Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Jan-Feb 2021 : CHANGE 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.

DOWNLOADS

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
Ollie the twitterrific bird appears courtesy of www.twitterrific.com

IN THE LATEST ISSUE

In pod we trust
Speaking to George Fisher, architecture student and designer of easily assembled ‘pods’ working in a night shelter in Redbridge, Ilford for the 2019-20 winter, the words “dignity”, “privacy” and “comfort” continually resurface. These ideas appear to be the three driving forces behind George’s design – an adaptation of...
Gone missing
Research suggests that around half of the people who are homeless had run away or been forced to leave home which is why sleeping rough is “a common experience” for both missing adults and children. There are also links between going missing as a child and adult homelessness,...
Playtime
In a nutshellThe writer argues that playing the system to get housed...
Hard to believe?
In the book Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll a character admits...
Cold comforts
Little Miss Homeless by Harriet Earle-Brown has got to be the most...
Survival stories
We know many councils have done good work supporting and rehoming people...

ANNOUNCEMENTS

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

Journalist Meet Up
Writers monthly meetings suspended because of Covid-19

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

10 January 2021


Brummie chefs cook up a fundraising feast: Michelin star chef Glynne Purnell (R), who is often on TV, teamed up with Birmingham City Council to host a virtual cooking show on 8 December. The Big Birmingham Cook-A-Long will support a scheme helping homelessness charities via Change into Action. Guest appearances included Birmingham Cllr Sharon Thompson (L), in charge of Homes & Neighbourhoods, who was a homeless teen. © Big Birmingham Cook-A-Long


Access Hub: at 389 Argyle Street is run by Simon Community Scotland, and provides vital support to homeless people in Glasgow City Centre. This new service launched in September 2020, and is open Mon – Sun from 9am – 5pm. Call the Street Team on 0800 027 7466 for urgent out-of-hours assisstance.
www.simonscotland.org © Iain McLean


Homeless Project Scotland set up by Colin McInnes and volunteers, registered as a charity in June 2020 after starting up as a food run in October 2019. Amazingly, during March–August last year it distributed 3,500 meals each week to hostels and vulnerable families all over Scotland. You can enjoy a hot meal at the Friday night soup kitchen run by the Glasgow City Mission (now an Overnight Welcome Centre). Typical dishes include chilli, chicken curry, soups and veggie pasta, usually eaten by around 190 homeless and vulnerable people. Colin says shifting this amount of food around was only possible thanks to People’s Ford in Edinburgh giving a transit van free of charge and Arnold Clark buying them a van. “We’re travelling over 7,500 miles a month,” adds Colin.
© Homeless Project Scotland


Congratulations to the creative superpowers at Accumulate who have just published a graphic novel. The Book of Homelessness, billed as the “world’s first ever graphic novel created by people affected by homelessness”, began life as creative workshops in January 2020. Founder of Accumulate, Marice Cumber said: “this beautiful book shows the complexities of homelessness, and what causes it, and the struggles that people have undertaken to succeed and flourish.” Contributor Amalia said the workshops, “Helped me use my talents to create pieces of art and poetry for the book. The sessions helped me to grow and transform and heal from domestic abuse, from being homeless and unstable.”

Visit accumulate.org.uk to buy, or follow @accumulate_ldn

News in Brief 130: Jan – Feb 2021

10 January 2021
If it would start to rain in change drawn by Donatas Mitonis © DM If it would start to rain in change drawn by Donatas Mitonis © DM

New year's resolution

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote in inews in November that homeless people “deserve to be kept safe from Covid-19 too”. Thankfully there was a plan of action to support his reassuring words. After labelling rising homelessness a “national disgrace”, Khan also called on the government to scrap plans to remove rough sleeping migrants from the UK for not having permanent residence. Noting the impending drop in temperature, Khan also demanded from government “the funding and support we need to provide more Covid-safe, self-contained accommodation, rather than shared dormitories in homeless shelters, for everyone in need.”


Not Everyone In

Huffpost UK revealed in November that the government wouldn’t be reintroducing its ‘Everyone In’ policy, which saw people sleeping rough placed into emergency accommodation during the first Covid-19 lockdown that began in late March 2020. Worse still, the Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Kelly Tolhurst, hadn’t made any clear commitment to new lockdown measures to house people sleeping rough over winter. Responding to an urgent question in the House of Commons on the safety of people sleeping rough during the lockdown in November, Tolhurst insisted the government was “dedicating over £700m to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping alone this year [2020].”


Budget Boost

In response to calls for more funding, chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged an additional £151m spending on homelessness in the next financial year, beginning April 2021. The day before Sunak’s announcement in late November 2020, English councils had asked for £4bn to tackle an array of issues, including efforts to tackle homelessness.

St Mungo’s, meanwhile, warned of the legacy a £1bn cut in funding for homelessness services since 2008 would have. Sunak, quoted in the Guardian, vowed the government “will do everything we can to support those who have been hardest hit [by the pandemic].”


