A serious blog for today.
Can you imagine what it must be like to be homeless?
As you know from the recent ‘Island Jam’ video, which was made available in return for a voluntary donation of any amount to Crisis, David cares passionately for the homeless. Indeed, in 2003, David became vice president of Crisis, the London-based homelessness charity whose motto is ‘Fighting for hope for homeless people’.
We’re not asking for anything here. Just please think about this for a moment or two.
Apparently, around 25 per cent of Britain’s homeless people are aged 18 to 25. One third have attempted suicide. Two thirds will leave school with no qualifications.
That said, a Crisis survey of 150 homeless people across Britain revealed that 15 per cent have degrees and 13 per cent have professional qualifications, proving that anyone can end up sleeping rough.
Six per cent of Britain’s homeless people are over 60. About one in ten sleeping rough are women.
Compared to the general public, homeless people are 35 times more likely to commit suicide, 13 times more likely to have experienced violence, 40 times more likely to not be registered with a GP and eight times more likely to have mental health problems.
81 per cent are addicted to either, or both, drugs and alcohol. Dependency means they are twice as likely to be banned from homeless services as those who are not.
The average life expectancy of a homeless person is just 42. For the rest of us, the average is 74 for men and 79 for women.
Added to this are the ‘hidden homeless’ – those who are infrequently staying in hostels, squatting, sleeping on a sofa somewhere and of no fixed abode. Apparently there are some 380,000 people who fit this category in Britain.
However, there are no official figures. Crisis is currently urging all concerned people to contact their local MPs to call for a Hidden Homeless Census. If you’re interested in lending your voice to this campaign, then please visit www.crisis.org.uk and click the little red button down in the right-hand corner of your screen. It only takes a moment and your support will be vastly appreciated.
Maybe you have experience of this issue or know people who have. Feel free to write whatever you feel.
January is by far the coldest month of the year here in the UK, and it’s uncomfortable knowing that, right now, there are people sleeping rough on our streets when most of us are warm and safe, worrying about such trivial matters as our hair getting wet on the way to the bus stop tomorrow morning.
If you came looking for news or to see another of Polly’s photographs, then we apologise for disappointing you. But please spend the time you would have spent generally looking forward to David’s new album and tour to think about these cold, harsh facts. It puts all the petty stuff in its place. Besides, awareness of the issue is perhaps of equal importance to putting your hand in your pocket and making a contribution.