“It’s raining. You’re wet. You’re soaking. Shivering at night. People are dodgy. They’ll rob you. Take your stuff. Beat you up.” is how Mark describes homelessness.

I met Mark in an alley in central London on a rainy day. Mark says he has been homeless for 10 years. He says because he is not vulnerable there is no help. I am not an expert in people or homelessness, but after living 10 years on the streets I would consider Mark as vulnerable. Unfortunately, sometimes people like Mark slip through the “safety net”, and after years on the streets, people adapt to a life sleeping rough.

Mark holds up a anti-homeless sign he says was posted because of the Olympics. When I tweeted a still photo of the sign a few people responded that the town of Croyden is no where near the Olympics. I cannot validate the authenticity of the sign. But Mark believes it’s because of the Olympics, and all week rough sleepers I met talked about being pushed out of the city by police. What I can tell you is I highly doubt Mark had that sign made so I believe, Olympics or not, Mark found that anti-homeless sign posted. I always take every person at their word. Time and time again even the most outrageous stories have proven to be true. Besides, when I was homeless, would you have believed me when I told you I worked in television!

What’s important here is not a sign, but that a person is sleeping rough on the streets. We must address system failures so that no one has to sleep without adequate housing.

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  • cyinger

    Yes, you are as good as everyone else!  Don’t people realize how easily it could happen to them? To spit on another human being for having less than you & needing help when the government offers no help?….I still don’t understand why hostels charge & how they expect a homeless person to be able to pay for it.  This will be America in a year or two b/c I think every state is trying now to enact drastic cuts in aid to the poor and homeless shelter funding. 

  • Elizabeth A Edwards

    It breaks my heart to watch this, however, I, too, have experienced a homeless period, and I am a highly intelligent and educated individual.  It is amazing to me how we human beings treat each other.  We are ALL on this Earth for a reason, and I do not believe that reason is to treat each other with disrespect, rudeness, and to ‘kick’ someone when they are down.  I do not believe for one moment in time that God, in all His infinite wisdom (or Hers), believes that this is ‘Paradise’.  This world is in an uproar, and I pray that those who want a better future for ALL of Mother Earth’s inhabitants can find a way to persevere over those who do not.

  • a2phil

    Heck you should see Ann Arbor, MI on the weekend of a home University Of Michigan football game!! NO (obviously) homeless people to be found, they’re locked up Friday night by campus police for something or other!! First time I heard the word “vagrancy” used by anyone younger than my grandmother!!

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