Street Stories Exhibition

People who are experiencing homelessness are contributing a ‘Street Stories’ Corner as an inclusive part of the Brighton Art Market (BAM) event.

Exhibiting photos taken by people who are experiencing different types of homelessness. Living on the street, in emergency & temporary accommodation, b&bs, hostels, squatting, sofa surfing, living on the road, the hidden homeless.

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There is also a ‘Street Story’ book which everyone is invited to write in. To share their homeless related stories for others to read.

The Street Stories exhibition is facilitated by Love Activists BrightonOpSafe Winter -Brighton. Two of Brighton’s grassroots outreach groups, who stand in solidarity with folk who are homeless in our city, helping to provide survival aid & campaign for an end to homelessness.

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The ‘Street Stories’ corner will be set up again this Saturday 28th May 11-4pm in Brighthelm Gardens (Just off Queens Road).

We welcome volunteers & collaboration. Please email loveactivists(at)riseup.net if you would like to get involved!

Street Stories Event Page

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STREET STORY: The Cost of Punishment

The word is that if a person gets exploited by the criminal justice system and put inside for less than 12 months for say repeatedly begging (asking for help!) or somesuch, it costs an average of 68k per year.

The state has no obligation to house you and you’re slung onto the street with a £49 discharge grant. Put on an ‘at risk’ licence but receive no supervision or support!:/

That helps with the perpetual cycle of homelessness and coercion into possibly criminal activities doesn’t it?

STREET STORY: Have 2 More People Died On Our Streets?

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Heard news last night that 2 more homeless people have died last weekend. Unsure of who yet. Will be calling the police station for any info.

When we rang the past couple of times over the past few months after hearing of the deaths of other people, the senior street community police officer ‘Sergeant Siggs’ failed to call us with any info or to even just say he wouldn’t be able to share any info due to data protection, nothing. Despite expressing that we were trying to find out whether the guy who had been found was someone we knew or not, for ourselves and others living on the street. We still have no answer to whether one of the guys we knew is dead or alive 😦

We rang back after another person died 3 weeks afterwards and voiced the upset from hearing no response when we previously called and needing to make another request for info about someone else. The officer i spoke to was most apologetic and reassured me that she would ask Siggs to call back … we never had any response.

We have also heard a report that when Officer Siggs was on duty recently, in plain clothes kicked at someone asleep on the street to wake them up (the police routinely do this at around 6/7am apparently). We have heard that the officers do this instead of shaking them by their body as less intrusive!? Siggs told us they do it to encourage people to go to First Base. The police tell them that if they refuse or don’t use the services for various reasons, whatever they are, they are not considered or respected. Instead they get arrested.

The person asleep when woken apparently didn’t know him as an officer, and the fact that he was in plain clothes too, the person felt vulnerable and hit out at his leg worried that someone was starting on them. Siggs arrested them. The person was later released as CCTV footage showed that Siggs had kicked him first. No charges were applied.

People on the street are reporting back that officers, including Siggs are on a mission waking people up and telling them to move on or they will be taken into custody 😦

If anyone has any info/news on the two deaths deaths last weekend please let us know. We heard one young guy was found dead near the Brighton Wheel.

STREET STORY: All Homeless People Are A Priority (It’s The Law)

By REE MELODY

Over the past 6 months I have been working hard to help support one guy living on the street to get housed. Yesterday, 25th February, he moved into supported accommodation 🙂

The process has been long, frustrating and a complete joke in all honesty. Even one worker within the services admitted that this should have been sorted out months ago.

The bureaucratic process took all of 2 and a half months just to recognise him to be in priority need because of his health issues.

I stand strong with the belief that ALL people living on the street are in priority need and needing the basic right of a home. As the judge stated at the Supreme Court last May with regard to the vulnerability assessment process:

“All homeless people should now be compared with an ‘ordinary person who is at risk of becoming homeless”

Being homeless has a significant detrimental impact on everyone’s wellbeing, making all people vulnerable, therefore anyone who is homeless should be deemed a priority!

He was first moved into emergency accomodation last December. A small, smelly, dirty room without any bedding owned by Baron Homes. One of the workers of a homelessness service has since said they would not move a member of their own family in there. There was no support to help him with the transition after living on the street on and off for around 27 years. (he did get encouragement from his friends living on the street telling him to go indoors though!!) He was not allowed any visitors so he felt isolated and began to drink more and soon returned back to the streets.

This happened after he lost his key card and didn’t get the support he needed by his keyworker at the time to support him getting a new one. At the same time he was arrested for begging and had bail conditions which prevented easy access along the main road to his emergency room.

A couple of days later he was beaten up.

A friend took him out of town to be safe and rest up. I truly believe his life was seriously at risk as that week escalated from bad to worse because he didn’t have access to his emergency room, although that wasn’t even suitable for his needs, and he was lacking the support he very much needed at the time.

The process up to this point had taken many texts, phonecalls, visits to doctors, nurses, support centers, and the council. Along with the support to help keep appointments, filling out forms, acting as an advocate at times and putting pressure on his key worker. Their workload was apparently extremely high and they were struggling to offer him the full support which he needed. It was concerning how this team didn’t seem to be flagging up that they were struggling. It is a serious threat to vulnerable people’s wellbeing, even their lives.

He came back to town a few weeks later after much needed rest and found himself with a new keyworker and his emergency room was still available. He went to meet the landlord to get a new key card but the landlord never turned up. So understandably in his situation, he blew it out. He felt let down by the continued lack of support. He expressed that the accommodation wasn’t right for him anyway. His new keyworker with more ‘encouragement’ from myself, had a few meetings and managed to get him on the waiting list for more suitable supported accomodation which he now has. He is feeling positive about it now and it sounds like they will be able to offer him the balance of support and freedom which he needs.

There is no doubt that without my determination, drive and pressure and his willingness to work with that,fuelled by his own genuine concerns for his wellbeing, he would still be living on the street and wouldn’t be where he is now. It has flagged up how the outreach team at St. Mungo’s, although they are good people and work hard and are ‘doing their best’  are overloaded and unable to give the full support which is needed by many individuals. The council’s process of who they will see as in ‘priority’ need is inhumane and unfair and takes too much time whilst leaving vulnerable people with serious issues left vulnerable on the streets.

‪#‎NoMoreDeathsOnOurStreets‬ ‪#‎PeopleB4Profit‬ ‪#‎Right2Shelter‬

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