Socialist Worker

Kicking the homeless

SOCIALIST WORKER spoke to some of London's homeless this week after the outburst from New Labour's 'homelessness tsar', Louise Casey.

Issue No. 1673

'I WAS a gardener for Greenwich council for 12 years. But I had a nervous breakdown and took redundancy. My redundancy went on the mortgage until it ran out. Then I just lost everything. They repossessed my home. My girlfriend left me. Everything went down the drain. I stayed with my parents for a while but it didn't work out. I've been homeless on and off for four years now. They attack us for taking drugs. I take drugs sometimes because it blocks it all out. Everything just gets too much.'
TONY, Big Issue seller, Charing Cross station

'IT IS just rubbish what that woman said, unbelievable rubbish. I've been homeless for about a year and a half now. I'm 25 years old. I use to work in a nursing home in Wales. I split up with my boyfriend. It was his flat. I didn't know what to do so I came to stay with a mate in north London. But when she had a baby there wasn't any room for me. I didn't know anybody or have anywhere to go. I ended up down here. It is terrible, just terrible.'
JACKIE, near Leicester Square

'I CAME out of the army after five years and just couldn't get a job. My wife kicked me out because I couldn't offer her any security. I'd got nowhere to go. I ended up in a hostel in Dean Street, and then here. I come from a Labour background, but these people are just rubbish. We don't want more hostels. They're like being in prison. They should be building new permanent houses for people.'
TONY, near Leicester Square

'IT IS absolutely evil the way they treat people in this country. I see old people in doorways at night time, people on crutches who are on the streets. And people like Casey want to make you feel bad about getting a cup of soup. It all started for me in 1980 with the big bang. I lost my house, my car, my job. I was a theatre nurse in a hospital. Once you've fallen down, it's so difficult to get back up. I've been a security guard and a production line assistant. I even had a job in a meat factory and a little flat for a while. But after I'd paid for everything I was left with £9 a week. It's supposed to be a Labour government. But now they've just given an excuse to everyone who wants to have a go at the homeless. Not even the Tories would have said that.'
SIMON, The Strand


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News
Sat 20 Nov 1999, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1673
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