2021 vision

After the delightful surprises 2020 had up its sleeve, what awaits us in 2021? As Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Kelly Tolhurst said in November, the government is committed to ending homelessness. She took to repeating a £700m figure spent on tackling the issue in 2020 alone. But, unsurprisingly, this was a stretch. Huffpost UK estimated £433m of that figure was for a longer term project to create 6,000 new homes for people sleeping rough, an initiative the government announced in May 2020.

It had promised to deliver half of them by May 2021 but was mysteriously unable to share if work had even begun in October 2020. Huffpost UK was able to glean that Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has apportioned "£9.5m of the loot to Cromwood Housing Ltd, a development company blighted by a track record of renting out fire risk flats." So maybe don’t expect a shiny new story about the project’s impending success in our next issue…


Bad law project

More on the Home Office’s cruel intentions to rush through plans to remove people of foreign nationality sleeping rough from the UK. As the Pavement went to press it was uncertain the Home Office would be successful, with a wave of protest and outrage meeting news of the plans. The Good Law Project organised a coalition of local law centres to challenge the new measures. The coalition say Home Secretary Priti Patel’s proposals are unlawful, and make a mockery of her promise of a “compassionate” Home Office in the aftermath of the Windrush scandal. The groups also said the policy would contravene the European Convention on Human Rights.


Solidarity not charity

Streets Kitchen opened a new Archway branch in December, offering warm meals to the homeless community every Friday and Sunday evening. It’s the latest in a string of new Street Kitchens popping up in London, courtesy of founder Jon Glackin and a small army of formidable and reliably brilliant volunteers. The Archway Streets Kitchen joins others running throughout, and now beyond, the second national lockdown. Find them at Archway, Camden, Clapham Common, Dalston, King’s Cross, Hackney, Haringey, Kilburn, Shoreditch, Stockwell and Tooting. And breathe. Incredible.

Updates on www.facebook.com/StreetsKitchenOfficial


Kind akt

A charity for young LGBTIQ+ people was hard at work in lockdown 2.0, back in November last year. akt, formerly known as the Albert Kennedy Trust, was busy helping LGBTIQ+ people facing homelessness in Manchester, connecting them to local services and offering support themselves. In particular akt has been helping young people who are ‘hidden homeless’, for example people staying on a friend’s couch. Assistant Director of Services at the charity, Hayley Speed, told the Manchester Evening News “It’s been difficult to see because they’ve not done anything wrong – it’s because of things out of their control.”


City of, er, love?

A community of homeless migrants who had set up a camp in Place de la République, Paris, were savagely removed from their makeshift shelter by a violent police force late last year. A brave group of volunteers had linked arms with the homeless people, in a futile effort to block the police’s path. They chanted “papers for all, accommodation for all”, according to the BBC. Police dished out liberal amounts of tear gas and baton beat-downs to disperse them. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, reacting to the shocking scenes of police brutality, ordered a report into the law enforcement’s behaviour.


Misuse of authority

In our previous issue the Pavement reported on Peter Krykant’s mobile drug consumption room fitted into a van. Krykant’s van had a successful trial run in Glasgow in September, and we carried a quote of his that “we need to stop criminalising people.”

It proved prophetic. Just after the Pavement went to press Krykant was charged by police with Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act. Krykant is accused of blocking officers from monitoring the consumption rooms. “I’m surprised at this because there have been regular police patrols passing by and I have chatted away with officers,” Krykant told the Daily Record.


Progress. Perdiod.

The Period Products Bill passed Scottish Parliament in late November, the final step before it consolidates in law the free provision of sanitary products for those who need them. It’s a huge step towards ending period poverty in the country, when people are blocked from basic, necessary period products because they cannot afford them. People experiencing homelessness are covered by the bill, which was introduced by Monica Lennon MSP.


Unit dinners

A new family restaurant opened in Whiteinch, Glasgow over the festive period, will be feeding patrons and the local homeless community alike. The Unit delivers a staggering 500 meals a day to homeless people in the city, according to Glasgow Live. Claire Lilley, who works at the restaurant/social space told the website the The Unit had “made and delivered 475,000 meals to vulnerable families,” by the time the Pavement went to press.


Plus and minus

“A lot of people have been housed or accommodated by the council and that’s positive,” says Colin McInnes from Homeless Project Scotland, “but the negative is that they are getting housing but with no support, so are not managing to sustain this accommodation. If they have addictions and don’t behave themselves, they end up losing their place. Cold turkey can kill you: if someone is an alcoholic for 15 years and told not to drink they are setting up people to fail. We find they get barred from everywhere and then there’s nowhere to be put.”
Homeless Project Scotland also runs a free 24-hour hotline which you can call to get somewhere safe to sleep. “We take your call and then call the authorities. We hold the authorities to account and advocate on the caller’s behalf. A person has a right to accommodation, and we’ll assist you to get to that accommodation,” said Colin.

24 hour hotline:
0800 0147 160 and see
www.homelessprojectscotland.org

News in Brief 128: Sep – Oct 2020

01 November 2020

Forced out

Some readers of the Pavement may have caught Ross Kemp’s Living With ‘Forced Out’ Families on ITV in early July. Many will be all too familiar with the subject matter. The show demonstrated English councils systemic, continual breaking of the law when relocating homeless people. Councils regularly relocate homeless people outside of their borough, failing to notify the borough they are sending them to. Local authorities moving homeless people are legally obliged to inform the council they move them to, in order to arrange support structures such as medical, educational and social support.

