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thePavement

thePavement is the free magazine for the UK's homeless people

We are committed to publishing objective reportage, tailored to a homeless readership, and to publicising the complete range of services available to homeless people, to reduce hardship amongst our readers and to enable them to guide their future.

We believe that drives to produce homogenous services for homeless people are misguided, and that a range of service types and sizes are the only way to cater successfully for our diverse readership.

We believe that sleeping rough is physically and mentally harmful; however, we do not preach to those who chosen to, nor do we believe that all options to get off the streets are necessarily beneficial to long-term health and happiness.

 
 

Downloads

Your rights

The Rights Guide for Rough Sleepers outlines your rights around arrest, stop and search, answering police questions, move-ons, no-drinking zones, sleeping rough, taking a pee in public and highway obstruction. It was put together by The Pavement, Housing Justice, Liberty and Zacchaeus 2000.

If your benefits have been sanctioned (cut off or reduced) and you feel this is unfair, you can appeal. Print this letter and hand it in at the office where you sign on. If you feel you need more advice about sanctions, contact  Zacchaeus 2000 or your nearest  Citizen’s Advice Bureau. And let us know at The Pavement!

 

volunteer

If you are a journalist with some free time to research and write stories for the magazine, please contact us . For other volunteering opportunities, please approach organisations listed on our Services pages or your local volunteer centre

 
 
 

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Ollie the twitterrific bird appears courtesy of www.twitterrific.com

 

In the latest issue

 

By the time Darren McGarvey was a teenager he had learned that words have power. Now 33, he grew up with an alcoholic and abusive mum in a housing scheme in Pollok in the south of the city, where he was expected to screen out anything that didn't...
 
 

Talking to a stranger at the Listening Place can save lives The strength it takes to utter the words “I want to kill myself” is impossible to comprehend. Feeling these syllables fall from the mouth of a loved one fills the gut with fear. My friend never wanted to...
 
 
Groundswell’s Shame Action Day used the work of From the Ground Up...
 
 
The complexities of modern living can offer few answers. So why turn...
 
 
What would you say if Oxford University researcher Rachael Kiddey asked you...
 
 
> Go figure In this interview extract, Matt Hobbs identifies the risk of...
 
 
 

Announcements

07 March 2018
 

Our team of peer journalists from the 'From the Ground Up' project talk about perceptions of homelessness.

 
 
09 February 2017
 

Our Glasgow Word On The Street project went so well that we are now running it in London. Véronique Mistiaen, lecturer and human rights journalist, led the second session, 'How to tell your own story'. you can read more about the project on her blog, The Right Human. Check out the trainees' blog to follow their progress from newbie to news hound.

 
 
23 June 2015
 

Will you use your admin ninja skills to help a unique small charity working to support homeless people?

Download PDF (141KB)

 
 
 
23 June 2015
 

Do you want to use your fundraising skills to support a unique small charity working to support homeless people?

Download PDF (146KB)

 
 
 
23 June 2015
 

Will you donate your a journalism or photography skills to help the homeless people we work to support?

Download PDF (146KB)

 
 
 
04 November 2014
 

Our Glasgow-based Word on the Street team of reporters and photographers – along with London guest writers, who also have experience of the homelessness – has been working hard on a special edition that tells it how it is: benefit sanctions, a cartoon about hostel life and how football can change the world, for starters. The WOTS team is: Iain Alan, Brenda Brown, Brian Dobbie, Jason Kelly, Peter Kelly, Jim Little, Caroline McCue, Alex McKay, Patrick O’Hare and Roddy Woods. Thanks, team!

 
 
19 August 2011
 

Wow.  The Pavement’s Homeless City Guide, which appears in every issue of the magazine, has made it into New York’s Museum of Modern Art. 

Latest Stories

 15 May 2018
 

With the right tools you can rebuild your life © The Pavement

In April, our From The Ground Up peer reporters graduated. Over the past six months they’ve regularly met, worked hard at finding stories and become friends. We’re hoping they’ll keep writing for us, not just because writing can be healing, but because the Pavement has changed thanks to their instincts for reporting, feature writing and wanting to share their experience of life.

