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On Homelessness

These are some of the biggest #HomelessIssues faced by homeless people in the uk.

Share and spread the #HomelessAwareness!

(This list is, sadly, not exhaustive. But whenever you spot an issue related here, please use the associated hashtag, so that we can get these issues trending and push them into the public consciousness. And if there are issues you identify which are not outlined here, please add to them, so that we can make the lives of homeless people visible. It’s time to be seen and heard!)

#ThePovertyPremium

This is both the real and relative increase in the cost of living experienced by homeless people.

For instance, a loaf with spread and fillings for multiple sandwiches costs most people around £5 tops.

Without food storage options, a ready made sandwich costs a homeless person £2-3.

A jar of coffee and milk and sugar costs £5 tops for anyone with a kettle and a fridge. For a homeless person, each coffee costs £2-3.

Homeless people face both an increase in the real cost of living (each coffee costs pounds instead of pence), and the relative cost of living (the percentage of their income spent on basics is larger than for anyone else).

The poverty premium also affects homeless people in the criminal justice system.

As certain aspects of homeless life (rough sleeping, pan-handling, etc) are increasingly criminalised, homeless people face fines for their existence that they are unable to pay or avoid. This leads to the further indebting of homeless people, and even forcing them into incarceration for increasing fines that they can’t ever hope to pay – just for existing.

#PovertyImprisonment is back in the UK. I though we passed this almost two centuries ago.

#AntiHomelessViolence

Homeless people are routinely subject to violence from both the public and the police, from being assaulted to having their tents or belongings stolen, vandalised or set on fire/destroyed.

#AntiHomelessPrejudice

Homeless people have their status used against them, even long after their homeless experience.

This can manifest in abuse from members of the public and authorities, abuse or rejection from landlords, and abuse or rejection from employers.

This prejudice remains unrecognised by governments, the public, and even media and corporations – such as Facebook and Google, and even “progressive” outlets like the BBC, the independent and the guardian.

#HomelessExclusion

Homeless people are routinely excluded from policy discussions about homelessness, both in local and central government, and in charity policy.

Homeless exclusion is also a major problem in the media, where homeless voices are ignored except where they fit the narrative of “pity porn” the press thrives on. Any political movement by homeless people is ignored or vilified – look at the recent royal wedding fiasco, where homeless protesters were painted as “thugs wanting a riot” prior to the event, and when that didn’t transpire they were ignored by the press altogether.

#TheHomelessMyth

Homelessness is continually blamed on mental health problems, substance addiction, crime, and basically anything that puts the blame on the homeless person themselves.

This lie is exposed by the vast number of criminals, and people with mental health issues and substance addictions that aren’t homeless.

We don’t make murderers homeless, but we’re willing to suggest that someone with mental health problems is homeless because of their mental health problems!

It’s further exposed by the number of homeless people who don’t have any mental health issues or addictions or convictions, either prior to their homelessness or during it.

There are, including “hidden homeless” (such as long term “sofa surfers”), about 300,000 homeless people in the UK. There are 200,000+ long term empty homes (empty for more than 6 months) in the UK.

Even if the average empty Home has just 2 bedrooms (a fairly conservative estimate), that means we could house everyone *tonight*.

To appropriate a quote by Amartya Sen: Homelessness in the UK is the characteristic of some people not having access to a home. It is *NOT* the characteristic of there not being enough homes.

Nor is it the characteristic of some people making themselves homeless.

Nobody “makes themselves homeless”. This is a lie perpetuated to justify neglecting homeless people and blame their homelessness on themselves.

Whilst different solutions to different homeless people are necessary, the causes of homelessness lie in the lack of a political will to open up homes to homeless people and the anti-transient laws that criminalise transient existence, and not within the homeless themselves.

#StreetCleansing and #SocialCleansing

Councils, police and local businesses continue to engage in programs aimed at removing homeless people from town centres (where many rely on the only income available to them), with no real solutions proffered to the homeless people themselves.

The goal is solely to sanitise the town centre and makes no attempt to deal with homeless issues, beyond what is superficially accepted by the media who neglect any further inquiry that exposes the street/social cleansing going on.

