I’m sat here in bed at 7pm on a Friday night. Some may say this is boring, some will say how very lucky I am. Point being, most people will take this for granted. Whereas somebody less fortunate than yourself will be sleeping rough, in the cold.
I recently read that some of the homeless community in a north west city had been spat at, urinated on and had half-eaten burgers thrown at them. This disgusts me. Most people won’t even stop to give a homeless person a second thought – you wouldn’t do this if you saw somebody breaking down into tears would you? Why do people think it is acceptable to ignore those that have fallen on hard times and are sleeping rough?
After reading into this, I’ve discovered that rough sleepers are thirty five times more likely to take their own lives, after battling intense loneliness, depression and several other mental health issues. A figure which is truly heartbreaking.
You may walk by somebody who asks you for spare change and you might feel awkward saying “I’m sorry, I don’t have any.” but just by acknowledging them and speaking to them, you could make their day – instead of just walking past them, stop and say hi – you never know the impact it could have on a persons life.
Whilst on my way back to the hotel after my twenty-first birthday party, myself and a group of friends met a lovely man, who was between fifty and sixty, sleeping rough in Liverpool City Centre with his puppy. He didn’t even ask for money or anything, in fact, he didn’t even speak to us. We stopped to speak to him. The man barely spoke english, but we managed to get out of him that he was hungry and cold. Thankfully, there was a McDonalds nearby and the man wanted a burger. As soon as those words came out of his mouth, I sprinted to McDonalds and bought him burgers and lots of water for his dog. My friends also done the same, he ended up with about a weeks worth of burgers. I’d never seen anybody so happy before. It reduced me to tears that by purchasing a burgers and water for somebody, could make a person so happy. We spent around an hour and half sat with this man, stroking his dog and making people go away when they were being disrespectful towards him. It made me think, he could have been the same age as my Grandfather, or been somebody’s Grandfather – it upset me so much that he’d fallen on hard times and had to sleep rough.
This can be said for Manchester too. Each time I go to Manchester and leave the train station, on my short walk to my friends flats or into the city centre – I know who will be sat where. It’s so upsetting that in 2016, I know the location of several rough sleepers in a huge city centre. We have hundreds of empty buildings, why can’t they be used to house rough sleepers, instead of being knocked down? It really angers me that nothing is being done to help those less fortunate.
Moral of the story: even if you give a rough sleeper two minutes of your time, a pound, a cup of tea, a sandwich or donating £12 to a homeless charity (which can actually house somebody for one month) YOU can make a difference to their life. Just one simple thing. Always remember those less fortunate than yourself and think of how you would expect to be treated if you were in their position.
All the best,