha, the capital, are seeing their rent exponentially increase, and even have their tenancy contracts outright cancelled. MEE has received numerous reports of aggressive landlords squeezing tenants out in order to further hike rental prices in the lead up to the World Cup, which kicks off in November.


Brummie baths

Three friends in Birmingham are opening a mobile shower unit for homeless people in the city. Don Russell, Bruce Loudon and Ewen Kinnear teamed up with Londonbased ShowerBox to run the project. The BBC reports the shower will be available for use over the summer, open once a week in the grounds of St Philip’s Cathedral. The trio ran the 10km Great Birmingham Run in early May to raise funds for the project.

  • For more information about ShowerBox, including London opening times, visit their website here: showerbox.org


Amnesty obstacles

Human rights organisation Amnesty International UK launched its 2022 report into homelessness in England at the start of June. The report, titled An Obstacle Course, outlines Amnesty UK’s stance that every person has the right to a safe and stable home. Among the report’s recommendations is a call for the Department of Levelling up, Housing and Communities to recognise and incorporate the right to adequate housing in domestic law, policy and practice. Amnesty is also calling for Local Housing Allowance to be “immediately adjusted” to reflect rising rents.


Play on

A new play about homelessness premiered in Bristol’s The Wardrobe Theatre in June, ahead of a series of shows scheduled for the Edinburgh Fringe festival in August. Suspension Theatre CIC's new production tells a patchwork of stories from the homeless community in Bristol. The play’s script uses real words from real people in the homeless community, sharing stories that are funny, sad, painful and poignant. The play, titled Sugar?, has been produced in partnership with the Bristol homeless charities Billy Chip and 1625 Independent people. Sugar? will be performed at the Greenside venue during the Edinburgh Fringe festival from 8–13 and 15–20 August.


© Jack Wiseall


Café crowdfunder

A social enterprise cafe in east London faces closure as the cost of living crisis bites. The Canvas, located in Tower Hamlets, gives free meals to homeless people and refugees, but has had to launch a crowdfunding effort to raise £100,000 following a drop in donations and sales. The Canvas’s founder, Ruth Rogers, outlined the cafe’s sales problems to the Guardian: “April was 5% down on March and May is looking like 15% down on April. This feels like a direct impact of the cost of living issues people are facing.” The social enterprise enables free meals to be offered to homeless people by asking paying customers to “pay it forward,” adding the cost of a drink, snack or meal to their order “for someone who might not be able to afford their own.”


                     The Canvas cafe, Tower Hamlets. © The Canvas


Scotland

Jubilee jamborie

The Waterloo Bar in Glasgow donated hundreds of pounds to Homeless Project Scotland on the Platinum Jubilee weekend in June, instead of spending the equivalent on decorations for the festivities. According to Glasgow Live, the pub donated £300 to the homeless charity’s soup kitchen operation. Homeless Project Scotland runs a soup kitchen three nights a week close to the pub, serving about 300 people a week. Pub boss Bobby Gibson said the donation was “by no means a political/religious statement… just common sense."


Profit of doom

Private companies and landlords have raked in more than a quarter of a billion pounds from councils in Scotland to provide homeless accommodation over a five year period. An investigation by the Ferret has revealed councils spent almost £80m on privately-run accommodation in 2020/21 alone. Some temporary housing provided by private companies costs the council more than £300 per week, and many properties have been described as “hell holes” by campaigners speaking to the Ferret. So what do homeless people get in return for the princely sum handed over to private firms and landlords? As the Ferret details in its investigation, privately run homeless B&Bs often have no cooking or laundry facilities, with residents kept in cramped rooms and placed under curfew with bans on visitors. The accommodation is not regulated by the Care Inspectorate, and staff are not required to have any social care qualifications. 


Legal advice

People detained in HMP Greenock and Low Moss will have access to tailored legal advice and representation, with a focus on understanding their housing options, in a new project from the Legal Services Agency (LSA). The project will be funded by St Martin-in-theFields Charity for the next three years. As part of the project – titled Disrupting Cycles of Disadvantage: Early Intervention in Homelessness – LSA will work with individuals within a few weeks of their custody into prison and in the six to eight weeks leading up to their release. These sessions will outline the specific legal and support needs the individuals and their families require, according to Scottish Legal News.


2030 vision

The Glasgow Alliance to End Homelessness has appointed Jack Rillie as its new director. The citywide alliance is a collaboration of support providers and people with lived experience of homelessness. They aim to end homelessness in the city by 2030. Rillie will take over in August. Speaking to Herald Scotland, Rillie emphasised the alliance’s commitment to “collaboration over competition, placing people with lived experience and those who use services at the centre of service design.”