(An example would be the implementation of “homeless hostile” architecture, like spikes on the pavement to prevent sleeping, or of Windsor council offering homeless people temporary accommodation miles out of town where there’s no public transport, during the royal wedding.)

#AntiTransientPrejudice

Anti-traveler and anti-transient prejudice has affected homeless people for centuries.

Many homeless end up having to move to find somewhere they *might* find help or a better life. This movement-by-necessity is used against them, either to differentiate them from the “deserving” local homeless (who the community still don’t care about, exposing this lie), or to suggest they’re just being “opportunistic” rather than desperately seeking a solution to their situation.

Many homeless people who travel to a new town find that they are not able to access assistance because they aren’t from that town, further exacerbating their situation. (Truth is, we don’t care about the homeless who live in our towns, let alone those who come here from elsewhere.)

Anti-transient prejudice also affects the “solutions” offered to homeless people, as transient people who find themselves homeless are offered static solutions that end up failing them, causing them to be blamed for their recidivism.

Many transient people are neglected as “intentionally homeless”, instead of being recognised as people seeking a solution to homelessness that works for them. This is largely down to a static-based bias in society that fails to see transient homes (living in vehicles, for instance) as a legitimate way of life or a legitimate home. As anti-transient laws have continued to be passed (and an anti-transient policy dogmatically followed by government from Nostell Priory, to the Battle of the Beanfield, to the CJA of the early 90’s, to Dale Farm, to today) transient people find themselves increasingly at risk of becoming homeless, with no effective solutions on offer to them.

#HomelessCalories

Thanks to the #PovertyPremium, it is impossible for many homeless to get enough calories in the day to do anything beyond subsisting.

This makes it easy to push the narrative that they’re lazy, when in actual fact they are struggling to get enough calories to keep their baseline existence going, let alone do anything that requires energy.

When your basal metabolic rate (how many calories you need just to survive lying in bed all day) can be between 1-2,000 calories per day, it’s easy to see why a deficit in calories can affect the energy levels of homeless people and cause real problems – both in terms of their health and in how they get perceived as “lazy” by non-homeless people.

#HomelessFatigue

Facing homelessness for any prolonged period of time can erode anyone’s resolve.

Facing constant abuse from the public and the authorities; Being moved on all the time; Being looked down on and humiliated; Facing violence, theft and destruction of property – even by the authorities; Finding “solutions” closed to you, or being given temporary or poor fitting “solutions; all of these things can generate an enormous sense of ennui and cynicism that can -through no fault of the homeless individual – perpetuate the issues homeless people face.

When you’ve been homeless for any length of time, the emotional fatigue you experience that can handicap any attempt to find a solution for the issues you face is overwhelming.

#HomelessRecidivism

Homeless recidivism affects homeless people who are either offered solutions that don’t work for them, or who are offered solutions without adequate follow-up care or assistance.

Many homeless people have reported being housed with no income for weeks and no amenities (electricity, gas, etc).

When “solutions” fail, the instant reaction is to blame the homeless person themselves, rather than investigate why the “solutions” were not fit for purpose.

This leads to many people who experience homeless recidivism being branded “intentionally homeless”, allowing the council and government to wash their hands of them and blame them for the situation they face, rather than adjust their policies to better deal with homeless issues.

#HomelessExhaustion

Most homeless people sleep sporadically for very few hours each day, which leads to a sense of permanent exhaustion that every homeless person will tell you is the number one characteristic of being homeless.

When you’re homeless, the first thing that hits you – and the thing that defines your existence – is a state of permanent exhaustion, from a lack of sleep, a lack of calories and a lack of stability.

Imagine living your life on only 4-5 hours sleep a night at best. Now imagine having to get those 4-5 hours sleep from 1-2 hour broken periods when you aren’t being woken up by the public or police.

Speak to any homeless person and the first and overarching theme you’ll hear is how they are always tired. Not just tired, but physically exhausted and spending most of their time in that close-to-dream state that characterises extreme sleep deprivation..

#HomelessDivideAndConquer

Homeless people are constantly used in political tit-for-tat by governments and groups trying to justify their agendas.

