Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Sep-Oct 2020 : COPING 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

Survival stories
We know many councils have done good work supporting and rehoming people – here’s a shout out to Lambeth and Islington. But an ever-growing number of people have become homeless, many with no recourse to public funds (NRPF). The Whitechapel Mission in east London stayed open because so...
Show time
Youth homelessness charity Accumulate, founded by Marice Cumber, runs creative workshops at eight hostels across London. The courses, taught by Ravensbourne University tutors at venues including the Tate Modern and the Barbican, involve photography, film making, textile printing, jewellery, illustration and creative writing. Accumulate students' work has featured...
What next?
I am sure some of you will be asking the question is...
Healing art
Q: How does homelessness affect people?Homelessness has a variety of impacts on your...
Hidden talent
“We are Radical” is the slogan behind a pioneering recruitment agency shaking...
Can you hear me?
When the isolation started many organisations came up against one big hurdle...

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

01 July 2020

Covid-19 crisis update

After warnings that half the rough sleepers in hotels may not have access to support from July, because of NRPF, from Museum of Homelessness and 100 organisations with #NoOneLeftOut and Crisis’s Home For All campaigns comes some good news. On 24 June government promised £85 million to prevent 1000s of people in emergency accommodation from having to return to rough sleeping. Crisis adds: “We need emergency legislation to ensure that every local council can provide housing support to everyone experiencing homelessness.



Happy to help: The UCKG Finsbury Park soup kitchen tripled the number of free food bags it distributed to 169 on Saturday 6 June. They also took home-cooked soup and food bags to people who did not want to lose their pitches outside supermarkets. © UCKG


Everyone In £ flaws

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s investigation into the government’s Everyone In policy – which asked councils to house their rough sleeping population in a matter of days – explores the problems with the response, and the issues now facing government policy on homelessness. Firstly, emergency housing for people sleeping rough with symptoms of Covid-19 wasn’t secured by the Greater London Authority until three weeks after the “Everyone In” policy was announced. Wales set aside £10m to secure housing and protection for homeless people during the pandemic, three times the amount ringfenced by England. Alarmingly, contracts with hotels to house people sleeping rough was set to expire in June. By late May cash-strapped councils were struggling to raise funds to secure the emergency hotels beyond that date.

  • As the Pavement goes to press exit dates are still not clear. For this reason, we have a Mini List of services on p17 only. Also see
    www.thepavement.org.uk/services.php
  • Ideally phone before making a long trip as places may be shut.

Lifesaver

Everyone In saved lives. In London at the end of April there were 28 homeless people diagnosed with Covid-19 and none diagnosed since mid June. In New York, as of 6 May, 700 homeless people were diagnosed with Covid-19 and 69 people were known to have died. “This success is directly attributable to the closure of dormitory style night shelters and the move into single room accommodation in hotels and similar accommodation,” reports the NHS.

Unsafe freedom

The Ministry of Justice has revealed they released more than 1,000 prison leavers into homelessness, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. The prison leavers were released into rough sleeping or other forms of homelessness between March 23 and April 30. The Guardian reports the government has increased funding for accommodation for prison leavers in response to the figures, which were released to Labour MP Lynn Brown. The figures, relating to England and Wales, also showed an additional 1,209 people left prison with unknown circumstances for accommodation during the same period.


Hot lunch: During lockdown the Akshaya Patra Foundation UK, with Food for All, served over 100,000 hot vegan meals of khichdi, an Indian dish made with vegetables, lentils and rice, at Holborn and  Watford, along with its affiliate partner Food For All. © Akshaya Patra Foundation


No recourse

The Guardian understands local authorities in the UK have demanded the government drop its “no recourse to public funds” (NRPF) immigration status, until at least the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. Under the status, immigrants are allowed to work in the UK, but are excluded access to most benefits if they become unemployed. The Local Government Association told Westminster in June that thousands of immigrants using the NRPF visa had approached their council for assistance during the pandemic. There has been a rise in homeless migrant workers with NRPF status, with many more facing homelessness once eviction restrictions are lifted. The NRPF immigration status was introduced in 2012 as part of the government’s unpleasant “hostile environment” policy.

  • Do you have NRPF? You can still see a GP


Refuge & outreach

Good news: during lockdown the Outside Project opened an LGBTIQ+ DVA Refuge called STAR Refuge. They also received funding for an LGBTIQ+ Outreach Worker to support LGBTIQ+ people in emergency hotel accommodation, the 'new' homeless and general enquiries.

