Mother & Son Live On A Bench In Tooting

Victory

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#1
(I missed this news article a while back.)

A Somalian mother and son actually live on a bench in Tooting, an inner suburb of London.

They have rejected all offers of a furnished flat from the local council, and rejected all attempts from local charities and the local Somalian community to convince them to move to proper housing.

I guess they both have mental health issues?

Two long articles:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-50211901

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4876282/Somalian-mother-son-chosen-live-bench.html

442FB36000000578-4876282-image-a-33_1505229904588.jpg
 
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#3
That will all change when the wind and the rains start hitting them, i hope they decide to change their minds and decide to go somewhere warm, cosy and dry
They may have to be sectioned if they suffer from mental health issues. During really bad weather a couple of years ago that was necessary in Dublin when some rough sleepers refused to go into shelters. They were literally living in a hole in the wall and in the open, they wouldn't have survived the sub-zero temperatures and the snow.
 

Swifty

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#7
How the heck have they survived? They are one hell of a hardy couple then, but i still hate to think they are out there, i want them to be safe and warm
We had someone do this in front of The Red Lion hotel one night, a homeless man who'd decided to sleep on the cliff side bench in extremely cold and hostile conditions. Looking back on it, I should have phoned the police. He was adamant that he was waiting for his mate who was coming back to this meeting place.

I was the night porter there, all the other staff and customers had gone home and I had some tomato soup so I did him one in a paper cup but his hands were shaking too much so I got a plastic lid and a straw and had to help him hold it. I would have probably been fired if I'd brought him inside for the night and then I would have been homeless as well because I lived there. I was half expecting him to be dead the next morning so I set my alarm an hour early and did the same thing with a cup of tea and he was still alive the daft bastard! .. hopefully that soup helped his body temperature a bit.
 

maximus otter

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#8
A Somalian mother and son actually live on a bench in Tooting, an inner suburb of London.

They have rejected all offers of a furnished flat from the local council...
This compels one to ask the question: lf Somalis are being offered furnished flats on the parish, why are there homeless English people? lf said English people, too, have received the same overtures from the authorities, but have apparently rejected them like these two, why are we required to feel sorry for their state of homelessness?

(Genuine, not intentionally provocative, question).

maximus otter
 
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PeteS

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#11
We had someone do this in front of The Red Lion hotel one night, a homeless man who'd decided to sleep on the cliff side bench in extremely cold and hostile conditions. Looking back on it, I should have phoned the police. He was adamant that he was waiting for his mate who was coming back to this meeting place.

I was the night porter there, all the other staff and customers had gone home and I had some tomato soup so I did him one in a paper cup but his hands were shaking too much so I got a plastic lid and a straw and had to help him hold it. I would have probably been fired if I'd brought him inside for the night and then I would have been homeless as well because I lived there. I was half expecting him to be dead the next morning so I set my alarm an hour early and did the same thing with a cup of tea and he was still alive the daft bastard! .. hopefully that soup helped his body temperature a bit.
Bless you Swifty.
 

Yithian

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#13
Being homeless long-term tends to lead to the kind of mindset that even if it is not clinically classified as psychosis is practically the same thing. From my limited experience, there are often extreme levels of suspicion and conservativeness of thought. This is not a criticism; when one is on the bottom rung of society, one's preoccupation is not to climb higher but to ensure that one doesn't fall off into madness and death. The safest way to achieve that is to trust very little and assume that all change is for the worst and people are likely to be acting with selfish motives. Such a view can only be reinforced by broken promises and the kind of dramatic reversals of fate that can be seen on the streets. This doesn't make the long-term homeless morally bad, I stress, just prudent given the precariousness of their position.

It's not universal, but if it turned out to be the case here, I should not be surprised.
 

PeteS

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#14
How the heck have they survived? They are one hell of a hardy couple then, but i still hate to think they are out there, i want them to be safe and warm
A couple of homeless people died during freezing weather last winter in the North West in plain sight of passers by. Just awful. The problem we have up here is that there are professional scammers around pretending to be needy but just blagging money off people. It is a predicament.
If it had not been for a series of unfortunate events, it could easily have been me living on that bench or it's equivalent. Shudder.
 

