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We need to reduce the stigma surrounding the homeless. Many of us are surrounded by homelessness yet choose to be ignorant. ‘Filthy Rich and Homeless’ on London Live

Think different t shirt

My think different t shirt

I watched the whole series of ‘Filthy Rich and Homeless’ on ‘London Live’ last night, and learnt even more about homelessness than I knew already.

The programme was based around five rich volunteers (ranging from 21 – 39 years old) who gave up their money and possessions to put themselves in the position of being homeless. They endured 3 nights on the streets of London by themselves, apart from a visit from one of the organisers at some point and the camera crew were with them some of the time.

The next 3 nights were spent with a ‘buddy’. The buddy was either homeless themselves or they had been homeless in the past. Each one of them very different in their circumstances and both male and female.

The last 3 nights, for four of the volunteers, was spent in a London hostel.

The whole experiment unveiled the realities of homelessness, the types of people who were homeless (a pregnant woman, an academic, alcoholics, drug addicts…) and how they felt and survived on the streets or in hostels etc.

On the other hand, it highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the volunteers. We saw some very positive changes in some people, like Ravi, who has been money driven since his dad left the family home leaving Ravi to become the breadwinner for his mother. He was so money driven in the beginning he couldn’t understand how anyone could be on the streets and homeless. He thought they should all be like him and be able to pick themselves up and get a job. But, the point is that we are all individuals, with individual issues and traits, and most people do not choose to be on the streets, or if they find themselves on the streets, they can accidently get themselves into bad things like drink or drugs. Not just this, but there’s a serious lack of jobs in the UK and a person needs a fixed address to get a job, and many more things. Placed in a ‘wet’ hostel (a hostel where alcohol is allowed) called Arlington House, he was shocked by the realities of alcoholism and befriended one of the Irish men there. Ravi’s dad was a drinker.

Clementine Stewart was the biggest let down! At 21 she is a spoilt brat (daughter of Alastair Stewart) who even at the end talking about helping out homeless, she said she was too busy with her social life and eight ponies… Need I say more. However, I shall as she was so annoying and such a cheat! She asked for help from presenter Fern Britton, who let her into her apartment to clean up and gave her £20 when they were supposed to be making their own way without money and she even left the hostel because she was ‘bored’ and got her boyfriend to take her out for lunch and a glass of wine!

However, it was an interesting programme. I was touched by young Thomas (also twenty one) as he learnt so much, really got into his challenge and he was humbled by his experience. He also keeps in touch with some of the people he met in Aldgate hostel.

Charles was another contestant who we didn’t see a lot of. He was trying to decide whether to leave his dads farm. His dad was totally ignorant and suggested that homeless people are criminals and squatters who he would never want in his house. Personally, I could see why Charles wanted to leave his father’s home!

We simply must help stop the stigma of homelessness and educate people like Charles’ dad in the programme to understand that homeless does not equal lazy people or criminals. If I think of myself without support of any kind or mum and dad, or Chris, when I was in the darkest places a few years ago, I could well have ended up homeless too. I was impulsive and unable to look after money, I was totally depressed and suicidal at times and didn’t have any sense of who I was and my purpose in life. A breakdown, a break up, a redundancy, mental illness… there are so many reasons people end up on the streets homeless.

Females are more vulnerable on the streets, with sexual abuse and introduction to drugs being two of the worst things they face, so they do have priority over men when it comes to getting help and it is very sad that men get little help. Things need to change. I think things are getting a little better but it’s about time more people realised that poverty and homelessness does exist in the UK – in big numbers.

I wrote my book ‘Behind Those Eyes’ to try to help break the stigma surrounding homelessness – take a look on Amazon  and I have set it as a FREE download from 27th August 2014 for a few days – I hope it helps break the stigma with a few more people 🙂

I also wrote my own memoirs.

Help stop stigma today!

Take care,

Amanda 🙂

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4 comments to We need to reduce the stigma surrounding the homeless. Many of us are surrounded by homelessness yet choose to be ignorant. ‘Filthy Rich and Homeless’ on London Live

  • Aurel

    Really good! I’m going to order your book! And, by the way, do you know where can I find a t’shirt like that? It’s so nice, I like it!

  • Kimmie

    Great awareness/compassion/stigma post Amanda… Iv’e ordered your book, it’s now on my kindle to read list (the list gets longer by the day lol) – i hope this week finds you well, and that things are as well as can be with your mum.

    Kimmie x

    • amandagreenauthor

      Thanks Kimmie! I hope you enjoy it. I know what you mean about growing lists of books to read; I am exactly the same. Everything is working out well thank you – hope you are well 🙂 xxx

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