Our veggie curry and garlic naan has become a real favourite amongst rough sleepers on our route! However, despite being thankful for a hot meal, warm clothes and conversation it's clear to us that people are becoming really tired of their situation.
We saw André (see picture one) for the fourth week in the row and although the quality of his mental health has improved with the help of medication, his personal situation hasn't. He informed us that unless the temperature at night drops into minus figures, volunteers from the emergency shelters in the area (endorsed by the Mayor of London) won't come and find him to give him a bed for the night. André asked us to look up the weather for the next few nights and was excited at the prospect of Friday night bringing him a freezing -1°c.
We met a new face on Tottenham Court Road. Adam has a learning disability and has been sleeping rough for four nights. When we asked what help he'd requested of/been giving by the council, Adam was unsure where the council offices were or how he would even negotiate the journey there. We gave him the directions there on foot and by tube as well as the opening times. But, why is Adam not considered an 'at risk' individual?
We talk to people scarred by the impression the public have of rough sleepers. We met a woman who found it difficult to follow the conversation we were having with her, choosing instead to tell us again and again that she's a 'good person, a good mother'.
Every week we feed people we're reminded that it's not enough, that the help rough sleepers receive is far from good enough. It's truly a disgrace that homelessness has risen in this way year on year with no concerted effort to develop comprehensive preventative measures, emergency first response or sustainable housing for those in need. We're expanding our services in the area for two nights a week from next week and we're still working on a more permanent solution. But, we need your help.
Do consider supporting us, visit our 'Support us' page to find out how. Thank you.