NEWSFLASH – PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS NOW

It has came to our attention that Rough Sleepers are currently being attacked in Central London by a gang of three men on a nightly basis.

We urgently appeal that this information is spread far and wide to those associated with our streets in London.

There have been at least 10 attacks that we are aware of in the last week. In all attacks the rough sleepers were alone and asleep at the time. The severe beatings have lasted a few minutes and the peoples meagre personal possessions: Phones, ID, passports and belongings have also been stolen. Due to the nature of people having to find sleeping spots off the beaten track there have been few witnesses.

The ‘gang’ consists of three white men in their late 20’s – early thirties and appear to be targeting mainly East European homeless Folk. This is significant as the attackers may be aware that those new to the country are less likely to get the authorities involved due to justified mistrust.

Violence sadly is part and parcel of the real everyday risks that exist for those who find themselves homeless. This current organised escalation in violence is a very worrying trend and we need to make our homeless community aware and do whatever we can to prevent these attacks. On one night alone we know of 3 separate attacks carried out by this gang.

For any further information please contact: beatonthestreet@gmail.com

Thank you for all your support.

Don’t forget to follow us on our social media websites

Twitter https://twitter.com/ukhomelessness
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UKHomelessness

All blogs, social media are from myself Johnny Lynch and the views are my own..

Johnny Lynch

Food Bank Britain: Nearly half a MILLION people relying on charity to eat

It is a disgrace that so many rely on emergency food parcels in the seventh richest country in the world and that we need charities such as the ‘Crisis’ and ‘Shelter’ in the 21st century.

FOOD

Rising living costs and the government’s welfare reforms have pushed thousands more households into poverty and hardship.

Nearly half a million people in the UK are now relying on food banks, leading charities claim yesterday..

A new report says rising living costs and the government’s welfare reforms have pushed thousands more households into poverty and hardship.

The study by Church Action Poverty and Oxfam calls for a Parliamentary inquiry into how the Government’s cuts, the increased use of sanctions and benefit error have driven up the number of “hidden hungry.”

Recent figures from the Trussell Trust, the biggest provider of food banks in the country, said the number of people using its services had leapt from 40,000 in 2009/10 to more than 350,000 in 2012/13.

In their report, Walking the Breadline, Oxfam and Church Action Poverty say the true number of hungry people could be as high as 500,000 because the problem is not being monitored properly.

They say the surge has been mainly caused by changes to the benefit system such as the toughening of crisis loan eligibility rules, delays in payments, Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions and sickness benefit reassessments.

Oxfam boss Mark Goldring said: “The shocking reality is that hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are turning to food aid.

“Cuts to social safety-nets have gone too far, leading to destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale. It is unacceptable that this is happening in the seventh wealthiest nation on the planet.”

Niall Cooper of Church Action on Poverty added: “The safety net that was there to protect people is being eroded to such an extent that we are seeing a rise in hunger.

“Food banks are not designed to, and should not, replace the ‘normal’ safety net provided by the state in the form of welfare support.”

Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh MP said: “The UK is the seventh richest country in the world yet we face a growing epidemic of hidden hunger with people increasingly unable to meet their family’s basic needs.

“These shocking figures show the extent of poverty in the UK with half a million people now relying on emergency food parcels for help.

“This incompetent government needs to wake up to the human cost of their failed economic policies and change course now.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: “The benefits system supports millions of people who are on low incomes or unemployed so no-one has to struggle to meet their basic needs, and the vast majority of benefits are processed on time every day.

“We welcome the contribution voluntary organisations and foodbanks, including the Trussell Trust, play in supporting local communities, beyond the safety net provided by Government.

“That is why Jobcentre Plus – for the first time – is now referring people to their services.

“Our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities, with the Universal Credit simplifying the complex myriad of benefits and making three million households better off.”

Brighton shows its forward thinking again as homeless are to be contained.

A plan to house Brighton’s homeless in reconditioned shipping containers has been given the green light.