Everyone In closing?

More on the Everyone In policy, from Manchester Evening News (MEN). The government planned to end it less than two months after it was introduced. By mid-May the government had stopped funding the scheme, according to a report leaked to MEN, leaving councils scrambling to maintain support services and fund accommodation. The scheme’s end arrives at the start of a fresh homelessness crisis, with Greater Manchester alone expecting 5,000 new people to become homeless between April and July. Homeless charity Crisis, meanwhile, warned the BBC that thousands of homeless people would be forced to return to the streets once the scheme ends.

Lockdown legend

Pauline Town told Manchester Evening News in June that she was “busier than ever”, working 16-hour days at her pub in Greater Manchester. Law enforcement needn’t worry, however. While her pub was closed, landlady Town ran a kitchen for homeless and vulnerable people during the pandemic. A team of nine volunteers (Town included) served food daily to those struggling to get a meal. Town’s charity preceded the Covid-19 crisis, having served the local homeless community with packed lunches at her pub every day for a number of years.

Property failure

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has a peculiar set of priorities. In April the two-term Democrat revealed his latest budget, pledging US$1.86b to the LA Police Department (LAPD). Then the budget was passed without review by the City Council, according to the LA Times, even though funding for the LAPD in Garcetti’s budget represented a US$120m increase on the previous year. The annual budget also eclipses Garcetti’s US$1.2b 10-year scheme to house the city’s 60,000 homeless population. Responding to the ensuing protests against racism and police brutality, Garcetti eventually pledged to cut the LAPD’s annual budget by up to US$150m.

Curfew cruelty

Citizens of Nairobi, Kenya are bravely protesting an extra-judicial killing by the police. The protests were sparked by the death of James Mureithi, a 51-year-old homeless man accused by police of breaking the Kenyan capital’s coronavirus curfew. The Independent Policing Oversight Authority believe police officers have killed 15 people for allegedly breaking curfew, as well as injuring 31 others. Mureithi was reportedly shot by officers who then left his body in an alleyway, according to the Independent

Health & Wellbeing in a Crisis

29 April 2020
Health & Wellbeing Health & Wellbeing


To help you stay healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic the Pavement has created a booklet HEALTH AND WELLBEING IN A CRISIS, funded by a grant from Crisis' In this together Covid-19 emergency response award.


These booklets will be being distributed in London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle & Manchester from 5 May 2020.

You can also download the booklet as a PDF from this website:

http://www.thepavement.org.uk/PavementCovidSpecial.pdf


News in Brief 125: Mar-Apr 2020

01 March 2020

Outsource outrage

Are you fit for homelessness? That is the outrageous question councils across England are asking, and they’ve hired a private medical company to answer it. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals that NowMedical received more than £2m from at least 118 councils since 2014, in order to carry out medical case reviews. The private company is responsible for recommending whether someone qualifies for priority homelessness support. They do this, despite rarely meeting the subjects of their reviews, for £35 an assessment. The Bureau details the case of a woman and her adult daughter living in temporary accommodation in Bexley. The council employed NowMedical for the assessment, who duly concluded that the council had no obligation to house them. The daughter has autism, a learning disability and several mental health issues, including anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, severe obsessive compulsive disorder, agoraphobia and depression. NowMedical consulted on the family’s case four times meeting neither them, nor their regular doctors. A legal battle later forced the council to admit the family were indeed in priority need of support. There is some good news: Islington council plans to drop NowMedical.



21 years on the buses

A BBC story details the initial plight and subsequent travails of an asylum seeker from Nigeria. Sunny (not his real name) escaped Nigeria after protesting in support of democracy which saw him imprisoned and facing execution. A series of bribes got him to London, where he took a documentary-making course awaiting asylum. His request was rejected, and Sunny was forced into a nomadic life, spending every night sleeping on London buses for 21 years. He has documented his time spent homeless through photography. In 2017 Sunny was granted leave to remain, giving him the right to shelter and work. Now he is working on a photo project with photojournalist Venetia Menzies.

Eco-pod jobs

Homeless charity Emmaus Bristol has outlined plans to build tourist accommodation at their HQ in St Pauls using eco-pods made from timber and wheat straw, supported by stilts. The low-carbon pods will be furnished, maintained and managed by people who were formerly homeless. Speaking to the BBC, Jessica Hodge, chief executive of Emmaus Bristol, said: “With homelessness rising we need to do all we can to sustain and expand our work.”

