Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Dec 2021 - Jan 2022 : OPPORTUNITY 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
Ollie the twitterrific bird appears courtesy of www.twitterrific.com

IN THE LATEST ISSUE

Hope springs
Opportunities? Very important and always come and go. In my case, homelessness both took away and offered me new opportunities. I lost my home soon after I graduated with a first-class degree in Undergraduate Psychology. The undergraduate degree is on its own not a prerequisite for any job,...
My life has been a storm
At the age of 26 I landed in a psychiatric hospital because of trauma I suffered when I was 15 years old. I was very lucky to get help but in order for recovery to work I had to face up to my truth and rewrite my story....
Crisis at Xmas
I remember when I was on the streets, Crisis at Xmas provided...
When opportunity knocks
I had a long history of homelessness – I spent time in...
You're in the spotlight
Anyone with experience working in outreach or crisis services may be familiar...
The right doctor
I was in a dire situation, made redundant, unable to find another...

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 December 2021
A portrait display at the Secret Museum © Museum of Homelessness A portrait display at the Secret Museum © Museum of Homelessness

Congratulations to all involved in the Secret Museum, a temporary museum run by the Museum of Homelessness (MoH) in London from 27 October to 7 November. The show brought together numerous true stories from the pandemic-stricken homeless community. Starting with a walking tour, which took in some of the local history of London’s South Bank and Waterloo area, including the old Bullring (now a massive Imax cinema), which was home to a large community of homeless people in the 80s and 90s. Attendees gradually worked their way to the Secret Museum itself. Here visitors were provided a stark reminder of the difficulties people have endured this last couple of years. These were stories from the front line, with MoH a core member of the Covid-19 homeless taskforce, set up to provide support to homeless people in the pandemic. 

  • To learn more about the work of MoH and find out what they have planned next, please visit their website here:
    museumofhomelessness.org

Reshuffle kerfuffle

So, farewell Robert Jenrick, and welcome Michael Gove. Like a mad game of musical chairs, only with far greater consequences, the cabinet reshuffle saw numerous minsters rotating roles in government. Gove replaces Jenrick as secretary of state at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Gove started his new role in September and is tasked with creating a strategy to deliver the government’s target of eradicating rough sleeping altogether.

Fresh start

According to industry website British Baker, the food chain Greggs has launched a partnership with Only a Pavement Away, a charity that helps connect people facing homelessness with jobs within the hospitality industry. Roisin Currie, Greggs’ People and Retail Director, said this partnership will help them “further support people facing homelessness,” by providing a “fresh start” to those who need it. Only a Pavement Away aims to create more than 700 jobs for those with insecure housing by 2024.

  • Visit the Only a Pavement Away website for information about this scheme and similar ones at: onlyapavementaway.co.uk

Quiz master

Many will know Jay Flynn, who during lockdown became an internet sensation through hosting virtual pub quizzes – which attracted more than half a million participants and raised more than £1m for charity. However, his life was very different in 2012. After a job loss and relationship breakdown, Flynn found himself on a bench in South Bank. For two years, he struggled to access the help he needed. This was before The Connection at St Martin-in-theFields came to his aid, helping, Flynn says, to rebuild him from “a shell of a person.” In October, the Lancashire Times reported he ran the London Marathon in aid of The Connection, running past the bench he used to sleep on.

  • Find information about The Connection at St Martin-in-theFields and other services in the List (pages A-P in the magazine, available to download)

Food for thought

Khaled Wakkaa fled the Syrian civil war in 2013. Before securing asylum in the UK in 2017, he and his family struggled. His wife fell seriously ill and with no funds to support themselves, she was denied entry to a Lebanese hospital. Thanks to donations from strangers she was able to access healthcare. Khaled said that this experience, alongside other caring strangers that helped him on his journey to the UK, has compelled him to repay this action, by engaging in voluntary work. Wakkaa spends most of his Sundays distributing home-cooked Syrian vegetarian meals to homeless people in Exeter city centre. “I understand what it’s like to be hungry,” he told the Guardian in October. Wakkaa now dreams of opening a Syrian street food van. With help from his local community in the UK, he is now accessing the training to turn his dream into a reality.

Token gesture...

