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The Homeless in England

I decided to study the homeless’ situation before we went to England, so I tried to get information about it via the internet, but it was so much information that I soon gave up…

When we got to England I thought about changing subject to the pub culture because it seemed easier to write about, but after a few days I had seen so many homeless people that I got used to it and therefor dared to talk to them and ask them questions about their situation and why they where homeless. Many people just walked right by the homeless without even look at them (rather the reverse, look another way), but other people stopped to talk to them and buy their paper.

I’ve used the homeless people as sources and also their paper. When I came home I searched on the internet to get information and there was a lot of it, so I choosed some headings and took a closer look at them.

Who’s homeless?

I thought, before I went to England, that every homeless person was that by his/her own choice, but after talking to them and read about it I know that some of the homeless is that by their own choice. They choose to be homeless for different reasons, like a protest against the society or just to try the homeless life.

25% of the homeless are war veterans and most of them from Vietnam. They are mentally traumatised by their war experiences, some of them are disable and others are just unable to find work so they can pay a rent.

25% of the homeless are children and many of them are alone. They’re maybe run- aways who left home because there was no food at home, or because they’re victims of rape, incest or violence. Many of them are “throwaways”, whose parents tell them to leave home or won’t allow them to return home once they’ve left.

Many of the homeless are elderly people with fixed income, and I guess that’s not the traditional image of homeless people. They receive about 450 a month in benefits and if they pay 350 for rent it’s pretty logical that they can’t live a decent life. Many elderly people are living in poverty in an apartment with no proper heating, no water etc., and many of the elderly homeless are afraid to go to soup kitchens or shelters, so they aren’t seen on the streets.


There’s a lot of myths going around about the homeless. Very often these myths are told by someone without any or with just a little knowledge about the homeless people and their life. Here’s some of the myths:

Myth:They want to be homeless.

Fact: Some of them yes, but less than 6% of the homeless are homeless by their own choice. I spoke to a man who told me he used to live in Scotland, and that he had a house of his own, a TV, a VCR and so on, but after a concert in London about a year ago, he decided to stay in Brighton to try “the homeless life”. Now he tried to earn money, so he could get home to Scotland again.

Myth:They are heavy drug users and mentally ill.

Fact:About 25% of the homeless are emotionally disturbed, but that has a lot to do with that many of them has suffered from child abuse or violence. About 25% uses drugs, but many of them are included in them who suffers from mental illness.

Myth:They don’t work.

Fact:25% of the homeless work full- or part- time. The problem is that people earning a minimum wage doesn’t earn enough to support a family of three or rent an apartment in the inner-city. There’s also many of the homeless people who aren’t able to work and there’s many reasons why. Paper

The homeless in England has their own paper called The Big Issue. They write about things that might interest themselves, but also about homeless people, so that the people buying it can read about the homeless’ situation. The homeless people buys the paper for 40p and sell it for 70p, but to earn more money they say they don’t have change for a pound.

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