Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from November, 2011

Who are the homeless? Stigma, confusion, misrepresention ...and deception?

The supplicants’ hands are outstretched as they patiently wait to be chosen by the soup run volunteers distributing food on the Strand. I stand and watch in the gloaming and see Barry amongst the crowd. My heart sinks. Thames Reach housed Barry four years earlier. ‘Whatever happened to the flat?’ I ask Barry after the opening pleasantries. Barry frowns with irritation and explains that he’s still got ‘the gaff’. I’ve plainly insulted him. ‘Well I can see the food’s good’ I continue, trying to make amends. But I’ve only succeeded in digging myself in deeper. Barry is moving from irritation to anger. ‘I don’t need the food’ he splutters, sending a shower of crumbs in my direction. We’re not homeless, we just come uptown for the crack’ (meaning conversation, not drugs). He waves his arm to indicate his circle of friends who look equally insulted at being considered ‘the homeless’. I skulk off before I find more than crumbs coming my way. Later, Barry comes to mind when I search ‘homeless…