Following the death of Billy Abernethy-Hope, his family launched ‘Billy Chips’, a new scheme aimed at tackling homelessness and food poverty. Being an ambulance driver, Billy worked with many vulnerable and homeless people. Before his death, Billy told his family about his idea to create a token that could be given to someone who is homeless, instead of money, which they could then exchange in cafes and shops for food and drinks. Following his death, his older sister decided to bring his plan to fruition. The Times reports the scheme has had immediate success, having spread from Bristol to the neighbouring cities of Bath and Oxford.

Centene update

The latest on issue 132’s news story about a US health insurance firm’s efforts to take over numerous UK-based services. The Centene Corporation took over 49 privately run GP surgeries in 2021, also taking on NHS-funded contracts including the Camden Health Improvement Practice for homeless patients. Courts will now examine whether the acquisition of these GP services was lawful. Islington councillor Anjna Khurana has – with the support of doctors, academics and campaigners – demanded a judicial review of the deal, and lawyers representing her confirmed to Private Eye the courts will now consider “the serious and widespread public concerns” over the deal.

Foul play

As the football season approaches its festive fixture pile-up in December, Premier League clubs in England’s top division hoped to raise funds for the homeless charity Shelter by having ‘home’ clubs play in their away strips. The unused home shirts were to be signed by players and then auctioned off, Sky Sports reported in November. Alas, the fundraising scheme was refused almost immediately by the Premier League. The league released a statement explaining the request would contravene its rules on supporting charities “centrally”. 

SCOTLAND - News in brief

COP and coppers: More on the COP26 climate change summit held in Glasgow in late October to early November. Metro reported in November that police working the summit donated their surplus food to Homeless Project Scotland, a charity that runs soup kitchens in the city. The outdoor kitchens were feeding up to 1,300 people every night during the summit. Colin McInnes, the charity’s chairman and founder, told Metro: “Delegates [invited to COP26] are walking by the soup kitchen all the time as it’s on the way to the train station. It’s horrifying that none of them want to pop by and say hello.”


Spiky decision

Anti-homeless architecture is prospering in Edinburgh. Issue 132 of the Pavement detailed plans to install rails at the National Records of Scotland’s West Register House building in Charlotte Square. In late October Edinburgh Council approved the plans, which include installing spiky railings to deter rough sleeping and “anti-social behaviour”, according to The Scotsman. The spiky rails will be placed by the entrance to the building.

TLC TBC

Everyone Home, a collective of homeless charities and organisations, and academic sector organisations, have welcomed plans to introduce a National Care Service in Scotland. The Scottish Government held a consultation period ending in early November. The Everyone Home organisations, facilitated by Homeless Network Scotland, consulted more than 200 members and interested parties. This research contributed to the Everyone Home position that a National Care Service should be “People led, Home centred, Preventative, Rights based, Destigmatising, Fairer and Improving.” Everyone Home also stated the National Care Service should put in place “care and support to prevent homelessness,” and include “new legal duties on public bodies.”

COP giveth and taketh

Alas, the police can’t score a positive PR goal without going up the other end and netting a howler of an owngoal while they’re at it. So it proved when London's Metropolitan Police and South Wales Police, drafted in to provide extra police presence in Glasgow during COP26, attempted a raid on a squat run by activists. The police attempted to force entry into the Baile Hoose lodgings, but the raid was called off once Police Scotland officers arrived at the scene, the Daily Record understands. The Baile Hoose lodgings were used as squat accommodation during COP26 for people unable to afford accommodation in the city during the summit.  

News in brief 134: Sep – Oct 2021

01 September 2021

Green shoots

Grand Union, an arts organisation based in Birmingham, released a documentary in July on the homeless gardening project, The Growing Project. The Growing Project is a community-led growing scheme working with organisations who support vulnerably-housed people and people experiencing homelessness. The documentary was filmed in four different project locations. Grand Union set up the project in partnership with Spring Housing, Crisis Skylight Birmingham, SIFA Fireside and St Anne’s Hostel.


Sheening armour

Actor Michael Sheen has pledged £10,000 to the charity Arts & Homelessness International. Sheen answered the call for donations from the charity made in late July. The charity offers positive change in people and policy through the arts and creativity. In late July it set up a Crowdfunder to support their work, having struggled in its fundraising efforts since the pandemic. Sheen urged everyone “fortunate enough to make good money” to “step up and help.”