It’s challenging meeting deadlines (and the Pavement has lots) when trying to sort out stuff. It’s also extremely tough having a go at new things when you’re perhaps also struggling to cope with the pain, shame and reality of homelessness.

You don’t have to be an Always look on the bright side type optimist to rebuild your life. Sometimes a mug of tea or coffee, served just how you like it, can make your world seem happier. Build on the good moments by trying the ideas our columnist Mat Amp suggests on page 17, or see how the Listening Place supports people on page 21. Let us know what works for you on our Facebook page and we’ll share it.

“Wherever my story takes me, however dark and difficult the theme, there is always some hope and redemption, not because readers like happy endings, but because I am an optimist at heart. I know the sun will rise in the morning, that there is a light at the end of every tunnel.” – Michael Morpurgo

 
 
 

News in brief, May–June 2018

 15 May 2018
 

The Big Broth © Centrepoint

Super help

Italian chef Aldo Zilli (left) and Big Brother finalist judged Centrepoint’s Big Broth comp. Here’s why: “I was 17, in Munich in Germany. I left my village as there was no work. I ran out of money after three days and had no choice but to live on the streets. I ended up sleeping rough. The cold was the worst thing and people ignoring you. The experience of homelessness has driven me all my life, the fear of that ever happening again.” Big Broth winner, (right) Omero Gallucci’s Red Pepper and Chorizo Soup will be made by Yorkshire Provender this autumn, with 20p from every pot sold going to fund Centrepoint’s work with homeless young people.

 

Sofia House squat saves lives

In the recent cold spell, emergency shelters were opened in central London but the numbers far outweighed capacity. In March, Streets Kitchen took over Sofia House at 204 Great Portland Street, a building that had been empty for five years, in a bid to save lives.

The Pavement’s Ian Kalman reports: “I visited the premises twice. The last time the population had grown to over 160 people. I observed as a new person entered, where they came from did not matter: they were offered clothing from the Sofia Solidarity Centre, which also set up a free shop and provided food and drink. They were treated as human beings. This was an illegal occupation of a building, so of course the owner sought an eviction notice, and it was granted. The only mercy was that the judge stated that it should not commence until after the next cold spell.”

“We also had guerrilla paramedics at Sofia House and took two people to hospital who had pneumonia, but didn’t know how ill they were,” adds Jenny from Streets Kitchen. Several celebrities also visited the Sofia House squat, including Susan Sarandon.

Streets Kitchen is a grassroots organisation based at 48 Seven Sisters Road, near Nag’s Head market, Holloway, N7. It is open 11am–2pm daily for lunch, and usually serves 50 people. On Tuesdays it’s women only.

 

Tricky period

Libraries in Islington and Norwich now offer free sanitary products with no questions asked. Find the form at the library and then select what you'd like. The scheme is funded by a new organisation, the Tricky Period, which aims to help homeless women and women and girls from low income households.

www.cilip.org.uk/page/TrickyPeriod

 

Wedding gift

Crisis is one of the seven charities that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have asked people to donate to as an alternative to a wedding gift. Chief Executive of Crisis, Jon Sparkes, said the organisation was “hugely grateful” that the couple, who marry on 15 May in Windsor, had picked Crisis.

He added: “Donations will help us to support more people to leave homelessness behind through our housing, employment, education and advice services across the country, and to campaign for the changes needed to solve the homelessness crisis once and for all.”

 

Listen up

Listen to our team of From the Ground Up peer journalists talk about their experience of homelessness.

www.soundcloud.com/thepavement

 

Move on up

In April, Groundswell, the homeless health charity and the Pavement partner in From The Ground Up peer reporting project, moved from Vauxhall to Brixton. It’s now based in a former famous gig venue. The new address is Groundswell, 6th Floor, St Matthews, Brixton Hill, Brixton, London SW2 1JF. New phone number is 020 7725 2851.

