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HOMELESSNESS & ex Servicemen

#1
http://www.soldiermagazine.co.uk/mag/feature2.htm

From this Months Soldier Magazine

Meet Richard Cousins: The 40 year-old former sapper was medically discharged following a decade of Army service and has lived on London’s streets for almost three years.

“I was very sad when I left the Army,” he said. “It was like leaving my brothers and I felt as if I had let them down. “I started working on the funfair, then I tried studying for a degree, but failed. I hit the bottle big-time and had a nervous breakdown. I have a son, but the missus does not want me around. “I have chosen to remain on the streets but I sometimes go to the St Martin’s night shelter.”

STREET SOLDIERS

In a unique collection of portraits, former 3 Para photographer Stuart Griffiths provides an intimate insight into the lives of the Servicemen who have nowhere to call home

Report: Andrea Webb Pictures: Stuart Griffiths

INSPIRED by his own personal experience of homelessness in London after leaving the Army, photo-journalist and ex-Para Stuart Griffiths uses the power of his lens to expose the harsh reality of the ex-Forces personnel who end up on the streets despite serving Queen and country.

Stuart, now a successful snapper with the Sunday Mirror, returned to New Belvedere House, the ex-Forces homeless hostel where he was once a resident, to shed light on the plight of those left behind.

“I find it really disturbing that this can happen to ex-soldiers,” said Stuart. “But I’ve been there and understand how easy it is to end up on the streets.

Asa Barnes, was photographed in Soho, February 2004. Asa joined the Grenadier Guards in 1992 but was kicked out for violence. He has been in prison four times and ended up homeless after splitting up with his long-term girlfriend. James Nicholls,

“The Army really looks after you. You get fed, clothed, accommodated and are told what to do. When you get out, all that security disappears and you realise just how vulnerable you are.

“Many turn to drink, drugs and gambling, anything to help get them through the day. Thankfully I had my photography to keep me sane and give me a purpose.”

Stuart’s interest in photography began when he was based in Northern Ireland with the 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment.

“I made friends with the battalion photographer and he taught me a lot,” he said. “When he left, I was sent on a four-week photography course at RAF Cosford and became the next unit photographer.”

Michael Harris, was photographed in east London, February 2004. He served with the Royal Artillery for five years. After leaving the Army he worked in various jobs from security to construction before going travelling. He returned to London with little money and couldn’t get anywhere to live through the council. The Royal British Legion put him in touch with New Belvedere House, where he was offered a room. His only other option was the streets.

After five years’ service, Stuart left the Army to pursue a civilian career in photography. A difficult period followed – he travelled constantly but couldn’t settle – and the sudden death of a loved one sent him tumbling into depression.

Despite going off the rails after leaving the Army, Stuart managed to hold down a degree course in photography and graduated with a 2:1. Eventually the lure of London beckoned and he ended up in the capital but with nowhere to live.

“I was dossing on couches, floors and spent a few nights sleeping rough,” he said.

“You adapt to life on the streets and can survive if you know what to do and where to go.”

Larry Evans, photographed in east London, November 2003, is an ex- gunner and was discharged from the Army in 1965 – his services no longer required. He ended up on the streets after being evicted for not paying the rent, and lived the life of soup kitchen runs and begging before getting a room in New Belvedere House.

Stuart’s luck began to change after securing a bed at New Belvedere House in east London.

He soon landed a job as a paparazzo photographer in Soho where ironically he photographed the rich and famous by day before returning to the homeless hostel at night. It was through this work that he met his wife – also a photographer.

“That was a turning point for me,” he said. “I got back on my feet, bought all the equipment I needed, got a car and somewhere to live and have been working as a freelance photographer for the past five years.”
Lest we Forget - 'The Living'
 

Ventress

LE
Moderator
#2
The majority of homeless lads on the streets I speak to are ex-services. I can normally get them on side by reminding where they came from and speaking their language. Many left the Army didnt cope to well initially and then fell on hard times. And unless you've been there I doubt it is easy getting straight again due to the drink, drugs they've dabbled with (and rely on) and criminal records they have.

I've directed a few to SSAFA/ RBL and other agencies set up for ex servicemen, but others are just to far in the pit to ever climb out of it.

Like my WW1 grandfather said "A land fit for heroes, my arse!"
 
#3
Disgusts me that this country can so easily forget these guys who served, especially with this encumbent government :evil:

if you want to help a little bit, buy a Big issue, the guy/girl may not be an ex but they could also possibly be one
 
#4
A few years ago I remember the SUN doing a big story on how many homeless are ex-servicemen - they quoted around 70%. Prompted by this a team from APC went around London with a lap-top containing a database of every soldier who has served since the 50's.