Act update

As of 5 July 2021, the Domestic Abuse Act requires councils to prioritise people made homeless through domestic abuse when assigning accommodation. Under the old legislation, victims needed to be assessed as “vulnerable” and domestic abuse itself was not a stand-alone reason for people to be prioritised. A figure of £1.5m has been allocated to councils to implement this and further changes made to the Domestic Abuse Act include a duty to provide support alongside safe accommodation.


Criminal act

Homelessness charities and housing groups have signed a joint letter demanding changes to the deeply unpopular Police, Crimes, Sentencing & Courts Bill. The coalition says that in its current sorry state, the bill would criminalise “any person staying in a car, van or other vehicle – or indeed has a vehicle parked near where they may be sleeping rough.” Unmoved, MPs voted through the bill in the House of Commons, and it will now be read in the House of Lords. The bill could become law should it progress through the Lords.


Village people update

Welcome news from Manchester, where the homeless charity Embassy has seen its plan for a village of 40 modular homes approved by the Manchester planning committee, according to the BBC. The village will be built along the Bridgewater Canal, and the homes offered exclusively to homeless men.
A similar project  exclusively for women is set to be launched by the charity soon. Issue 132 (May – June) of the Pavement reported that shipping containers would be converted into 40 new homes. Rising costs mean the homes will now be made of bricks and mortar, with the first homes opening in 2022.

National support

More than 100 councils and charities across England are backing Homeless Link’s campaign, Support Don’t Deport. It is calling for the government to scrap new rules that made rough sleeping grounds for cancelling or refusing a person’s right to remain. Aware of the massive repercussions it will pose on people’s safety and status, organisations working with homeless people have been quick to come out against it. Instead of these rules, Homeless Link is calling for increased investment into employment support and immigration advice so non-UK nationals can break the cycle of homelessness.


Olympic champion

Following the success of the first Refugee Olympic Team in 2016, this summer the Tokyo Olympic Village welcomed Cryille Tchatchet alongside 28 other team members from 11 different countries. In an interview with Eurosport, the weightlifter spoke about his journey from homelessness, to representing the refugee community. Now based in the UK, he spent his first months sleeping rough in Glasgow and Brighton after participating in the former’s 2014 Commonwealth Games. After reaching out to the Samaritans, Tchatchet was eventually able to gain refugee status. Tchatchet now works as a community mental health nurse, in tandem with his weightlifting career.


Big plan

This summer, The Big Issue launched a new campaign to prevent ‘an avalanche’ of people from becoming homeless. A nine-point plan has been drawn up, calling for, among other things, the £20 universal credit uplift to become permanent. This demand sits alongside the long-term goals to increase social housing stock and investment into green jobs. This plan comes in the wake of The Big Issue’s recent research, which found that in the first 90 days of this year, one UK household was being made homeless every three-and-a-half hours.


Scotland

Health problems

Mental health issues among homeless people, or people faced with homelessness in Scotland have more than doubled since 2013, according to official Scottish Government data. The Scotsman report 27% of homeless households in Scotland in the year 2020-21 included somebody experiencing mental health issues, compared with 13% in 2013-14. A total of 7,397 individuals faced with, or experiencing homelessness had mental health issues in the year 2020-21. Scottish Labour's housing spokesman Mark Griffin called the rise, "a damning indictment of both mental health and homelessness policy over recent years." 


Tour de M8

Sir Chris Hoy is encouraging cyclists to join a 60-mile group cycle from Glasgow to Edinburgh to raise money for Edinburgh-based homelessness charity Social Bite. The event will take place on 5 September and will be led by Sir Chris himself. Organisers are hoping for upwards of 1,000 participants, whether in the live event or the virtual challenge, with a fundraising target of £1m. The money will be used to fund two new Social Bite villages in the UK, reports Scottish Housing News. The first Social Bite village project was built in 2018, and accommodates homeless people in pre-fabricated houses.