Techno massive

Aberdeen Council have announced they will become the first local authority in Scotland to utilise a “technology-led” approach to support homeless people. STV News reports the council have partnered with online fundraising platform Beam in their mission to eradicate homelessness in Aberdeen by 2024. The ambitious plan will initially support 30 homeless people in Aberdeen secure jobs over a 12-month period. Participants of the scheme will be assigned a caseworker from Beam and will be able to fundraise through Beam for the cost of work-related expenses, including childcare, a laptop and travel. Beam will match participants with employers it has connections with. Council co-leader Ian Yuill, said: “Working collaboratively with organisations like this, we can end homelessness in Aberdeen.”




News in brief 137: Apr-May 2022

01 April 2022

Pen pals

Amnesty International has accused Camden Council of a breach of human rights in its treatment of people sleeping rough. The human rights charity joined with Liberty, another human rights organisation, to write a letter condemning numerous “reported incidents of harassment towards rough sleepers,” and voice their shared concern of an “ever-growing hostile environment across Camden for those sleeping rough.” The reported incidents of harassment, which include council officers taking the luggage of people sleeping rough and photographing them without consent, would break Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In its February story, the Camden New Journal noted how rare it is for Amnesty to directly address and criticise a local authority.


Model planning

New modular homes are springing up across the country, with a project in Peckham, London set to open in May 2022. Southwark News reports the 33 self-contained 21 metresquared studio flats will house young people who will pay a third of their income in rent – demonstrating a financially viable rent for the occupants. A spokesperson for charity Centerpoint’s Independent Living Programme said the project will free up much-needed hostel space, whilst also “tackling the shortage of quality affordable accommodation head-on.”


Displace disgrace

Hundreds of families in Nigeria have been made homeless overnight as government clearances, led by a fleet of bulldozers supervised by the military, police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, destroyed whole villages in the Diobu area of Urualla, Port Harcourt. The clearances started in late January, and have destroyed eight communities in the city so far, with three more neighbourhoods set to be cleared. The eight destroyed communities are home to an estimated 15,000 families. The government claim the clearances are part of an effort to “sanitise the waterfronts” of the southern Nigerian city. The now-displaced people that had been living in these communities, meanwhile, say they were given just seven days notice before the demolitions. “We are refugees in our own state,” said Diobu resident Mary Prince. The Guardian further reports that residents were offered neither consultation or compensation, as is required by law.


Homes alone

The latest figures, revealed in November 2021, show there are 238,306 homes in England classed as long-term empty homes. An empty home is classed as long-term if it has been vacant for at least six months. The number of empty homes is rising, by a staggering 20% in the five years from November 2016. The Action on Empty Homes Nobody Home report, published in September of last year, went further, revealing one in three homes in London’s financial centre are empty. Many of these properties will be left vacant to appreciate in value on the housing market.


Late news

Liverpool City Council has missed a deadline to propose a suitable building for a homeless shelter. It means it will lose more than £4m that had been pledged for the scheme by the government. The city’s previous year-round shelter had been closed during the pandemic. The money had been planned to be used alongside £6.393m of council funding for 60 en-suite bedrooms and 40 one bed apartments to support short-term homeless recovery. Cabinet member for adult health and social care, Frazer Lake, said that the withdrawal of the funding was a “bitterly disappointing blow”. Work with other projects is on-going, according to the Liverpool Echo.


Scotland

A cut above

Hats off to Danny White Howe, a barber in Glasgow who devotes his Friday nights to offering his services for free to the city’s homeless population. While learning to cut hair, White Howe spent time volunteering at the Lodging Housing Mission in Gallowgate. He told the BBC he grew up with "a really nice background" and wants to help people less fortunate than he has been.


Homes reborn

Long-term empty homes in Glasgow are being repurposed and renovated to meet growing demand for housing. Rather than allow empty homes to degrade and fall into disrepair, Glasgow City Council has created an Empty Homes Strategy, designed to bring empty homes back into productive use. Since 2019, 607 homes which had been empty for at least six months are now in productive use. Scottish Housing News reports one of the express aims of the Empty Homes Strategy is to identify empty homes that can be repurposed as suitable accommodation for people experiencing homelessness.  

NEWS IN BRIEF 136: Feb-Mar 2022

01 February 2022
Driving for Change: 2 repurposed London buses offering free access to GPs, dentists, hairdressers and therapists, as well as digital and financial literacy training, help with opening a bank account, employment support, shower facilities and essential items. Driving for Change: 2 repurposed London buses offering free access to GPs, dentists, hairdressers and therapists, as well as digital and financial literacy training, help with opening a bank account, employment support, shower facilities and essential items.

London buses: You wait seemingly a lifetime for an innovative project to deck one out with an array of services for homeless people to access, and then two come along at once! The Change Please Foundation launched its Driving for Change initiative late last year, repurposing two London buses as an “all-in-one direct intervention service”. The buses offer free access to GPs, dentists, hairdressers and therapists, as well as digital and financial literacy training, help with opening a bank account, employment support, shower facilities and essential items. Driving for Change and other similar projects run by the Change Please Foundation are in part funded by proceeds from Change Please coffee, which pours 100% of its profits into financing charitable activities. According to the BBC the project is secured for at least two years.


