Monday, 29 June 2009

Rich, Famous and Homeless

Did any others watch this BBC documentary last week? I found it very interesting on a bunch of levels. I’m very lucky that I’ve never been homeless, so whatever I say is always from a very ignorant point of view but this programme did teach me some things.

Basically trying to fix stuff for those on the street isn’t the easy solution. There was a fantastic bust up between John Bird (inventor of the Big Issue, who was himself homeless for some time) and a couple of the rich and famous when he was unhappy that they had “wasted” effort trying to help them rather than learning from the homeless buddy they had been assigned. I have to say really John had blown it by not laying down strong guidelines and also it was almost bound to happen that these people faced with a real person 24 hours a day that they would suddenly think that the best thing they could do would be to solve that persons problem there and then and take it on as their own personal battle.

But really the thing I think I learnt is that the problem is before people get on the streets. There needs to be better intervention, support etc. then before that happens. I don’t know what but once on the streets it’s a long way back up. Also all those people we rush past in our city subways, doorways and bus shelters are all people with a story and in a situation that isn’t necessarily of all their making. More than one of the people on the streets had tales of abuse in their childhood that hadn't been dealt with by the system or their families.

I have so much and take so much for granted – it was another one of those moments where real gratitude for what I have in life was drummed into my thick skull. Family. Love. Warmth. A dry bed. A roof over my head. Money. Food a plenty.

It was a powerful couple of programmes which I’d recommend anyone to watch.


  1. It's moments like that that make us grateful for the doldrums of everyday life.

    My dad always said if you attended a "pity party" and everyone put their problems into the center of the room, you would be sure to grab your own back right quick and leave.

  2. yeah watched it. I must say I'm always a little cynical about these sort of progs these days, and wonder how much of the 'arguments' are for real - some look so conveniently stage managed. But this outburst looked the real-deal.

    Its human nature to want to try and help someone. I don't think you can blame any of them for trying to do that, they were following their instinct.

    But john has been there, and can view it from a different angle.

    It seemed to affect those who took part, but you do wonder for how long? once tucked up in their beds with all their luxuries, will they give it a second thought?


  3. I didn't see this, maybe subconsciously I chose not to..I work with the homeless and yes, anyone can end up in this situation. In many ways it's shocing that we still have this problem in such wealth laden countries..never seems right to me. It also angers me that there are so many buildings around the UK that are left empty and disused when in fact, they could be used for a roof over people's heads. I'm glad that you gained something from this programme Furtheron - you are a man who speaks from the heart and with much empathy..

  4. It didn't seem to have much of an effect on Jamie Blandford.

  5. Yes there is a word to describe him... starts with a c ends with a t.