Homeless Inertia

This week we wrote about the quietest places we’d ever been, and thought of three sounds we could hear in those places if we listened hard enough.





The quietest place I’ve ever been is Cutteslowe Park. But if I listen hard enough, I can hear birds singing, water running and flowing, ducks quacking, and the odd dog barking.


In the quietest place I’ve ever been, I can hear birds, elephants, crocodiles kangaroos, tigers, sharks, and lions!

There are many reasons for homelessness. We are told that people, whoever they are, are only a couple of unpaid bills away from it. Some people seem to be almost destined for it, and once it happens, there is an inertia about it which makes is hard to get out of.

Without an address, a job, someone to give a good reference, a good record when it comes to employment, or without good health, how can someone get a fresh start – a clean break?

There are schemes and programmes where someone could build up enough good will to get the makings of a good reference, but is the price of keeping one’s nose clean too much, at times, and is a reference, or the promise of one, enough to keep someone on the straight and narrow; to keep them watching their p’s and q’s and taking the patronising and humiliating treatment?

Living without responsibilities I something which many would find attractive. No-one to answer to. No timetable to keep to. No-one to tell them where to be, what to do, nor how to do it.

The fact that someone may be without money more often than not does not seem to matter…we can wait for a weekly spree when pay-day comes. We can wait for days on end without money.

We can take advantage of the help available to us – at least that help which is not patronising or humiliating, that is.

Some homeless people these days dress quite fashionably – thanks to numerous clothes banks – and we can eat well enough, and even enjoy a comradery and a social life which we could never find in a hopeless job where we would be enslaved by our employers and our landlords.

Some people do make the incredible effort necessary to get off benefits and get back into ‘respectable’ society, but it doesn’t take much for them to be back on the streets. There is a revolving door…

…People sometimes are either in prison, a hospital or a hostel, on the streets (however temporarily), or in shaky accommodation and casual employment. It seems too distant a goal – a stable, happy, conventional life – to realistically aim for, and I am sure few achieve this. Most will be bobbing around the bottom of the pool indefinitely; most would be wise to just enjoy life as best they can, wherever they are, and not stick their heads above the distant parapets or the respectable mainstream, wouldn’t they?

Michael Paul







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