Whether it’s to push an anti-immigration narrative or an anti-transient one, or an anti-drugs policy or a pseudo-pro-mental-health narrative (characterised by there being no solutions to mental health issues, but simply the use of mental health to further justify the idea that homelessness has nothing to do with the system that creates homelessness), the media and these interest groups and government try to portray a difference between a “deserving” homeless and an “undeserving” one.

However, none of them even care about the issues facing their so-called “deserving” homeless, which again exposes the lie behind their rhetoric.

The truth is that #HomelessIsHomeless.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what your background: if you’re homeless, the-powers-that-be don’t care about solving your issues. They only care about using you as a political tool.

This is why all homeless people, regardless of who we are, where we come from or what we believe, have to stand together for a solution to homeless issues for all our kin: #NoOneLeftOut!

#HomelessImAlrightJack

Some homeless people who find their way out can – due to nothing more than human nature – map their experiences on to every other homeless person, leading to a lack of empathy for the struggles other homeless people face.

On its own, this would only be a mild irritant.

However, the stories of such people are often used in the media, public and government to justify neglecting those homeless who were not so fortunate, and helps further generate a public narrative that blames homelessness on homeless people.

#HomelessHomogeneity

Many charities, along with local and central government, perceive homelessness as having a single solution that works for all.

When someone doesn’t fit those solutions, they are literally thrown aside and labelled “intentionally homeless”, and their situation blamed on themselves rather than the lack of insight that treats all homeless people as a homogeneous blob.

#HomelessCriminalisation

More and more aspects that define homeless existence are being criminalised, which leads to homeless people facing convictions and/or penalties for doing what they have to to survive.

Do I really have to explain how this doesn’t help either the homeless or society as a whole?

You’re spending tax payers’ money on prosecuting people who can’t pay for just trying to stay alive.

You do the fucking maths.

(Apologies. That’s the only time I’ll swear here. But I think it’s very understandable why.)

#HomelessSeparation

Homeless people with children are often told that solutions exist for their children but not them.

Because they are blamed for their homelessness, the government sees fit to separate them from their children, leaving the homeless without any viable solution, and subjecting their children to a life in care separated from their family.

Instead of offering a solution that works for the whole family, helping build a constructive and cohesive social unit for both the parents and their children, the government forcibly removes children from their family, estranging them and destroying the already dilapidated moral of everyone involved.

#HomelessMortality

Thanks to the horrific nature of homelessness, homeless people face the very real threat of death on the streets every day.

On top of this, thanks to factors like #HomelessFatigue and the mental health problems created and exacerbated by homelessness, homeless people face an increased risk of suicide or ennui-induced death (that is, death that occurs not through a deliberate attempt to end one’s life, but a lack of motivation to do anything to continue a life that ultimately appears futile to the person involved – I appreciate it’s hard to pin down, because it can manifest as a general apathy towards personal health care such as the take up of addictive substances or not seeing a doctor in times of emergencies, or a more specific non-interest in personal health problems that someone might encounter, with a view of “well, life isn’t going to improve anyway”).

Just by being homeless, a person’s life expectancy is reduced drastically – at a rate beyond most pathogens and other health risks.

Being homeless is a very fatal issue.

What’s absolutely unforgivable is how this factor of homelessness mortality is completely ignored by the government when it comes to public health initiatives.

#HomelessHealth

(Yes, this is tightly connected to #HomelessMortality. Who’d have thunk it?)

Because many homeless people find themselves unable to find easy access to health care – even within the NHS (which is SOLELY to do with its management by an uncaring government and their hostile environment attitude towards homeless people, and not the hard working and ultra-compassionate health care workers in the NHS, of whom I only have the highest praise and support for) – homeless people suffer greater instances of physical and mental health problems than any other demographic in the UK.

They are less able to seek help, less able to obtain help, and less able to access the system that perpetuates healthcare beyond “at point of access” (A&E) which deals with sorting out causes of health issues rather than the symptoms of health issues.

(If you’re unaware, we pay the NHS to deal with the underlying issues behind our health problems, rather than just the symptoms. That’s why we don’t die from simple pathogens these days. Big up our NHS!)