Living container

Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) has secured planning permission to install 36 units on the site of a former scrapyard at Richardson’s Yard on London Road.

The unique homes will provide temporary accommodation for the city’s homeless. BHT believes that up to a 100 people sleep rough on Brighton’s streets every night.

The units are to be shipped over from Holland, where they were designed and built. They were originally earmarked for an Amsterdam social housing project that fell through because of funding issues.

Officers from Brighton and Hove’s Planning Committee who recommended approval said that the containers were an “imaginative and appropriate way to meet a very real need for affordable accommodation”.

BHT’s chief executive, Andy Winter, said: “Shipping containers are relatively cheap to provide and maintain. They are built to withstand ocean waves so they will last a long time.

“They’re airtight and the windows are double-glazed so heating bills are much lower than they would be in some traditional buildings.”

Epileptic boy evicted by Hackney Homes – despite pleas from medical staff – is fighting for his life in hospital

Epeletic boy
George Hawkins, 16, who suffers from degenerative epileptic condition Dravet Syndrome, began having unusual seizure activity and spasms last Saturday, but stopped breathing and turned blue after taking a dose of Midazalam, an emergency medication to stop seizures, the following night.

He has spent the last few days on a ventilator in the Royal London Hospital, and doctors are trying out various strong drugs to control his fits – which have still not worked to bring them under control.

Bureaucratic rules meant Ms Hawkins and her three children were told to leave the council home her parents had inhabited for the last 40 years in Morton Close, Upper Clapton, after her father’s death two years ago.

Hackney Homes’ rules do not allow her to take over her father’s tenancy.

The arms-length housing management organisation has apologised and is now reviewing what went wrong.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to George and his family.Epileptic boy evicted by Hackney Homes – despite pleas from medical staff – is fighting for his life in hospital

Bedroom tax ‘could make thousands of poor people homeless’

Image

20130527-122120.jpg

Tens of thousands of the poorest people in Britain risk being made homeless because of the bedroom tax, according to an analysis of councils’ assessments of the welfare cut.

From last month, housing benefit has been reduced to council or housing association tenants who ministers claim have more bedrooms than they need.

Data from 107 local authorities shows 86,000 households have been forced to look for one-bedroom homes, of which only 33,000 have become available in the past year.

The figures mask considerable regional variation. In Essex, 100 social housing tenants in Rochford were deemed to require a one-bedroom property because of the benefit changes but only five had become vacant the previous year. In Gloucester the council said 111 one-bed homes had been available last year, but almost 500 households needed them because of the bedroom tax.

Inverclyde in Scotland said 1,100 households would need to move into one-bedroom homes – of which just 96 had been free to rent last year.

Any tenants “under-occupying” their properties will lose 14% of housing benefit – an average of £9.25, according to the analysis – until they move into a one-bedroom home. The government’s impact assessment last summer warned that 35% of claimants affected “would be quite or very likely to fall into arrears if their housing benefit were to be reduced”.

False Economy, the trade union-backed campaign that used freedom of information requests to get the data, said it had chosen to focus on one-bed properties as ministers had been forced to acknowledge last year that there was a “shortage” of such homes but pressed on regardless with the policy.

A spokesman for False Economy said: “The disparity between the demand for one-bed housing and a whole year’s worth of supply is so severe that there is little hope of plugging the shortfall.” Without new homes being built, “tens of thousands are now facing a crisis”.

A study by the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, warned ministers that families unable to get a one-bedroom social home all moving to the private rented sector could increase benefit claims by £143m a year – despite government claims the policy will save money.

David Orr, chief executive of the federation, said: “For some the only option is to move into homes for private rent, which in many parts of the country are much higher than social rents, so the government won’t make the savings it hopes.

“The bedroom tax is an ill-thought-through and unfair policy that will cause distress for hundreds of thousands of people forced to move from homes and communities in which they have lived for years. It must be scrapped now.”