Guarded report

The Northamptonshire Safeguarding Adults Board (NSAB) has not yet published its report revealing the number of deaths among homeless people in the county. NSAB is under pressure to release the report for public viewing, but maintained the report’s contents were for local authorities to divulge. NSAB is responsible for coordinating organisations protecting vulnerable adults. The Northampton Chronicle quoted Robin Burgess, chief executive of the Hope Centre in Northampton, deploring the fact that “homeless deaths are not being taken seriously in this county.”

Take control

Artist Anthony Luvera has collaborated with people who have experienced homelessness in cities and towns across the UK for more than 15 years. In February these photo self-portraits, Assembly, were shown at The Gallery at Foyles, London. “People experiencing homelessness have been subject to photographic practices that depict them in ways as passive or pitiful,” Luvera told the Metro, “I teach the participants how to use professional camera equipment tethered to a laptop, over repeated sessions, to enable them to take control of the way they are represented.

  • Londoners, see Photostories #1 or page 4 of magazine.

Bench bother

Many readers will be all too familiar with the scourge of hostile architecture. In an effort to punish homeless people, authorities alter public benches with needless studs and prohibitive armrests so that they cannot be sat or slept on. The latest criticism of such callous decisions has prompted Oxford City Council to remove two armrests from a bench popular with people sleeping rough. The council told the BBC that they didn’t fit the extra armrests, but removed them once a member of the public tweeted their disapproval. 

Taking the piss

In 2011, with austerity beginning to bite, Manchester City Council decided to permanently close 18 public toilet blocks. Today only the Lloyd Street public toilets are left in the city centre, leading to an epidemic of public urination. Even worse, that toilet is locked at 5.30pm leaving homeless people without a pot to piss in (in a literal, proverbial, and ironic sense). Councillors now want to extend Lloyd Street opening hours to around the clock. They also propose opening more public toilets, says the Manchester Evening News.

Safe house

San Francisco opened its first transitional housing project in late January. The project aims to provide transgender and gender nonconforming people with a supportive, safe space. The accommodation comprises a 13-unit apartment and is the brainchild of the Our Trans Home SF coalition. Local government contributed US$2.3m to the project, according to the San Francisco Examiner. The city will support tenants with rental subsidies, and the apartment’s occupants will receive vocational training and opportunities. Our Trans Home SF estimates one out of every two trans people in the US have been homeless.

Heralding change

The Herald on Sunday ran an exposé in January detailing the sorry state of temporary accommodation across Scotland. Then the Scottish government greenlit legislation to introduce “legally enforceable standards” for temporary accommodation. Housing minister Kevin Stewart also said the legislation will ensure stays in temporary accommodation are as brief as possible. Wendy Malloy, from Govan Law Centre, a law firm for vulnerable and homeless people, said, “We know these standards are required… but we don't know what that standard is going to be.”

UCeless

The Scottish government released their third annual report on welfare reform in early January, with particular scorn reserved for Universal Credit (UC). Welfare cuts passed down from faraway Westminster had left UC inadequate, putting an estimated 3,320 families close to homelessness. Paired with rising rent, UC has created an explosion in rent arrears, totalling £74m in Scotland, according to the report. Quoted in the Daily Record, Scotland’s housing minister, Kevin Stewart, complained, “Cutting housing benefit by £64 per week for some families puts them at risk of homelessness.”

Shelter victory

Readers of the Pavement will be familiar with Glasgow City Council’s (GCC) shambolic neglect of its duty to provide adequate temporary accommodation – aka ‘gatekeeping’. Readers will also know of Shelter Scotland taking GCC to court over the scandal. Now the charity is declaring a major victory in its campaign, after the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) intervened. SHR will now investigate GCC’s gatekeeping, with Shelter providing evidence. As a result of SHR’s intervention, Shelter has agreed to pause court proceedings until the regulator’s assessment of GCC is complete. “The inquiry… brings new hope that this grave injustice can be stopped without going to court,” a press release quoted Director of Shelter Scotland, Graeme Brown. 

Dog friendly

The Glasgow City Mission (GCM) homeless shelter on East Campbell Street is now dog-friendly. Food, bedding and treats have been supplied for pets since early February. The change in rules follows guidance from the Simon Community Scotland and Dogs Trust. According to their report, Paws for Thought, only an estimated 10% of hostels in Scotland are dog-friendly. 

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