 

Talk show

Think, debate, laugh, dance, change the world – that’s the promise of the Byline Festival 2018, which is running 24–27 August at Pippingford Park, Ashdown Forest, East Sussex. Speakers include Hugh Grant, Gary Lineker, Baroness Sayeed Warsi and the Pavement’s own columnist, Mat Amp.

www.bylinefestival.com

 

New rules

The Homelessness Reduction Act came into law on 3 April 2018 making it a legal duty for councils to assist eligible homeless citizens. It arrives at a difficult time for cash-strapped councils, who will need to engineer ways to manage the increased cost, despite major funding cuts to their budgets. The draft for the Act was written up by the homeless charity Crisis. Polly Neate, the Chief Executive of fellow charity Shelter, praised the new law saying: “It will mean a wider group of people will be entitled to help from their councils, and earlier, which can only be good news.”

But some councils are hesitant to celebrate. According to Inside Housing, Camden Council is fearful of an increase in legal challenges against the council due to the “opaqueness” of the Act’s guidance, saying it “neglects to define key terminology.”

Meanwhile Bristol City Council believes an increase in “bureaucracy” will limit the resources available to frontline homelessness prevention work. Sheffield City Council worries that homelessness prevention services will become “reactive” as the burden on councils increase amidst budget cuts.

 

It's temporary

The Homelessness Monitor, an annual report into homelessness across England, has said that based on current trends more than 100,000 homeless households will be living in temporary accommodation within the next two years.

The report argues the increase in use of temporary accommodation is due to a lack of social and private rented housing across the country.

Often families find their temporary home excessively far from work and school. In the past eight years temporary accommodation use has rocketed by 61 per cent, seeing a 39 per cent increase in council spending on this form of housing.

 

Kilt idea

A fundraising campaign in Scotland has brought together six major charities in an unprecedented coalition. Bethany Christian Trust, Glasgow City Mission, Street Soccer Scotland, Rock Trust and Simon Community Scotland/Streetwork will tackle homelessness by asking people to take part in a kilt walk between June and September.

All proceeds from the campaign will go towards the frontline services of the respective charities. Scottish Housing News says The Hunter Foundation has pledged to match 40 per cent of the total sum raised and donate it to the charities.

Glasgow has taken place, but you can still join Aberdeen (June 3), Dundee (August 19) and Edinburgh (Sep 16).

www.thekiltwalk.co.uk

 

More funding

The Government has announced plans to inject £30m into council budgets to tackle rough sleeping. The money will be available to the councils with the highest number of people rough sleeping, as part of the Government’s wider plan to end homelessness by 2027. Politics Home also revealed that a taskforce of “homelessness experts” has been set up by the Government to identify the various factors that can lead to homelessness. “Government is determined to break the homelessness cycle once and for all,” said Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

The homelessness task force organised by West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, has been given a boost by West Midlands National Express, reports Birmingham Live. The bus company will offer free travel for homeless people on their buses so they can get to their hostel at night. They can also use the service free of charge in the day to reach benefits or medical appointments. The service will run in Coventry and other parts of the West Midlands with scratch card tickets being provided to all the relevant agencies tackling homelessness in the region, such as the Coventry Salvation Army outreach team.

 

Finland genius

While homelessness in Britain has increased by 134 per cent since 2010, it has fallen by 35 per cent in Finland over the same time. Finland’s solution to homelessness, as reported by the Guardian, is to provide homes to people who need them. The Government-led project Housing First, views housing as “a basic human right”.

In contrast there is a string of obligations attached to accommodation in Britain, such as unconditional engagement in treatment services. Although many would argue providing free housing will solve little for addicts, evidence from Finland shows the opposite. Engagement in support services is up and recovery rates from addiction are similar to those in treatment-first approaches.

 

Get running

Watch out for Skid Row Marathon, which is due to be screened at more than 100 cinemas on May 9. Set in LA’s Skid Row, which has 4,500 homeless people, it’s the story of a US High Court judge, Craig Mitchell, coaching recovering alcoholics, drug addicts and former criminals at a long distance running club.

