Homelessness is on the rise whether it be from housing shortages, evictions from bedroom tax, over crowding and any other number of social reasons, domestic abuse, substance abuse…..The only difference between me and that homeless person is a roof nothing more and nothing less.
With the gentrification of London and the continuous “Cleansing” of newly developed areas such as King Cross St Pancreas, Stratford and Soho the vulnerable people of the street are becoming invisible. This is taking place in very subtle ways. Westminster tried to make it illegal to feed homeless people and get rid of soup kitchens. But there was such an outcry that they did a U turn. However under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill it can be illegal to be homeless. Creating Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) these can be used by councils for actions including banning spitting, banning homeless or young people from parks, banning begging or rough sleeping and banning smoking in outdoor public places. This is such a broad remit it is obviously going to be open for wide spread abuse.
Then there is the sleeping spots. A couple of years ago we started seeing the appearance of partitions on public benches. No longer where we able to draw down our hat in the mid day sun and rest our weary feet and soak up the sun and rest our souls, reading our books, or finishing off the crossword because some poor unfortunate soul may have the misfortune to have to make this bench their bed. I heard the out cry but nothing was done and now we never see a homeless person in our parks. Saving some the horrible and inconvenient truth of having to explain to their young that there are homeless people.
Things now seem to have taken an even more sinister turn and the use of spikes seem to have come into play, under passes, door wells and any place a weary person may take shelter and rest.
No more cosy spots were the air vents from the shops keep you warm or the overhang keeps the rain of your sleeping bag. So the appearance of these spikes are the next stage of the cleansing of our city of homelessness.
So what shall we do ?
Rapid cements come in various types and you can get it from any builders merchants and can set in times ranging from as little as 30 minutes to an hour.
Go and check out the area that has been laid with studs, the studs being used in door ways are usually about an inch deep. You need to take a rough estimate of the square metre of the area.
Once you have an idea of the size go buy some Rapid cement. The sales assistant at any builders merchants will help you calculate the amount needed for the coverage.
Purchase a piece of 2 by 2 the length of the area and attach some plastic along the stick. This will be needed to block the run of the cement out of the spiked area and the plastic will be under the pour therefore holding it in place. ( you may have to hold it in place initially)
Rapid cement can be mixed up away from the area and all you need to do is check out the setting time for the product you are using so you allow yourself time from mixing to getting to the spot and pouring.
Drive up. Wearing high vis jackets I would suggest at night or very early in the morning. Lay down baton along the spiked area creating a well. Pour the Rapid set cement over the spikes.
Take a photo of the process and post on every social networking site possible.
It has also been suggested that expanding foam be used as it is quick and insulates but I feel this would be all to easy to remove
This is no way to tackle our homeless problems in the 21st century.
Or maybe we need to take a leaf out of Utah’s books and give every homeless person a place to live.