On top of this, as stated before, successive governments have ignored the role of poverty and homelessness on health issues, which has further denied homeless people access to health care solutions to the health issues they experience.

When you can’t access beyond “at-point-of-access care”, then it’s no surprise that homeless people endure long term physical and mental health problems that exacerbate their situation.

Again, this list – whilst already depressingly long – is sadly by no means inexhaustible.

I encourage everyone who has experienced homelessness to add any issues they have faced that are not included, with the hashtag #HomelessIssues, so that we can spread awareness to the wider public of what it’s really like to be homeless.

And this list is very UK-centric, but I encourage anyone who is experiencing or has experienced homelessness – in whatever form – around the world to make it their own.

For me, #HomelessIsHomeless.

No matter who you are, where you are or where you come from, we are the same people. We are kin. And we have a duty to help each other, because we’re facing down the same problem that we all face.

If you’re homeless, you’re my family. No matter what.

Remember: homeless people aren’t looking for “special treatment”.

We’re asking to be recognised as Human Beings.

#NoOneLeftOut

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“NOT HAVING CHILDREN IS SELFISH”, SAYS MAN WHO TOOK A VOW NEVER TO HAVE CHILDREN

THE DAILY GUANO

“NOT HAVING CHILDREN IS SELFISH”, SAYS MAN WHO TOOK A VOW NEVER TO HAVE CHILDREN

President_Barack_Obama_with_Pope_Francis_at_the_Vatican,_March_27,_2014

President Barack Obama avoids an international incident by skillfully diverting the Pope’s reaching hand away from grasping his penis, thought the tension is evident in the Pope’s determined gaze.

The entire planet was left agasp in a fit of irony, as Pope Francis – the head of the Catholic church, which requires all its clergy to take a vow of celibacy, and who himself has taken this vow and will never have children – declared that not having children was a selfish act.

In what some members of the Catholic priesthood are calling an “impassioned sermon, right up there with anything the big JC ever said, innit”, the old white man who controls the seat of power of a religion populated by women and men who vow never to have sex, in order to make sure they aren’t distracted from their own quest for personal salvation, stated that people who don’t have children are being self-centered and creating a “depressed society”, as the entire world tried not to hold up a mirror the size of St Peter’s Square whilst pissing themselves.

Then the Pope began listing everything that the priesthood does, says and stands for as “selfish”, without even a hint of irony in his eyes.

Several clergy members had to jump on stage and wrestle the Pope to the floor in a dramatic scene, as he began spouting that acquiring lots of wealth and land, advising people not to follow scientific medical advice, and persecuting people were tearing society apart – and that spending all your time immersed in a cult centered around an imaginary friend who you think you can talk to, was not a substitute for going out and making the world a better place.

He was finally dragged away from the microphone and tranquilized just as he began to state that those caught having sex with children should feel the full force of justice.We tried to get someone from the Vatican to comment, but we ended up getting tranquilized and sold into slavery.