“My involvement with the running club gives me a way to impact lives that I cannot as a judge,” says Mitchell at the start of the documentary, adding, “One horrendous act does not define a person in entirety.”

Exercise can help wellbeing, see Mat’s column on page 17.

 

Fingers point

Universal Credit has been identified as a leading contributor to youth homelessness. The charity Homeless Link carried out a survey of people aged between 16 and 24 in 79 local authorities and 109 youth homelessness service providers, whilst also handing the survey to a number of rough sleepers. The survey was part of their 2018 Young and Homeless report. 92 per cent of respondents said complications within Universal Credit, such as late payments, had a direct impact on youth homelessness. The report states that “administrative changes and delays under Universal Credit are negatively impacting young people’s access to housing.”

 

Sock it to them

There are plans afoot for all Edinburgh’s homeless people to be equipped with socks and other accessories to keep warm. What sets the charity apart is that it is run by 11-year-old Joseph Cox. Joseph established Socks for the Street, last year, after hearing that the Bethany Christian Trust was in dire need of socks. His first step was to set up a collection point at his school where people could hand over socks. By spring 2018 Socks for the Street had handed more than 2,000 pairs of socks to the Bethany Christian Trust, and other homeless organisations, according to STV News.

 

Container homes

Redbridge Council is working alongside the Salvation Army on an ambitious project to shelter large numbers of homeless people. The £3.4m project was inspired by five-year-old Malachi sending the Salvation Army the money he got from the tooth fairy. Project Malachi will see 40 shipping containers refurbished and used as housing units in Ilford town centre. Each unit will have a bathroom, kitchen and living area. The East London & West Essex Guardian reports that Salvation Army volunteers will also provide support to the residents of the 40 units, which are due to open in October.

 

Ban scrapped

It’s taken a year, but the controversial decision to ban housing benefits for 18–21-year-olds has been scrapped. Critics argued that it would lead to an increase in youth homelessness. Meanwhile the Homelessness Reduction Act has become law. The Guardian quotes Shelter campaign director Greg Beales saying he hoped the “powerful change will prevent many young people becoming homeless in the future.”

 
 
 

Why suicide?

 27 February 2018
 

Everyone found this assignment tough...

Our From The Ground Up peer reporters know what it’s like to be homeless. Their aim is to report on topics that get forgotten, or feel too taboo to discuss in mainstream media. That’s why this issue is all about suicide.

Sometimes bald statistics and lived experience make it hard to stay positive, but as Drew Bailey, one of the peer reporting team, writes, “I want people to know there is hope.”

All sorts of things must change, from turning around low self-esteem to challenging government – and even hostel – policy. Read on to get the info, find help and enjoy our writers’ skills.

 

In a nutshell

Here’s how an off-balance society leads to escalating problems, including suicide for some, plus some ways to turn it around. Research by Matt Hobbs.

1. Suicide attempts rise when times are hard
• Triggers include job insecurity and fear of home repossession
• Having to move breaks up people’s own support structures

2. There’s fragmented health support
• Poor health, and pain, may also be factors
• As wellbeing falls, mental health services are even more important

3. Cuts to public services and poor living conditions remove safety nets
• Homelessness, or no address, makes support less likely
• Living in a more disadvantaged area puts you at a two or three times higher risk of suicide than more advantageous areas.

4. Lack of joined-up thinking adds problems
• Drug and alcohol may be used as self-medication
• But these services have been slashed
• Dual diagnosis can make help even harder to find

5. Positive change is possible
• First be suicide safe. Survive the crisis, see 'You are not alone'
• Find a community that’s true to you
• Make connections, talk, train and volunteer, ideas in 'Not a number'
• Use the listings in this magazine to find support and free counselling.

 
 
 
 

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© Copyright 2009-2014 The Pavement. Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656 Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760 ISSN (online) 1757-0484