Scoops and hoops

An investigation by the Independent has revealed that hundreds of homeless people in England are being instructed by councils to sleep rough on the streets before they can access housing support. The investigation detailed how people presenting themselves as homeless to their local council are routinely turned away, being told they must stay on the streets to be picked up by an outreach team. In many cases official guidance states people asking for accommodation from their local council must verify they have been sleeping rough, if they cannot they are turned out on to the street and advised to seek an outreach team. Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, told the Independent, “it is beyond belief that people facing the horror and danger of sleeping rough are only classified as being street homeless if they are bedded down outside at night.”


Cash jab

In early January the government confirmed plans to offer people sleeping rough in England cash and food voucher incentives to get the Covid-19 vaccine. According to the Guardian, Eddie Hughes, minister for rough sleeping, has informed councils they are welcome to use part of the government’s £28m protect and vaccinate scheme to promote and reward vaccine uptake. Covid-19 has hit homeless people particularly hard, with one in 50 deaths among people experiencing homelessness related to Covid-19 in 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).


Micro home 2.0

Cornwall Council has purchased 29 self-contained micro homes for people experiencing homelessness. The one-bedroom SoloHaus units were bought from Essex-based The Hill Group, and will replace cabin style units the council had been renting to house homeless people. The homes will be deployed to various locations in Cornwall over the next couple of months, according to Cornwall Live.


For more information visit koestlerarts.org.uk




Bedding down

London-based charity Glass Door fears beds for people experiencing homelessness in the capital could be down by half on pre-pandemic levels. As readers will know, many charities and shelters have been forced to close communal night shelters this winter, as Covid-19, and in particular the Omicron variant of the virus, has spread. Glass Doors’ communal night shelters were themselves closed over the Christmas period, and the charity told Big Issue its available bed space was down to 56 this winter, while prepandemic it could shelter 170 guests.

  • Find information on shelters and other vital services in the List in the centre pages


Key worker

Nikki Campbell, a theatre recovery nurse working at Royal Liverpool Hospital, found herself homeless two days before Christmas, after a family relationship breakdown. She spent Christmas Day in a borrowed car with her two dogs, not wanting to “bother” her friends. She was told that she was not a priority case by Liverpool Council, which left her worrying that she may have to give up her dogs in order to work her shifts and find stable housing. Thankfully, her story in the Liverpool Echo caught the attention of Sacha Lord, a local businessman, who was appalled to hear of her situation. In order to help Nikki secure permanent housing, he gave her £5,000 towards paying rent in advance.

Scotland
Debt collectors

Homeless families in Scotland owe £33.3m to 29 councils, a report by Glasgow’s Legal Services Agency (LSA) has found. The LSA say this debt has been levelled against 29,641 households, and goes towards the cost of being rehoused. The news, revealed in the Sunday Mail on 9 January, sparked widespread outrage. Campaigners have called for the debt to be forgiven, but so far only Fife council has ruled out pursuing the debt. LSA’s report found much of the emergency housing was in poor condition, and the report also revealed some homeless tenants have been billed for food, electricity, gas and administration fees. LSA is asking for the law in Scotland to be changed following the shocking revelations of its report. The Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 allows councils to charge homeless people for emergency accommodation.


New high (new low)

In late November 2021, the National Records of Scotland (NRS) released figures for people who had died homeless in 2020. There were 256 people who died while experiencing homelessness in 2020, according to the NRS, an increase of 40 on the previous year. The NRS’s data reveals 59% of homeless deaths in Scotland in 2020 were drug-related, while most of those who died (77%) were male (197 deaths). The figures were compiled by examining death registration records to find people who were sleeping rough or staying in temporary accommodation when they died, according to the BBC. Already dispiritingly high, the NRS stressed that the figures were an estimate, and the true number of people who had died experiencing homelessness was likely higher.


On the doorstep

Charity Homeless Project Scotland (HPS) have chastised Glasgow City Council for its apparent inaction on people sleeping rough in sub-zero temperatures this winter. HPS chairperson Colin McInnes called the council out after spotting a person sleeping rough on the doorstep of the council’s salubrious Glasgow City Chambers HQ. McInnes spotted the person in early January while out with the charity’s street team close to midnight. Calling the situation “disgraceful”, McInnes told Glasgow Live the person sleeping rough “had chosen the City Chambers to get that wee trickle of heat coming from underneath the door. It was freezing, the wind would have cut your hands off.”



Displaced space

Homeless charity Glasgow City Mission (GCM) face being moved from its purpose-built complex in Crimea Street, Glasgow, to make way for an office development. GCM only moved into its Clydeside home in 2009, but the site now risks demolition as part of a development project by developers Soller Group. According to the Daily Record, any purchase of the GCM building would be part of phase two of the Soller Group development. The first phase will see a 14-storey office space built in Carrick Square, with construction due to start in spring 2022. 

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