A friend of mine assisted a homeless man with some food over the weekend and listened to his story – it is not an unfamiliar one.
Walking on later, he saw the following poster from the local council asking for accommodation to house Syrian refugees and was so outraged he wrote to the Member of Parliament in the homeless man’s area
Dear Chris Grayling MP
There is a homeless man currently spending his nights sleeping in the doorway of a former mobile phone shop in Epsom’s Town centre between the Robert Dyas and the QEF charity shops. The man introduced himself to me as “Daley”.
I thought I’d share with you the feelings of outrage that I posted on social media a few hours after meeting this poor man- and then learning of the government-initiated programs which have been created to assist those with no discernable links to this country (at vast expense to the taxpayer, natch). All this despite our own burgeoning housing crisis, the lack of affordable homes, the homelessness epidemic sweeping the country and the widespread use of food-banks by many of these affected British citizens right here within the confines of the UK’s borders.
I believe that my assessment of the homeless man’s predicament is a damming indictment of the housing crisis in Great Britain in 2018. Sadly it is not the first time I have heard such a depressing tale and I wouldn’t doubt for one minute that it will be the last.
“Last night I brought food to a thirty year old homeless fella a couple of sandwiches, sausage rolls, and a pot of BBQ beans & veggies. A token gesture on a bitterly cold night. The thought was there but it seemed akin to throwing a drowning man a polo mint.
He’d been married, with a child with his ex-wife, had a job working as a maintenance engineer in a hospital, the marriage had imploded and he’d left the abode to his wife and kid as the atmosphere had become toxic. So not conducive to the health of the child in other words. He was then unable to hold down a steady job whilst his life fell apart.
The lad claimed that he’d moved from Mole Valley, to Northamptonshire (sofa-surfing), to Horsham (Salvation Army being very helpful and proactive down there), to Epsom (closer to his home turf) , each time being accused by successive local councils of having deliberately made himself homeless, having insufficient local area connections to qualify for assistance or having forfeited his local area connection by opting for a warm place to sleep with a roof over his head albeit elsewhere in a different constituency (Although I’m sure Mole Valley in particular would have grabbed his Council Tax with both hands on a monthly basis whilst he’d been living in Leatherhead, despite allegedly flippantly dismissing his pleas for assistance when he required help weeks, months or years later).
Oh, and furthermore he says he’d been served with a Community Protection Order by defying a ban on sleeping outdoors in a certain spot and fined £300 with the fine itself being rescinded for some time served or some such bollocks. He’s unable to apply for full-time work as he’s of no fixed abode. A local builder has pledged to call him when he occasionally requires an extra labourer, and Epsom & Ewell council’s housing section are interviewing him next week. But none of this is going to rescue him from the inclement weather or the hard floor outside the defunct mobile phone shop in the High Street anytime in the next few days.
Now I know that with homeless people and their reasons for remaining on the streets there’s often more to the story than meets the eye. I accept that criminality, addiction or destructive behaviour or wrongdoing on their part is often omitted from the tale of woe or at least significantly played down by the homeless person in question. But nonetheless leaving a capable, seemingly sober thirty year old human being (father, son, husband, brother) on the cold streets of a constituency on the edge of London that has it’s fair share of wealthy residents does strike me as being a tad unconscionable. It also makes a mockery of the much trumpeted claim that local authorities are obliged to house homeless people within 24 hours of their plight being referred to a local authority.
But then on Sunday afternoon I travelled over to Surbiton and I’m walking along the river into Kingston, when lo-and-behold I’m confronted by the following poster. Imagine my outrage!
So we must therefore summarise that dubious economic migrants of questionable origins are being placed before British citizens now?
Charity begins at home. This merely serves to add insult to injury.
Has the Borough of Epsom & Ewell moved it’s geographical position next to Aleppo in the past five minutes did it?
Did New Malden up-sticks and transplant itself next to Damascus whilst I was sleeping…?
So do please tell me about the significance of that local area connection stipulation again…
It’s not fair.
It’s not right.
Something must be done.”
Please find attached a photograph of Kingston Council’s request, a neighbouring constituency, for borough residents to help supply housing stock (in return for top rates paid) in order to assist with housing Syrian refugees for a specified minimum number of months.
I would hope that you might find the time to perhaps visit this homeless man in Epsom on the return to your constituency address so that you may hear his story and assess his predicament for yourself.
I do sincerely hope that you will assist him and unreservedly deploy the full powers of your office to ensure that Epsom & Ewell Council honour their obligations and thus grant this man emergency shelter with immediate effect.
If need be I will revisit the man and see if I can glean an email address or mobile telephone number so that you can make certain that he will receive access to the full range of support services available.
I hope to receive correspondence from you in relation to this urgent matter at your earliest convenience.
Mr ********** ***********