News in brief 133: July – Aug 2021

01 July 2021

Bookworms:
Exciting news from the world of books. Author Jennifer Kavanagh’s latest work, Let Me Take You by the Hand, collects and maps stories of homeless people in London today. The book, released in early June and published by Little, Brown, features research and writing by the Pavement’s very own Mat Amp and Alastair Murray.
To find out more about the book, and where to purchase, visit here: littlebrown.co.uk/jennifer-kavanagh


Renewed hostility

So much for the Home Office being “truly sorry” for the woeful Hostile Environment policy, which was apparently disowned soon after an independent review into the Windrush scandal in 2018. More than 65 homelessness organisations signed a joint statement in May this year condemning government plans to use rough sleeping as grounds for removing someone from the UK. The government plans are part of a new immigration rule that criminalises and deports migrant rough sleepers. Liberty Investigates revealed in April that the Home Office had acknowledged the new rules may discriminate against ethnic minorities.


Off-target

Knowing Everyone In, the scheme which saw homeless people put up in hotels during lockdown in the pandemic, would eventually have to be replaced with a longer term, realistic goal to end homelessness, the government announced its intention to fund 3,348 new homes for people sleeping rough, allocating more than £150m to councils in October last year. The homes were to be built by the end of March 2021, the government said, but the deadline came and went without being met. In late May Inside Housing reported the government had confirmed it missed its target, but wouldn’t say how many homes had actually been built.  Housing reported the government had confirmed it missed its target, but wouldn’t say how many homes had actually been built.


Eviction notice

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation warned a wave of evictions would occur in England, as the government lifted the renter eviction ban on 31 May. About one million households fear losing their homes, as eviction bans are lifted and eviction notice periods drop from six to four months. Meanwhile, 400,000 renters have already received, or been told they will receive, an eviction notice. Research commissioned by the charity indicates people on lower incomes, Black and minority ethnic households had the highest levels of concern. The BBC quoted Joseph Rowntree Foundation economist Rachelle Earwaker warning she, “worried that there will be a wave of homelessness coming through."

  • For tenant advice and support visit Generation Rent at www.generationrent.org
  • Or, in Scotland, visit Living Rent here: www.livingrent.org
  • You can also contact Citizens Advice. Call 0800 144 8848 if you’re in England, or call 0800 028 1456 if you’re in Scotland 


Tourist trap

According to BBC South West, families living in temporary accommodation in Cornwall have been removed from hotels to make way for paying customers wanting to visit the southern coastline. Approximately 130 people have been moved out of these hotels already. According to Olly Monk, councillor for Newquay Trenance, business owners now “want to get back to normality”, realising that “they can make more money going back to their normal business model.” The number of households in temporary accommodation in Cornwall more than doubled in 2020, with the council planning to invest £40m into increasing their emergency, long-term and specialist accommodation stock.


SARprise

Changes to housing support came into force at the end of May, providing extra financial assistance to care leavers up to the age of 25 and anyone who has lived in a homeless hostel, regardless of age, for three months or more. The changes, which will see an increase to the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) and changes to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA), were originally set to be introduced in 2023, but have been brought forward. Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince said, “these changes are an immediate boost for some of the most vulnerable young people in our community.”


SCOTLAND .. Levelling down

Scotland introduced a temporary legal ban on evictions during the pandemic, but as the pandemic eases, and regions move into new ‘levels’ of restrictions, tenants have been sent eviction notices. Only days after Edinburgh moved into level 2, ending the legal ban on evictions, people from 16 separate households were brought before Edinburgh Sheriff Court facing eviction for rent arrears, Edinburgh Evening News reported in early June. Among the landlords rushing to serve pandemicstricken tenants with an eviction notice were Edinburgh council. A spokesperson for The Scottish Tenant’s Organisation called the legal action “ludicrous.”

  • For accommodation see the List in the centre pages of the magazine

Yes, it's an extender

Temporary measures brought in to house people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic in Scotland have been extended by an extra three months to 30 September 2021, Scottish Legal News reports. Measures allowing local authorities to shelter people sleeping rough or experiencing homelessness in hotels and B&Bs were due to expire on 30 June. Announcing the extension, Housing Secretary Shona Robison said: “We are extending these measures while the path of the pandemic remains uncertain, and will keep the situation under review.” 

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