Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Not Your Everyday Homeless ...

This is what you see.
The real homeless are invisible.
This Is Local London and the Surrey Comet recently printed a short article by me about the different types of homeless persons that I deal with as a volunteer...



The word “homeless” conjures up an image in everyone’s mind – and it is probably the same vision for everyone.

You’re thinking right now of a dishevelled, unshaven man, slightly the worse for drink, sitting against a wall with a paper cup for loose change.

Well, if you were to take a closer look, you would realise how wrong you are. The different types of people affected by homelessness would astound you. Certainly, alcohol plays a part, as a cause – but there are just as many who turn to alcohol, and drugs, once they find themselves in such a position.

If you were to spend a few hours in any homeless charity location, for example, KCAH (Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness) or the YMCA in Surbiton, I bet you wouldn’t even be able to tell who has and who hasn’t got a permanent home.

There are families or part-families. There is also a growing problem with homeless youths. There are sober, clean, middle-aged men, a surprising number ex armed forces. There are elderly. There are couch-surfers, often in their teens and 20s, who flit from one friend to another. And there are people of all ages with mental health issues.

I see these varied kinds of people as a volunteer at the YMCA in Surbiton.

Government funding to social and welfare projects across the country has been cut and Kingston has had its share of lost funding.

Ultimately, you can’t actually “deal” with homelessness – it is the symptom, not the cause. But charities providing help will continue to fight this battle until the causes are eradicated.


The Bridge - BBC Does It Again With The New Scandi-Crime ...

The Bridge's Saga and Martin, two very real characters.
I still can't fathom why we Brits can't make stylish crime dramas like 'The Bridge' - and like 'Wallander' and 'The Killing' before it.

It's not just because it's Scandinavian - I thought 'Borgen' and 'Those Who Kill' were rather average. But 'The Bridge'... Damn, I have to rearrange my calendar around all the transmission times. It is *the* must-see for me, and I'm *not* a big TV watcher.

Headhunters - showing now.
Perhaps it's because my main intro to TV crime drama is being an avid reader - particularly detective and crime novels. Both 'The Bridge' and 'The Killing' were long-drawn out affairs over a whole series (similair, depth-wise, to a novel) not 'episodic' with a new murder and the perpetrator always found before the hour is up.

And, btw, talking of Scandinavian crime writers... can't wait to see Headhunters, the 'Jo Nesbo' movie this weekend... A Norwegian film which is being released, deservedly, in 50 countries.