The Star Wars review the fans don’t want you to see

yoda

Spoiler: I realise that I’m going to lose many friends over this, because we all know that you can’t touch the sacred “trilogy of trilogies”. The response you get is akin to watching a toddler being told they can’t have ice cream and mars bar with chicken nuggets for dinner.
In fact, I know that I’m opening myself up to lots of hate mail over this, to which all I can say is: Calm down, it’s just a film.
I read a hilarious “review” of the Star Wars film, by a clearly butt-hurt fan, responding largely to a review in the Huffington post. Because apparently people care what the Huffington Post says about anything.
It’s a funny old world, eh?
Actually, I quite agreed with most of what he said. What I found hilarious was his attempt to claim that the plot of the film – indeed, the entire franchise – is something akin to the Odyssey, the Bible or Beowulf, by claiming it’s an example of chiastic structure, or “ring composition”.
Well, they clearly have absolutely no idea what ring composition is.
Big hint: It’s NOT just recycling so many plot points that your film is basically little more than a rewrite of other films.
This is symptomatic of the mental-gymnastics that hardcore fans will go through to deny there is ever anything wrong with their beloved franchise, because they find it almost impossible to not take it all so seriously.
Another prime example was the whole “under 12 parsecs” blunder in Episode IV. Let’s face facts here: Lucas didn’t know what a parsec is, saw it contains the word “sec”, and thought it was some exotic, spacey-sounding measurement of time.
Could the fans let that drop? No, we’re inundated with endless apologetics and post-hoc attributions of meaning, about how he meant parsecs as a measure of distance all along, and it completely fits the warped dialogue of the scene because [insert tortured and contrived reason here].
ohyeah
This is the thing with Star Wars fans. They can’t just accept and deal with mistakes in their treasured franchise. They can’t even admit them. It’s at first cute, and then absolutely irritating – like a child who won’t stop tugging at your sleeve. At first you think it’s kind of adorable, but after about an hour, you’re wondering if anyone thought to pack a taser, or where the nearest bath tub and toaster are.
That’s why Episode I hurt so much, and they don’t want to talk about it – hell, they even want to pretend it doesn’t exist. It was just too bad that even they knew their convoluted apologetics program couldn’t save it.
But instead of dealing with the fact that it’s merely a piece of mass produced, mass consumed entertainment, they couldn’t just laugh it off like any normal person would. They had to enter into an era of mass hysteria not seen since Diana died.
Even now, there are many hardcore fans that seemingly won’t even speak its name, and who contort their viewing experience of the franchise’s box sets in order to magically banish it from history (see the “Machete Order” for such an example).
Yep, Star Wars fans can’t admit a mistake – so when an entire film is an undeniable mistake, they want to do everything they can not to admit it into the franchise.
Star_95046b_1791327
Still, like I said, most of the points in the response to the Huffpost review I agree with. There are several claims about “plot holes” that really aren’t plot holes at all, to the point that I really had to wonder if the Huffpost team had bothered to watch the film before taking mild hallucinogenics, or whether they decided “bugger it” and munched their way through a big bag of funny looking mushrooms at the opening credits. Their review was filled with some of the most vacuous and hilariously stupid “points”, that even a 5 year old could have shot down. And seemingly did.
Hell, I liked the film, despite the fact that I’d already seen it back in the 80’s.
But this is the thing with the hardcore Star Wars fans – nobody else gives a fuck. Try to get that through your heads, please. Nobody else actually really cares.
You see, it was your relentless, pissy, whining “don’t give us any spoilers! WAAAAAH!” that sealed it for most of us normal people.
If someone had written a review before I went to see it, would that have ruined it for me or made me not watch it? Of course not, for fuck’s sake. They could even have just said “you’ve already seen it” and gone through all the recycled plot points to their heart’s content, and I’d have still gone to see it AND enjoyed it.
I watch films after reading reviews all the bloody time – that’s the reason I haven’t subjected myself to the fucking ROOM, for shit’s sake, because I saw the reviews and realised I don’t have to waste hours of my life on that shit. And when reviews are good, I’m there.
It’s what fucking reviews are for.
Newsflash: Reviews don’t ruin films, you precious little idiots!
 alderaan
But no, for some fucking mental reason, you star wars fans think you have the one and only franchise that NOBODY CAN EVER TALK ABOUT UNTIL I’VE SEEN THE FILM!”
The only film franchise where for weeks afterwards even the fucking REVIEWERS didn’t say anything about the fucking film, for fear of a bunch of spotty geeks grabbing the nearest pitchfork and heading over to “DESTROY THE MONSTER!”
Yep, when it comes to Star Wars, nobody else is allowed to know anything about the film, and has to go in blind, just because of a bunch of overgrown, pissy children, who haven’t realised one simple fact – Nobody’s forcing you to read the reviews and the spoilers you pricks.
