Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

Issue 120 [May-June 2019] RECOVERY

current issue

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.


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


Big red button
Recovery is the focus of this issue of the Pavement. Here Rob Edgar explains how he copes with feelings of contradiction and struggleLife when you’re in recovery is awash with great opportunities, some of which seem more desirable and welcoming than others. With the less attractive opportunities you...
The homeless film director
David Fussell talks about how he made Mystic Demon Killer and his hopes that it’ll become a cult classic. Interview by Jacqueline Messih and Judah StephensonA homeless filmmaker who completed his first feature film while living on Tottenham Court Road has premiered at Screen On The Green cinema....
Chicken or egg?
Which comes first: homelessness or the addiction? Report by Sarah Hough For...
Escape plan
What we lose in the fire we find in the ashes, writes...
The play's the thing
This interview with the Deputy Mayor of London, James Murray, was held...
Glasgow voices
Knowing you need help can be part of recovery. Interviews by Caroline...


Journalist Meet Up
An opportunity for London-based pavement volunteers to get together and discuss ideas for future content for upcoming magazines.
Monday 16th June
6pm – 7pm
Venue: Groundswell, St Matthews, Brixton, SW2 1JF (near Brixton tube)
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. 


01 May 2019

I can see clearly now: staff at Specsavers Kingston providing eye tests for homeless people in Kingston.
© Specsavers

Magical music: Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet at the Tate Modern saw 16 clients from The Connection join Streetwise Opera to play for the first three hours of the all-night performance with Gavin Bryars and the Academy of St Martin’s Orchestra. The venue quickly filled up and everyone then came together to play the final hour, which was a magical way to end.
© Tom Walton

Dining room:
Graih is the Manx word for love. It’s also an organisation running a drop-in and night shelter for those who are homeless and in insecure accommodation on the Isle of Man.

© Michael Manning

Creative power: After completing youth homelessness charity Accumulate’s course, Crystal Alleyne secured a place on the Access to HE diploma in Design & Digital Media at Ravensbourne University. She is seen here seen with Vice-Chancellor Linda Drew at the 2019 exhibition held at Autograph in Shoreditch. “I liked doing different things and finishing what I started," said Crystal.

© Accumulate

Listen up: Participants at the joint Groundswell and the Pavement action day held on International Women’s Day. Go to the Groundswell website to hear their podcast:
© Becky Evans

NEWS IN BRIEF: May - June 2019

01 May 2019

Dying homeless

The Museum of Homelessness is now managing the Dying Homeless Project, originally set up by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Over 18 months (Oct 2017–March 2019) the bureau logged the stories of the 800 men and women who died while sleeping rough or living in temporary accommodation. From now on the Museum of Homelessness wants you to contact them when you hear of a death.

Fatal inequality

Homeless people in England are dying at a rate of more than nine times higher in economically depressed areas than in the least deprived locations. The BBC has published analysis of recorded deaths among homeless people from 2013 to 2017 and when weighted against population, Blackburn with Darwen, in Lancashire, had the highest rate of deaths, with 10.2 per 100,000 of the population. A quarter of homeless deaths in the past five years took place in areas officially ranked among the 10% most deprived in the country.
Chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, Polly Neate, said: “People dying homeless is a direct consequence of a broken housing system.”

Hot water

Video footage posted by a member of the public on Facebook in late February showed Southern Rail workers pouring water on a homeless man at Sutton station. Angie Doll, the passenger services director for Southern Railway, confirmed the guilty pair had been suspended and put under investigation. British Transport Police has opened an investigation and is treating the incident as common assault.

Art and graft

Having stayed in Port Talbot’s YMCA hostel while he was homeless, Steven Roberts held his first show as an artist there. Roberts struggled growing up with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and was kicked out of his family home when he was 19. For almost a year he stayed at the YMCA hostel, where he had “a lot of time to sit and think,” he told WalesOnline. He also had time to focus on art, and, with the assistance of Caer Las advocacy charity, Roberts applied for uni. Now 22, Roberts is studying art at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

No rush

A year after the Windrush scandal broke, many victims of the government’s hostile environment remain homeless. Windrush refers to the generation of Caribbean people who came to the UK after World War Two. The scandal involved them, and many of their family, being deported, sacked and made homeless, despite being British citizens. The government was forced to apologise over its conduct; however, many people affected by the Home Office’s actions remain in dire straits. Meg Hillier MP, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said the Home Office lacked “any sense of urgency”.