They asked homeless people whether they were ex-army and as per the Sun's findings apporx 70% said they were. However, when they asked for their name, rank and number and unit they either 'couldn't remember' or gave details that did not tally with the database. The teams conclussion was that about 3% of homeless in London are ex-army. The other 67% say they are because they think that they will be treated better by the public/charities if they are veterans.

Whilst I don't doubt that there are ex-army on the streets it is not as prevalent as the media may lead you to believe.
 
#6
I must admit when I spoke to one of the team members I thought he was very brave walking around the dodgier areas of London with a laptop! Maybe it was the usual Army issue 20 year old crap that no-one would look twice at!
 
#9
The Big Issue is a scam,the person who started it up is living a life of rilly. If you want to help those that have served this country,then donate to The RBL or The ABF, these are there to help whenever posible.I have asked the RBL to start of a new Rough Sleeper Badge. This would be sold to people and all PROCEEDS would go back into homelessness issues and ACCOMMADATION.
I'm hope the RBL take this issue up.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOYALTY is a TWO way STREET------------------------Mr Tony Blair (Labour Party)
 
#10
The Big Issue is a scam,the person who started it up is living a life of rilly. If you want to help those that have served this country,then donate to The RBL or The ABF, these are there to help whenever posible.I have asked the RBL to start of a new Rough Sleeper Badge. This would be sold to people and all PROCEEDS would go back into homelessness issues and ACCOMMADATION.
I'm hope the RBL take this issue up.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOYALTY is a TWO way STREET------------------------Mr Tony Blair (Labour Party)
 
#11
Gonzo said:
A few years ago I remember the SUN doing a big story on how many homeless are ex-servicemen - they quoted around 70%. Prompted by this a team from APC went around London with a lap-top containing a database of every soldier who has served since the 50's.

They asked homeless people whether they were ex-army and as per the Sun's findings apporx 70% said they were. However, when they asked for their name, rank and number and unit they either 'couldn't remember' or gave details that did not tally with the database. The teams conclussion was that about 3% of homeless in London are ex-army. The other 67% say they are because they think that they will be treated better by the public/charities if they are veterans.

Whilst I don't doubt that there are ex-army on the streets it is not as prevalent as the media may lead you to believe.

Where is the evidence for this? Or are you perpetrating a scum story of the all beggers are undererving scammers??

Kings College have been given a wodge of dosh to study what happens post Op TELIC because the MOD thinks that around 25% of rough sleepers around London are ex services.

This is a figure that RBL field officers tell me fits their experience. Partially this is common sense. The army trains people to live rough.
 
#12
Partially this is common sense. The army trains people to live rough.

This is the most pathetic statement I've ever read. All armed forces personnel work in a controled enviroment with good welfare care. The transition from Military Life to Civilian is huge,familiy members suffer as well as the main bread earner. In the 22 years I have served,I can safely say NONE of my fellow comrades have enjoyed living in the field (living rough),it's just part of military life,so we get on with it.
The SUN newspaper did run a story on rough sleepers,It has also been reported on by the FOCUS Mag (Military Issue) in OCT,NOV Issue 2005. The government has said the figures are down due to ESAG and other charities. We serve and we get injured or killed in the name of democracy and under the flag of the United Kingdom,however when we leave the Armed Forces we are treated as third class citizens. The Homelessness Legislation states the following:

Ex- Service Personnel 15.10 Under s.199(2) and (3), serving members of the armed forces, and other persons who normally live with them as part of their household, do not establish a local connection with a district by virtue of serving, or having served there while in the forces.

This is what Housing Assocations hold against Armed Forces Personnel when they look for social housing in an area they have settled down in. The following, is an extract from the local housing assocation in MId Beds. Tell me if this is DISCRIMINATIVE.

•That they currently reside in the area in secure accommodation and have done so for not less than six months in the last twelve or three years in the last five, secure accommodating does not include, for example, Bed and Breakfast, staying temporarily with family, friends etc.

•That they have close family resident in the Mid Beds area i.e. mother, father, brother, sister, adult son or daughter whom they wish to be near and who live in Mid Beds and have done so for at least the last five years.

•That they currently have permanent full time employment in the area excluding casual work or serving in the Armed Forces.

All serving personnel and their family are itinerant due to their employment,is it correct to Discriminate against Military Families due to the fact they have served their Country?

If you would like proof of the FOCUS Mag story please send me a PM.

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LOYALTY and RESPECT is a two way street--------------------Mr T Blair (Labour)
 

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