PeteS

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#15
Being homeless long-term tends to lead to the kind of mindset that even if it is not clinically classified as psychosis is practically the same thing. From my limited experience, there are often extreme levels of suspicion and conservativeness of thought. This is not a criticism; when one is on the bottom rung of society, one's preoccupation is not to climb higher but to ensure that one doesn't fall off into madness and death. The safest way to achieve that is to trust very little and assume that all change is for the worst and people are likely to be acting with selfish motives. Such a view can only be re-inforced by broken promises and the kind of dramatic reversals of fate that can be seen on the streets. This doesn't make the long-term homeless morally bad, I stress, just prudent given the precariousness of their position.

It's not universal, but if it turned out to be the case here, I should not be surprised.
I think there you have, in a nutshell, the reasons why some people endure long periods of their life on the streets. So so sad.
 

PeteS

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#18
I wonder if the indignity of falling into rent arrears in the first place may have triggered a determination to never let it happen again? If they don't have a home, then it definitely won't happen again. Problem solved, right?
That's an insightful bit of lateral thinking MB. There must be a whole host of reasons why people end up on the street.
 

hunck

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#19
This compels one to ask the question: lf Somalis are being offered furnished flats on the parish, why are there homeless English people? lf said English people, too, have received the same overtures from the authorities, but have apparently rejected them like these two, why are we required to feel sorry for their state of homelessness?

(Genuine, not intentionally provocative, question).

maximus otter
I think you probably know the answer - not enough suitable accommodation available. Many [most?] councils have large waiting lists & some prioritisation has to be made. Whether these two have in fact been offered a flat & turned it down, who knows? If so, as has been said, they may well have mental health issues.

I think it's fairly safe to say that not every homeless English person has been offered a flat but would rather remain homeless. However, you are of course at liberty to continue not feeling sorry for them if that's your choice.
 

Victory

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#20
My experience of the homeless is that there are two general categories.
There are those who sleep rough, and those who couch surf, drop in at hostels, live in temporary accommodation etc.

As to why there are homeless English people, a number of rough sleepers have mental health issues which lead them to the streets, where these are exacerbated by drink n drugs.
I knew a homeless English man, he spent 10 years rough sleeping mixed with a bit of couch surfing.
Ex-squaddie, physically fit and well capable of working, he did odd jobs for cash.
But psychologically he could not handle the idea of managing his own property, the bills, and the paperwork etc.
For him far simpler to just live week-to-week, with a bit of cash and little stove and a sleeping bag etc.

That is why there are homeless English people.

Somalians usually came here as refugees during their war in the 1990s, there were only a handful in London before that, just a few from about 100 years ago when they were in the merchant navy (and in Cardiff too).

Now that Somalia is more stable, some might go back but the kids were born in the UK and might never have set foot in Somalia, or more usually the self declared independent country of Somaliland which is where many of the UK based Somalians are from.
It might seem strange that they live in London, but then again, Somaliland was a British protectorate for 76 years, so it is no stranger than the Anglo-Nigerians or Ghanaians who live in London.
 
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James_H

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#21
I read that some jews who moved to London in the 19th century fleeing the pogroms wore all their clothes at the same time and never took them off again, because of their experience of having to flee at a moment's notice probably mixed with what we would now call PTSD. Somalia/Somaliland are not the most peaceful of places -- perhaps these people had some experiences that set something off in their brain, and now they don't want to leave their possessions out of sight.
 

michael59

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#22
We had someone do this in front of The Red Lion hotel one night, a homeless man who'd decided to sleep on the cliff side bench in extremely cold and hostile conditions. Looking back on it, I should have phoned the police. He was adamant that he was waiting for his mate who was coming back to this meeting place.

I was the night porter there, all the other staff and customers had gone home and I had some tomato soup so I did him one in a paper cup but his hands were shaking too much so I got a plastic lid and a straw and had to help him hold it. I would have probably been fired if I'd brought him inside for the night and then I would have been homeless as well because I lived there. I was half expecting him to be dead the next morning so I set my alarm an hour early and did the same thing with a cup of tea and he was still alive the daft bastard! .. hopefully that soup helped his body temperature a bit.
You have such a kind heart, Swifty. :airk: You're also hilarious at times. I wish I had people like you in my life.
 

