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March for the Homeless

 
May 5th 2015
 

A protester in Glasgow calls for action on homelessness. © Ilisa Stack for The Pavement

The first ‘March for the Homeless’ took place in cities across the UK last month, calling for action to address homelessness across the globe. The Pavementteam was in London and Glasgow to talk to people about why it matters and what changes they want. Reporting by Carinya Sharples, and images by Alice Facchini and Ilisa Stack.

There were companions from Emmaus in their green T-shirts. Rough sleepers and hostel users with rucksacks and bags. Activists from the Aylesbury Estate protest and Focus E15 group, both determined to not go down without a struggle. A samba group and an amplified mobile protest band. Cardboard Citizens director Adrian Jackson holding a sound mic for a film crew. Centrepoint user Ben, with a giant ‘#IAmVisible’ sign, encouraged young homeless people to vote. Posters, leaflets and banners were emblazoned with messages from the TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) Against Cuts campaign, People Before Profit, the Eviction Resistance Network, the Socialist Worker and many others.

This is the March for the Homeless, held on April 15 and all are here with a message: it’s time to tackle homelessness.

Founded by Darren Bradley in Dublin, it’s aiming to be a global movement, held annually. “The campaign is here to stay,” promise organisers. Marches were held across the UK, with people taking to the streets in cities including Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. Other protests and rallies took place in Ireland, the US and Canada.

But it was in London, that the largest UK presence was felt. “The homeless people have found a voice,” declares Jon Glackin of Streets Kitchen, which organised the London leg of the day of protest. “Our aim was to raise the issue of no more deaths on our streets. We want to get the homeless community organised.”

In London, participants gathered along Whitehall, directly opposite Downing Street, where protests are common. Then in a sudden surge everyone flooded out into the road: blocking traffic, sitting on the road, eating food from the Hari Krishna mobile stall, and raising their banners up high. The police attempted to persuade people to move onto the pavement, but they stayed put.

The issues of concern varied. John Xuevet, who is currently living in a housing cooperative that’s due to go back into council ownership, despaired at the ‘extortionate’ rents and housing prices: “I could work three lifetimes and save every penny and I still wouldn’t be able to afford to buy a place… In 1980, rent was £10 a week: now it’s £110–120 a week depending on the area. In the next five years, council rent will overtake my wages."

Michael was “pissed off” that despite having a deposit for a flat, he can’t find a landlord that will take DSS.

Justin Thyme, who set out outreach project Homeless Reach last year, called for “more Housing First options – getting people into homes first then dealing with other issues”.

A homeless couple on their first-ever march spoke of the difficulties of finding a place to stay together, the violence and intimidation many street homeless people face, and the high cost of spending a penny (or now, for public toilets in many London stations, 30p). After all, it’s the every day things that matter.

What would you change? Get in touch and tell us what really matters. karin@thepavement.org.uk

 
 
 

 

Contents

New arrivals hit the streets

Soup Run Forum

Web only: Emergency Islington shelter remains open during sub-zero temperatures

Chairman of the board

Rest in peace - in memory of lost friends

Prince poses

Starter pack boost

Wearing a jacket to beg?

Teens found guilty of killing Ralph Millward

The Passage withdraws service "as a last resort"

New learning centre for Glasgow

iHobo game causes controversy

Auckland extends ban on rough sleepers

Homeless interrogation

Affordable housing development opens in Edinburgh

Who decides?

Credit unions

New counts are optional

Nobby on stage

I will never forget you, my people

London homeless services in limbo over ?Ǭ£3.28m cuts

Disused night shelter re-opened for winter months

Coventry Cyrenians forced to cut services

London hub success for new rough sleepers

Crisis Skylight in Birmingham - a year on

Residents look ahead to staff upheaval

Midland Heart report

Labour call for hefty council tax levy on empty homes

Stik pic for the American Church

Lottery grant means new opportunities

Mungo?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s launches women?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s campaign

Homeless people forced into slavery

Homeless couple marry in Australia

Number of homeless in Southend underestimated

Basic banking for all

NSNO expands into west London

Scottish homeless applications drop by 19 per cent

Miami cannibal

Invisible People film UK homeless

The demilitarised zone in North America’s drug war

2012 - the year of the right to permanent accommodation in Scotland?

Crisis at Christmas

The Pavement is recruiting

Rough sleeper donates $250 to charity

Food voucher scheme scrapped

Commemorating friends and companions

Human rights for all

First person: Gemskii on regaining control of her life

The shades come off

Upfront: spikes

Comment: Spikes are the least of your worries

Opinion: All up in smoke?

Heartbreak Hotel, episode 4.

The Pied Piper of Housing

March for the Homeless

Being homeless doesn't mean you can't vote on May 7

The vulnerability ruling

The Queen’s speech

Criminalising homelessness

116-bed hostel for young homeless to close in Southwark

Sponsor a bed and rebuild a life

Hipsters neutralise anti-homeless spikes

What the Brexit will happen now?

Anti-homelessness protesters threatened with eviction, jail by Manchester city council

Showing our impact

Rebirth

The birth of the North Gower Action Group

A pianist, an artist, a dog called George and a new homeless app

Living water

Midwinter blues?

Councils back change in law to tackle rising homelessness

Having problems with your JSA?

Mayoral hustings on homelessness

Skippering

A major step in reducing homelessness?

Liverpool Police homeless curb beggars belief

Charity begins at home?

Legal aid charade

Surviving the streets – by those who've done it

Stop the scandal

Glasgow homeless services at risk

Bill gives councils legal duty to stop homelessness

Homeless Grenfell survivors afraid of deportation

 

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