Since I have been working back in London, I have been appalled by the number of homeless people I’ve seen. It is so much worse than twenty years ago when I first worked in the capital.
In Oxford Street there are homeless people begging every few yards. It is awful.
In Euston station the other night I had my worst experience. I was approached by a young girl, a blanket over her head, her face pale and drawn. Desperation in her eyes. She was only about the same age as my youngest son. She was like a zombie. The living dead. I stepped back. In fear maybe. Perhaps distaste. I don’t know. I had no money on me to give her and within a few moments, she moved on.
I am ashamed of myself. I keep thinking it over and over. What I might have done to help her. Maybe I should have taken her home for the night. I’ve tried to make excuses to myself that I have more than enough problems to deal with at the moment with break up of my marriage, financial worries and a crap job but it doesn’t ease the guilt. I failed another human being. And a child too.
I have decided I am going to write an article on homelessness. I have asked a friend who is a photographer to take some pictures for me and I will see if I can sell it to the papers to raise awareness. It is shameful that in a country like the U.K. people should be so poor they have to live on the streets and in the alleyways.
I have one month left in London. In that time I intended to interview some homeless people and let them speak for themselves. Use my writing ability to do some good. Hopefully.
Since the breakup of my marriage, my constant worry has been not knowing if I can keep my children’s home. And I know, at the very best, I am only a few months away from losing it. There are more living expenses to pay than just a mortgage. Something my husband hasn't seem to have had a grip on for many years.
And so I know what the threat of losing your home feels like but, ultimately I could down-size my house and the boys and I could squeeze into a much smaller property. It would be tough and yet another kick in the teeth but at least I'd still have a home. Others have lost their homes. They have no place to go for warmth and shelter except shop doorways and rubbish strewn gutters.
It breaks my heart.
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