The Blog

Homeless actors offer a rawness that outweighs a lack of formal skills

Theatre company Cardboard Citizens casts untrained actors who have experienced homelessness, and tells their stories

Working with actors who lack formal training or are from the streets is more in vogue than ever, but at Cardboard Citizens this is what we have been doing for the past 25 years.

We make theatre with and for homeless people, performing on the stage, in the street, in hostels and prisons. We have 400 active members this year and we often work with the real stories of our members.

Those new to theatre-making can get caught up in a performance without knowing the potential human cost

Related: Legacy of Cathy Come Home should fuel fury over homelessness

Continue reading…
Source: Blog

Hidden homeless: the students ashamed to admit they’ve nowhere to sleep

A survey in London has shone a light on students who are couch-surfing or in emergency accommodation. Its authors fear it’s the tip of an iceberg

At 5am on the day of the eviction university student Mary Nadunga woke her three children, fed her baby and started packing their belongings into a hired van. At 10.45am the bailiffs arrived and handed her a paper declaring the family officially homeless.

“I was vacuuming because I wanted to leave the place clean and they told me to stop and give the keys to the landlord. It was at this moment it hit me that we were actually homeless. I cried but I told myself to stop and be strong,” she says.

Related: Home or away – is student accommodation becoming a luxury?

Related: Soaring student rents push college accommodation to brink of crisis

Continue reading…
Source: Blog

The secret life of a refugee support worker: ‘No one’s on their side except us’ | Anonymous

World Refugee Day: The British homeless people I’ve worked with at least have rights. Asylum seekers are desperate people who encounter only closed doors

I hang up, tears stinging my eyes, which I hastily wipe away before going into the meeting room.

A boy looks up nervously. I wish I had better news for him but I have to tell him that social services will not respond to our plea for help because he was age-assessed as 20 – he says he is 17 – when he arrived in the UK, and as a result he cannot access care and protection. This means another night on a bench in the park, and he is already thin, dirty and getting ill with exhaustion. His friend, another asylum seeker, killed himself a week ago, and our fear at the charity where I work is that he will do the same.

We are told that we should not let ‘these people’ get attached to us and our charity

Related: The secret life of a call centre worker: a degree of compassion never hurts | Anonymous

Continue reading…
Source: Blog

Homeless man's killing by police 'like a gangster movie', family claims

Attorneys for Luis Góngora’s family presented evidence they say shows San Francisco officers shot him from above, while he was sitting down or lying prone

Luis Góngora, the homeless man shot by San Francisco police on 7 April, was killed by a shot to the head from above, lawyers for his family alleged at a press conference as they announced the filing of a claim against the city and county of San Francisco for excessive force and wrongful death.

“This was like a mafia shot,” said Luis Poot Pat, Góngora’s cousin, who attended the press conference on Friday. “I can’t believe in the beautiful city of San Francisco this can happen.”

The officer can be seen shooting down at the wounded man … in a scene reminiscent of a gangster movie

The manner in which he was approached and ultimately attacked indicated there was a lack of regard for him as a human

Continue reading…
Source: Blog

Homeless people gatecrash CEOs on charity sleepout in Adelaide

Group of homeless people accuse St Vincent de Paul event participants of not understanding homelessness

A group of homeless people gatecrashed a CEO sleepout in Adelaide on Thursday night.

About six people took issue with the group of 120 chief executives staying in Whitmore Square overnight, a park where homeless people often stay.

Related: Clean streets: the mobile laundry service helping Australia’s homeless

Related: Sleeping rough for charity hides the real homelessness crisis

Continue reading…
Source: Blog

I work in a council homeless unit, where not helping people is seen as a good job

Homelessness assessment is a thankless task when there’s scant social housing to go around, but sometimes I can slip someone through the gate

I have worked as a housing options officer since 2002. The job, as well as the job title, changes with each parliament. Homeless persons unit, homeless prevention team. Housing options, housing choices, housing assessment – unfortunately, none of these titles actually provide more housing for the homeless but I am sure somewhere a consultant is getting a nice payout for creating job titles.

I first decided to work in homelessness with a local authority as a gateway to working in housing. I was advised by someone at housing charity Shelter to do the job for six months to learn “how the enemy works”. But my colleagues were great and are dedicated to helping the people that came steadily pouring through the door. So 14 years later I am still doing the same job, albeit with a different title.

Homelessness is a nice little earner for slumlords

Related: Each ‘investment opportunity’ means a life of insecurity for a tenant

I work in a service where not helping people is generally seen as doing a good job

Related: I hate having to explain the housing crisis to women who feel life couldn’t get worse

Continue reading…
Source: Blog

Luxury auction house under fire after sprinkler system douses homeless

Homeless people in San Francisco say the sprinklers at Bonhams are turned on at night to soak their belongings and discourage them from staying on the sidewalk

A luxury fine arts and antiques auction house in San Francisco is facing criticism for its use of an external sprinkler system, which homeless residents say has been intermittently turned on to douse their belongings and to discourage them from camping on the sidewalk.

The sidewalk outside the San Francisco salesroom of Bonhams, one of the world’s largest and oldest auctioneers, is exactly the kind of wide, windowless expanse that attracts members of the city’s large homeless population, many of whom live in tents around the neighborhood.

They treat us like we’re not even human

Continue reading…
Source: Blog

The unscrupulous firms profiting from homelessness and domestic abuse

In a climate of council cuts, too many private companies are providing inadequate services for homeless and vulnerable people

The most dangerous moment for a woman fleeing domestic violence is when she leaves her home, hoping to find somewhere safe to rebuild her life. But, for women in Croydon, a joint investigation between BBC London and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed claims of massive failings in supported housing for women who had fled violence. Women said the supported accommodation they were offered gave them barely any support, with several telling the BBC that 24-hour staffing was a fiction.

Domestic violence shelters can be extremely difficult to live in: as well as the fear of former partners or family members attempting to break in, domestic violence affects your mental health. If women with mental health problems aren’t supported, their conditions worsen, and other residents are possibly at risk too. One woman living in supported accommodation owned by London Housing Trust told the journalists: “Three weeks, a month in. Never heard from no one, never saw anyone. They would pop round and spend five minutes and go. There is no support and if I don’t get it, everything goes downhill.”

Related: Without supported housing, a lot of people will be left outside to die | Frances Ryan

Continue reading…
Source: Blog