Paul used to have a job as a window cleaner when his life took a turn for the worse. Paul started to drink, which led to sofa surfing and eventually homelessness sleeping rough on the streets of London.
In the UK, homeless shelters are often referred to as hostels. Paul has been in and out of hostels for a few years. Paul says rough sleeping wasn’t so bad, but things have started to change. The streets and living homeless are not what they once were.
Paul says he didn’t stay in the hostels because many of them are outside of London. Even here in the United States, homeless shelters are located in areas where neighbors will allow over where they need to be to provide support for rough sleepers.
Paul survives by panhandling. If he can make enough money, Paul hides his sleeping bag to pay to go into a single room occupancy for the night.
This interview is a few years old. I like Paul, and I hope he was able to get off the streets into housing. Sadly, the UK’s affordable housing crisis may even be worse than it is here, and because of the pandemic, rough sleeping continues to grow.