Homeless charities also called for the policy to be abandoned. Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said: “Without enough one-bedroom homes to move into, tens of thousands are powerless to avoid the anxiety, debt and arrears caused by the bedroom tax. Our fear is that many, through no fault of their own, will in the end become homeless as a direct result of government policy. Ministers must accept these facts and rethink the bedroom tax now.”

Labour described the policy as the “worst combination of cruelty and incompetence”. Liam Byrne, the party’s spokesman on welfare, said the bedroom tax was a “mess”. “Thousands of vulnerable households are trapped by this hated tax with no option to move, and if tenants are forced to go homeless or move into the expensive private accommodation the tax payer will be left to pick up the tab.”

The government said those losing out could make up the shortfall by moving “into employment, working more hours, or taking in a lodger”. A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Not all people affected by the changes to the spare room subsidy will need to move – it is wrong to suggest that all those impacted will have to downsize.”

Mulit award winner director Lucy Walker. @lucywalkerfilm


A film maker who reports and documents the stories of true life events told passionately and genuinely. Her films cover some of the most tragic history of our planet and human strories but in her films is a message of hope through struggle. She is an inspiration to me, film makers and people around the world as are the real people equally inspiring that Director Lucy Walker is compelled to share and tell the us the viewer about.

This is an Interview with Director Lucy Walker on the experience of documentary filmmaking and advice for young documentarians at the 2010 Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival. Walker is the award winning director of such films as BLINDSIGHT and DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND. Her new film WASTE LAND chronicles the journey of famed art photographer Vic Muniz as he attempts to transform everyday garbage into high art in Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest garbage dump, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The film also serves as a thoughtful portrait of the inhabitants of Jardim Gramacho, who work in the dump recycling materials within it by hand.

WASTE LAND has won over 25 awards and honors and has just been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Lucy grew up in London, England, and graduated from Oxford University before winning a Fulbright scholarship to attend the Graduate Film Program at NYU

Johnny Lynch

You can see more of Lucy Walker here by clicking the link
http://www.lucywalkerfilm.com

Police swoop on the homeless taking sleeping bags and food parcels in co-ordinated raids in Redbridge

Image

Police swoop on the homeless taking sleeping bags and food parcels in co-ordinated raids in Redbridge

Am on my way to Derby with an investor for this film before driving to London to meet up with some of the supporters of the project but I just had to post this after Jason Newell someone who as done so much for the marketing of our Homelessness film and who sent me the details of something so shocking which am sad to report but I’ve just had to and like me am sure this will stun you.

There is a school of thought in politics that the best way of stopping people doing something is to make doing it as unpleasant as possible. If smokers have to stand in the rain to have a quick fag, they’re more likely to quit; if signing on is about as pleasant as having a molar pulled out with some pliers, you’re less likely to claim benefits; and so on.

The reason we mention this is because, over in Redbridge, the local police have decided to apply this philosophy to homelessness.

A shocking story in this week’s Ilford Recorder tells of police swooping in on a group of men sleeping rough, and confiscating what few material possessions they had.

“They were just taking the sleeping bags and chucking out everything,” the paper quotes one of the men, Adam Jaskowiak, as saying. “I asked to keep it and the food, but they said no.”

The food parcels, incidentally, had been donated by the public.

The intention seems to have been to move them on, though where to is not exactly clear (some other police force’s patch, we suppose). After all, as Rita Chadha, chief executive of the local Refugee and Migrant Forum, told the paper, “There’s no logic in this. It’s not as though if they take someone’s sleeping bag they will automatically walk into a house.”

For what it’s worth, the local chief inspector John Fish claims the policy was intended to “reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers. This includes the need for us to assist in the removal of temporary structures, tents, and bedding from public spaces and other inappropriate locations.”

Because obviously, these men were just having a laugh being homeless. Now the police have made sure it isn’t fun any more they’ll go off and buy a nice semi, and eat in restaurants like normal people.