The documentary identified at least 60 councils in England breaking the law requiring them to notify councils they send homeless people to. The leader of Basildon council in Essex, Gavin Callaghan, said the council had to send people to northern cities for accommodation, because the housing stock in his authority had been bought up by richer London councils. An exasperated Callaghan told Kemp: “58% of the time we [Basildon council] haven’t been notified when people have been moved into the borough”. Birmingham received the most homeless people from other councils, with 44 different councils relocating 370 households to the city.


Sleep-in success

Back in May 2019, the Big Sleep Out campaign raised more than £50,000 for the Cornerstone Day Centre in Hulme, Manchester. The Covid-19 pandemic required organisers to change the format this year, with participants asked to spend the night at home, but not sleep in their beds.

The ‘sleep-in’ was again organised in support of the Cornerstone shelter. A couple of days before the sleep-in on 10 July, Lorraine Cumbo, Service Manager at Cornerstone Day Centre, told the Manchester Evening News that the fundraiser “increases awareness of homelessness in Greater Manchester and the devastating effects of isolation and marginalisation”.


Turning a Cornerstone

A partnership between Coventry City Council (CCC) and the social enterprise group Cornerstone Partnership is bearing fruit. The partnership aims to get homeless families into secure, permanent residence, and recently occupied its 100th property in the West Midlands. Meanwhile, Coventry Live report the group’s partnership with CCC has seen 83 properties made available in the city. Homes under the scheme are rented for a minimum of 12 months, with rent set at the Local Housing Allowance rate. CCC entered the agreement in an attempt to wean itself off the extortionate and ineffectual policy of using temporary accommodation to house families.


What next?

With lockdown’s gradual relaxation beginning the end of emergency accommodation for thousands of homeless people, councils across England needed to think up ways to house a growing population of people without permanent, secure residence. Liverpool City Council (LCC) hoped to have found a way to house 300 homeless people in July. As the Pavement went to press, homeless people and rough sleepers in the city were waiting on a decision by the LCC’s cabinet to appropriate vacant properties in the city for new accommodation.

Liverpool Express detailed the council’s plans to repurpose the city’s housing allocation scheme to prioritise the homeless population leaving lockdown emergency accommodation, with more than 200 properties being made available as of early July.


Community effort

Reuters report that at least 2,000 homeless people have been housed in shelters across the South African city of Tshwane. Numerous shelters were swiftly established once South Africa went into lockdown, being variously run by community members, charities and the government. The shelters have provided relief beyond simply providing beds. Medical staff are on hand at the majority of shelters in the city, offering support and medical services to drug users. Michael Steyn, a homeless man with a 25-year heroin habit, has spent the lockdown in a shelter providing opioid substitution therapy. At the shelter he has managed to kick his addiction, saying he now: “Feel[s] stronger and want[s] to help others feel this way”.


News cycle

Cycling Scotland have been busy during the Covid-19 lockdown, and not just because everybody and their dog appear to have taken up cycling. Staff at the national cycling organisation have been working up a sweat delivering meals on wheels, among other essential supplies, to homeless people and asylum seekers temporarily housed in Glasgow’s hotels. According to Scottish Housing News (SHN), two cyclists from a team of nine have spent every weekday of lockdown from April 8 dropping off PPE, clothing, sanitary products and toiletries at hotels and B&Bs across the city. SHN report the cycling team have amassed more than 290 deliveries and clocked up 800 miles between them during lockdown.


Grant giveaway

Supermarket chain Morrisons sent grants to numerous homeless charities in Glasgow, as part of a wider charitable drive which has seen the supermarket award grants worth £560,000 to 94 separate charities, as of mid-July. Glasgow Evening Times reported Shelter Scotland, The Wheatley Foundation and Simon Community Scotland had all received grants from the Morrisons Foundation’s ‘Covid-19 Homeless Support Fund’. Simon Community Scotland received a grant for £8,000, with director of services and development Hugh Hill praising Morrisons, for “helping us [Simon Community Scotland] reach more people, fund clothing, food, toiletries and mobile phones”.

Hotel Caledonia

In stark contrast to Westminster policy, Scotland promised homeless people in lockdown emergency accommodation that they wouldn’t be forced on to the street once lockdown was eased. The announcement by the Scottish government, reported by the Daily Record, arrived in July, as hotels in the UK started welcoming new customers. Earlier that month councils in Scotland were informed by the Government that they would not have extra funding to house homeless people in hotels beyond August. However, only a few days later funding for indefinite hotel stays for homeless people was ring-fenced by the Scottish government. Announcing the funding Local Government, Housing & Planning minister Kevin Stewart said, “Our priority is to ensure no one returns to rough sleeping following the pandemic”.


Lockdown meals

Shout out to Richie Roncero at stepstohope.co.uk caring for people who are homeless and those suffering with addiction, who has been busy in Edinburgh offering three-course meals and pizza at Monday Munchies and Sunday Suppers. There’s also a wagon serving burgers and a Sunday night hostel. 

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