Homelessness in U.K.
Homelessness in U.K.
Poverty and homelessness has been around the world for hundreds or even thousands of years. Even in the most isolated places, no matter what continent there will be poverty either in America, Europe, Asia or Africa the only difference is more, or less looking at the economy of that particular country. In the United Kingdom, homelessness is one of the largest concerns. During the late thirties and early fourties, poverty was a big concern especially with the world on the brink of world war two. Most people were out of jobs and did not have homes or shelters to live in. They had to live on the streets or at sanctuary camps.
Housing and shelters would be always filled with needy people who needed a roof over their heads. Since then over 60 years have past by but homelessness and poverty has not changed very much as it should have for a lot of people. The conditions of the homeless in U.K. today are similar to the conditions that people had in the war torn country 60 odd years ago. While drugs and guns are the most common things that lead to homelessness today, poverty remains an uncontrolled problem that has only seen continued growth throughout the course of time.
Today the poor continue to work hard for an insufficient sum of money. While most of the low income people have jobs, their wages are too little to support their family as well as their own personal needs. Similarly in the 30s and 40s a full time job, in some cases, failed to meet the needs of the poor and it continues to remain insufficient for the poor in this modern time period. An exact day of labour only resulted in a few pounds. Despite the improvements in the workplace and increased wages, many people continue to live in astonishing conditions of poverty. Of course some of the homeless people are not homeless because they are being paid very little but, it’s because they have the habit of taking high class very expensive drugs which at the end of the day lead them towards bankruptcy and homelessness.
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Most of the homeless people now usually beg on the streets. Although it does not seem hard for people to beg in the streets, there are many regulations in England that complicate these matters, most beggars tend to beg in cities and town centres where the local council always tend to throw them away or even arrest them in some cases. These regulations decrease the overall earnings of the beggars. Despite the humiliating circumstances involved in begging, many people have no choice but to abandon their pride in hopes of receiving some spare change or some food and most commonly the drugs they are addicted to.
But as days, months and years pass by, things are now getting better, the government plays an increased role in providing aid for the homeless. There are many programs provided by the government that try to help these homeless people. But there are still people who prefer odd ways of making a living such as, working in government sponsored cleanup projects and other stuff or even cleaning up streets and local toilets, but most of them usually tend to sell the “Big Issue” a magazine provided by the charity for homeless.
Most homeless people starve and do not eat for many days just like in the 30s and 40s. Housing is another issue to homelessness because there are not that many homes in the country to support all the homeless people. In the 30s and 40s homelessness was a sad site because people would have to live in filthy shelters where they sleep with other people who most of the times smell terrible. Though homeless is an issue now in the U.K., it is far better than before, of course it’s the 21st century after all.
Here is an example of what homelessness feel like, the story I’m going to talk about next is as real as it gets, this is because the story is of a real person who once was homeless like lots of other homeless people. I’m not going to tell you the name of the person and her identity for obvious reasons, but this is a true story.
Two things happened when she turned 12, her father who used to beat the hell out of her and her mother left home and the other thing that happened is she started using drugs soon after that. One of her friends said “Here try this it will make you feel better”, and it did, but not for long. When she turned 13, her mum found a new partner who lived with them in there house. Her mum’s partner raped her regularly and abused her younger sisters as well. Remember at the time she was only 13.
He also used to beat her mum up and it was “hell” on earth. For about a year she suffered through all this but when she was 14 she couldn't take it anymore, so she said to her Mum “You have to get rid of this guy, either he goes or I go.” Her mum chose to keep him and she landed on the streets. At first she stayed with friends, and then slept with guys from the neighbourhood to keep a roof over her head. Eventually she had to leave the suburbs for the city streets. Sleeping in abandoned houses and buildings, she lived on the streets with other young people who were like her.
The cuts all up her arm that I saw were from slashing up. She slashed herself to turn emotional pain into controllable physical pain. It's not usually to kill herself, just to help cope with the emotional pain. She did not do this often, but if she was having a troubled week she might just sit there and slash till she reached around a hundred cuts. “If the only thing that happens to you in your life is you just keep getting hurt, you end up saying no this isn't going to happen to me, I'm not going to let myself get hurt anymore, I can't handle the reality of life I can't handle any of it why not end it all then I know that I don't have to deal with any of it”.
She wanted to bleed to death at once, but it did not work because someone found her lying in the alley and called an ambulance and she survived. “You just give up, that's it, and it’s the end. As soon as you get to that stage where you don't care if you live or die you end up so upset, so depressed, so hurt with everything that you just cant handle even the day in front of you”. In the end it was like if she gets through the day then great, if she doesn't then it does not really matter, “no big deal” as she called it. “It's not like anyone's going to miss me whether I'm here or not”.
This was her story, as you can see it is very emotional but then at the end of the interview when I asked her what she now did for living, she told me that one day when she was walking along the empty dark alley ways, she met two young people around the age of 25, and told her they were from this charity were they try to provide homeless people with shelters and food. And so took her away, she went hoping for a new life.
Overall she had nothing to lose and was convinced by this people and went with them and there, she was given a one bedroom house to live in and slowly but eventually she even stopped taking the drugs she was addicted to. And then finally trained her for a specific job and soon got her self a job.
And until now these people have never stopped supporting her and she is now a working class young lady.