IbisNibs

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#24
I wonder if the indignity of falling into rent arrears in the first place may have triggered a determination to never let it happen again? If they don't have a home, then it definitely won't happen again. Problem solved, right?
Not just the indignity, but the trauma of losing your home plus maybe most possessions, on top of whatever crisis led to getting behind in the rent in the first place. In Chicago, there is a program to help people avoid homelessness to begin with, by assisting them with rent money. If you live paycheck to paycheck, being between jobs is an immediate financial crisis that can cost people their housing in just three months.
https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/city/depts/fss/supp_info/Homeless/RentalAssistanceInfo082216.pdf
 

Min Bannister

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#25
Not just the indignity, but the trauma of losing your home plus maybe most possessions, on top of whatever crisis led to getting behind in the rent in the first place. In Chicago, there is a program to help people avoid homelessness to begin with, by assisting them with rent money. If you live paycheck to paycheck, being between jobs is an immediate financial crisis that can cost people their housing in just three months.
https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/city/depts/fss/supp_info/Homeless/RentalAssistanceInfo082216.pdf
Yes indeed although they need not have been homeless as they had accomodation to go to that day albeit temporary.
 

PeteS

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#26
Not just the indignity, but the trauma of losing your home plus maybe most possessions, on top of whatever crisis led to getting behind in the rent in the first place. In Chicago, there is a program to help people avoid homelessness to begin with, by assisting them with rent money. If you live paycheck to paycheck, being between jobs is an immediate financial crisis that can cost people their housing in just three months.
https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/city/depts/fss/supp_info/Homeless/RentalAssistanceInfo082216.pdf
This can happen to many people as well. A mate who was always generous with his time, money and help for other people, suddenly lost his business, and then his home and his partner and children. He had no money and could easily have ended up on the street. Fortunately I was at the time able to offer him free accommodation and such for a couple of years while he got back on his feet, because I knew without doubt he would have done the same for me. For those who have no one to turn to, it must be their worst nightmare.
 

onetwothree

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#27
This can happen to many people as well. A mate who was always generous with his time, money and help for other people, suddenly lost his business, and then his home and his partner and children. He had no money and could easily have ended up on the street. Fortunately I was at the time able to offer him free accommodation and such for a couple of years while he got back on his feet, because I knew without doubt he would have done the same for me. For those who have no one to turn to, it must be their worst nightmare.
A bit of kindness goes a long way in situations like this. I'm pleased your mate had you to help him out.
 

PeteS

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#28
This thread brought to mind something from last year. I was sat in A&E at the local hospital with someone awaiting treatment. ( 4 hour target - what a joke). The place was packed. A couple came in who were probably in their 40's but looked 20 years older. Him being pushed in a wheelchair, and her wearing no shoes despite the freezing weather. Horrible old clothes and bags of possessions, weather beaten and had that worn down skeletal look of drink/drug users. People turned away from them. They were very quiet and whispered to each other. A young mother came in with a screaming baby and sat near them. The lady got up and gently stroked the baby's hand which quietened it for a bit. I heard her say to the mother "I looked like that you know a long time ago". How we judge....
 

onetwothree

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#29
This thread brought to mind something from last year. I was sat in A&E at the local hospital with someone awaiting treatment. ( 4 hour target - what a joke). The place was packed. A couple came in who were probably in their 40's but looked 20 years older. Him being pushed in a wheelchair, and her wearing no shoes despite the freezing weather. Horrible old clothes and bags of possessions, weather beaten and had that worn down skeletal look of drink/drug users. People turned away from them. They were very quiet and whispered to each other. A young mother came in with a screaming baby and sat near them. The lady got up and gently stroked the baby's hand which quietened it for a bit. I heard her say to the mother "I looked like that you know a long time ago". How we judge....
And we fucking well shouldn't judge; it makes me really, really angry.
 

Swifty

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#30
This thread brought to mind something from last year. I was sat in A&E at the local hospital with someone awaiting treatment. ( 4 hour target - what a joke). The place was packed. A couple came in who were probably in their 40's but looked 20 years older. Him being pushed in a wheelchair, and her wearing no shoes despite the freezing weather. Horrible old clothes and bags of possessions, weather beaten and had that worn down skeletal look of drink/drug users. People turned away from them. They were very quiet and whispered to each other. A young mother came in with a screaming baby and sat near them. The lady got up and gently stroked the baby's hand which quietened it for a bit. I heard her say to the mother "I looked like that you know a long time ago". How we judge....
You should be working for the NHS.
 
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