And it was hilarious, because for all your pitiful and idiotic demands that nobody put up any reviews or spoilers, all anyone needed to do was just stick up a fucking massive poster of Episode IV, with the caption “Suck it, losers!”
Because truly, it looks like JJ Abrams pulled off the greatest act of trolling in cinema history, and you hardcore fans are so far down the rabbit hole of Stockholm syndrome for your beloved franchise that you’ve found it impossible to not take yourselves too seriously about it.
No, it can’t be that Abrams was stuck for new ideas, or he was pulling off the greatest scam ever concocted on the big screen, knowing full well that everyone would watch any old shit without it recieving even a basic review as long as it’s STAR WARS, and knowing full well that the fans would rally behind it no matter what (just so long as he didn’t make the horrendous mistakes of Episode I). No, it can’t be that.
It MUST be that he’s a literary genius, and the whole thing is the next fucking Iliad. Yeah. That’s it.
It’s just a fucking film – and it’s not even an example of the best cinema. It’s hardly Citizen Kane or 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I mean, it’s hardly even Dr Strangelove, for fuck’s sake.
Shit, it’s hardly fucking Benny and Joon.
Let’s not pretend we were watching some incredible specimens of movie masterpiece, that if they could be stuck on canvas would be hanging in the Tate.
It’s Pirates of the Caribbean in space – fairly well written for what it is: swash-buckling, action heavy adventure with great special effects and not too much plot to have to really hurt yourself with, but just enough to engage your brain and not just be a Michael Bay film (where you feel like you could have been lobotomized before hand and STILL understand every intricate facet of the plot, and end up wishing you would be lobotomized after listening to the dialogue). It’s great entertainment, but it’s not a fucking cinematic Mona Lisa. Get over yourselves.
Some of it was barely above the level of pantomime, for Christ’s sake.
That scene where Rey and Finn run into each other in the Millennium Falcon after getting away to congratulate each other was so cringe-worthily directed and acted, that it looked to be straight out of an awkward rehearsal of the worst amateur dramatics production in the universe.
Seriously, that scene just epitomized the problem with Abrams: He’s great at big ideas and special effects, just like James Cameron, and just like James Cameron he’s utterly shit at writing the detail and dialogue, and even worse at directing actors. Can we stop pretending otherwise, please?
let the shit
That’s my problem with Star Wars – or rather, you die-hard fans are.
Can you just let the rest of the world enjoy the films, without demanding we succumb to your whims and desires to stay eternally 10 years old, and pretend you have some magical reasons for everyone to tip-toe around you?
I want to make this absolutely clear, because you idiots keep missing the point, claiming that we’re “just hating on the franchise/film”. I’m not. I have no problem with it. I actually really do like it. It’s you guys I hate. The real hardcore, die-hard fans. Not the films. You.
Again, I loved the film. Even knowing that it was just basically a case of JJ Abrams getting stuck for ideas so he just dusted off the Episode IV script, rewrote a couple of things, made it bigger and repackaged it, didn’t make me enjoy it any less.
In fact, thinking of the humongous troll scandal he’d just pulled off on all the fans only made me love it even more, to the point that it’s probably my favourite Star Wars film for that fact alone, and for getting to watch the mass mental gymnastics you lot go through as you try to cope with it.
So, come the next Star Wars film, can everyone just ignore the spoiled little children crying about “NO-SPOILERS!” and just post up some normal reviews?

Humph

Apologies for the lack of posts.

This is due to my computer being buggered by a windows update – who’d’ve thunk it?

As such, I’m relegated to using my phone, which makes writing longer posts very difficult.

Normal service will resume, once I’ve given everyone at Microsoft wedgies of biblical proportions.

My first blog

Well, I’m finally breaking my blogging virginity – and I expect the experience to be just as awkward and leave me with just as much of an anti-climax, mixed with disorientation and confusion about what’s just happened when it’s over, as when I lost my actual virginity.

What to expect? Hmmmm…. I’m not wanting to overexcite the reader with incredible promises of lyrical delight, only to leave them deflated like a child’s balloon that’s been mistakenly taken by the pet dog as a sex toy.

All I’ll say is that there will be short stories, occasional comedy (disclaimer: this is solely contingent on a subjective interpretation of “comedy”), political musings, bits of what I think counts as news and editorial, and a look at some of the more egregious claims of pseudo-scientists.

Oh, and lot’s of long sentences that would be better served by being broken up with full stops – leaving the reader breathless as they try and keep up. I promise nothing less than an endurance test, and warn smokers and people suffering from asthma not to try and read along.

Jack Flacco

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