You can read the Ilford Recorder’s full story by clicking on the HOTSPOT NEWS image

Time 14:22
Updated with reaction from Leslie Morphy from the Homeless Charity ‘Crisis’ below

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said the number of people sleeping on the streets in London had increased since 2008. “Due to the pressures of the economic downturn and cuts, particularly to housing benefit, rough sleeping in London has risen by 43%. Almost 6,000 people slept on the streets of the capital at some point last year,” she said.

“Though we don’t know all the details of what happened in Ilford, it is hard to see how removing food and sleeping bags from rough sleepers is going to help anyone. What homeless people really need is access to services and support to help them break the cycle of homelessness – something all the more vital at a time of rising homelessness.”

Amy Winehouse Homeless Foundation raises £1.9m

Image

20130525-030800.jpg

The Amy Winehouse Foundation has raised nearly £1.9 million in a year.

I was first introduced to Amy, when I worked on the prison drama ‘Screwed’ in Scarborough in 2011 written by Ronnie Thompson and Colin Butts when I worked closely with director Reg Traviss for the 5 weeks on the film while we was dating the singer until the time of her tragic death.

The charity – which was set up in September 2011 to support homeless young people and individuals with substance abuse issues following the singer’s untimely death aged 27 in July 2011 – has raised more than £700,000 from Amy’s father Mitch Winehouse’s book about the ‘Rehab’ hitmaker, ‘Amy, My Daughter’.

Sales of Amy’s posthumous album, ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’, have also topped £700,000 and a ball held in her name generated £103,000 for the cause.

The late star’s family have been able to use £340,000 to help disadvantaged youngsters, including £20,000 to help people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and £38,000 has gone to homeless charity Centrepoint.

The foundation has also funded scholarships to London’s Sylvia Young Theatre School, a stage school Amy attended until she was 15 years old.
Amy’s old home in Camden Town, north London, is currently housing around 60 young homeless people, who are given a hot meal each day, and a road nearby looks set to be named after her.

Mitch recently called on Beyonce to donate to The Amy Winehouse Foundation after he appeared far from impressed with the singing sensation teaming up with Andre 3000 on a cover of the late star’s hit ‘Back to Black’ for new movie ‘The Great Gatsby’.
Last month, he wrote on Twitter: ”First I have heard about Beyonce and Back to Black. Sounds like some of you don’t like the idea.

”I don’t know this but what if Beyonce gave £100,000 to foundation. Do you know how many kids that would help? Just putting it out there!
”Let me repeat. This is the first I have heard of Beyonce doing Amys song.

3 nights on the streets of London

Image

20130523-042403.jpg

So those of you that have read this blog from the start will know that I recently spent a night on the streets of London (see the research page for the write up) with the homeless trying to get a view from of what its really like. Well what did I learn?

Well if am honest it occurred to me that I was in fact trying a little to hard to interview and extract information from those homelsss for the purpose of the film rather than actually doing what I had said I was going to do and that was be homeless. So with that in mind I am setting a date in the next few days to the same thing again but need the help of a couple of people. This time I will be on the streets of London for 3 nights with all that i stand up in, with no cash, no phone and just my wits. What am looking for is for 2 people to follow this story and document my journey with cameras that I will provide as would like to use the footage when the film is released.

Let me know if you are interested and to everyone I look forward to telling you more along with the intended dates once I have the people I can trust to do this with me. Thanks Johnny Lynch.

I’ve been invited to see a honest hard hitting drama on Homelessness

Image

The HARD-HITTING view of homelessness is presented in a play at Hull Truck Theatre on Saturday 8th June 2013.

An Unquiet Mind, is described by its Hull author David Pattison as “bloody heartbreaking” and according to reviewer Jerome Whittingham it will “startle and challenge audiences”.

The main character of the play, Topshop, is ex-armed forces and a rough-sleeper. It is estimated that up to 25% of rough sleepers may be ex-service personnel.

Jerome Whittingham photographer, writer, campaigner on homelessness issues tells us about the play – hopefully it will prompt people not only to to see the production, but as Jerome suggests below, into wider social action on the issues raised!

If you would like to come with me then let me know,

20130523-040141.jpg