Season ticket

Premier League club Crystal Palace FC’s homeless shelter scheme, which saw the club’s stadium opened to a number of local homeless people, was such a success last winter that the club plans on keeping the scheme running for years to come. Pavement 119 reported the south London club had, in collaboration with Croydon council, set up one of the ground’s lounges for people sleeping rough to use in the event of extreme weather. Now the scheme has been used on nine occasions, with the council praising the “promising start”.

Taking note

When 16-year-old Charlotte Howard of Hastings read a “heartbreaking” note on a bus stop written by Anthony Johnson, she decided to act. Johnson had been homeless for nine years and his note said that he was looking for work “to make life worth living”. Charlotte sent out an appeal on social media raising more than £1,000. It also led to Anthony being offered a job as a handyman and use of a caravan, which, once decorated, would provide him with shelter. When contacted by BBC Sussex over the story, Charlotte explained that “everybody deserves a home.”

Winning recipe

Late April saw homeless charity Emmaus Burnley raise funds by hosting a curry evening in the town’s award-winning Usha restaurant. According to the Burnley Express, those attending the fundraiser were treated to an array of dishes for £16, and learnt more about the work of Emmaus Burnley. Half of every £16 ticket purchase went to Emmaus to help pay for the social enterprise they run in Burnley and neighbouring Accrington.

Utter madness

Landlords in London are being paid incentives by hard-up councils of up to £8,300 to house homeless people, according to the Guardian. These payments were made more than 5,700 times in 2018, and do not replace actual rent. Housing campaigner Nye Jones said, “private landlords are using a council’s desperation to pocket huge cash incentives just to rent their property out.” For example, Barnet council in north London paid out £1.5m to landlords last year, despite its overall budget being slashed by £23m.
The council has built just 20 council houses over the past five years.

What housing crisis?

For the second year in a row, the number of vacant houses across England has increased. There were 216,186 long-term vacant homes in England between October 2017 and October 2018, representing a 5.3% increase on the previous year. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government defines long-term as a house empty for at least six months. About £53.6bn of property is left vacant, says Project Etopia, a modular home and school builder. Their chief executive, Joseph Daniels, said empty homes were “compounding the housing market’s deeply entrenched problems”.

Is this progress?

A year ago the Pavement welcomed the government’s new Homeless Reduction Act (HRA) with both scepticism and hope. Councils were now legally bound to help and support homeless people (good!). But they weren’t offered the necessary funding to make it workable (bad!). Fast-forward a year and a Local Government Association report has further highlighted the delicate balancing act of hope and despair. A sharp increase in people approaching councils for support and shelter has been registered. Before HRA became law, councils would only be obliged to offer temporary accommodation to people in priority need (pregnant, minor, etc.), so a spike was inevitable. However, the report, based on a survey answered by 150 councils, revealed 90% of councils were “seriously concerned” they could not meet the demand for affordable housing. Furthermore, HRA has had little impact on population trends of homeless people.

Tenants' rights

In a move hailed as groundbreaking for tenants’ rights by Shelter, the government is consulting on abolishing Section 21 evictions writes the Guardian. Announcing the plans, PM Theresa May called it “wrong” that “millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little notice and often little justification.”
The dreaded Section 21 eviction – one of the leading causes of family homelessness – looks set to be a thing of the past now the government has announced plans to scrap no-fault evictions. At the moment, landlords can get rid of tenants with as little as eight weeks’ notice after a fixed-term contract ends.

Ready in three

Students in San Diego broke the Guinness World Record for most sandwiches made in three minutes back in April. NBC San Diego reported that the students, from the San Diego Jewish Academy, made 868 sandwiches, all of which were donated to the Alpha Project, an organisation that helps homeless people in San Diego. The Alpha Project distributed the sandwiches among people living in their homeless shelter, as well as local people sleeping rough. The previous record was 490 sandwiches.

Line up

01 May 2019

© We Make Change

We Make Change Homelessness is a network of people who “believe homelessness is solvable”. First aim is to pressure the Government to repeal the Vagrancy Act (1824) with high profile actions planned for World Homelessness Day on 10 October. While Rosie Downes from Crisis says: “If you’ve had personal experience of enforcement action (eg, moved on, arrested or charged) under the Vagrancy Act, or worked with people who have had this experience, email”