Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Heart of A Homeless Man

Homeless people are most often unable to find and maintain regular, safe or secure housing.

At worst homelessness means sleeping on the streets.

According to statistics the UK government showed that in 2015 approximately 3,559 people slept on the streets in one given night across the UK.

Sleeping on the streets is a dangerous situation to be in and also a very traumatising experience too.

The majority if people who are sleeping on the streets will more than likely suffer mental health issues, health conditions and sometimes drug misuse or prostitution.

Homelessness isn't always as straightforward as you may think.
People don't just decide to go sleep on the streets, people become homeless for many reasons such as debt, drug/alcohol abuse, illness, lack of affordable and social housing, leaving foster care, being released from prison, marriage/relationship breakdown, emotional and physical and/or sexual abuse within the home.

Some people believe that some "homeless people" are faking and simply just trying to con passerby's out of money, just recently in the news this was proved to be true when a "homeless" man was pictured with his dog, in a sleeping bag on the street begging for money but later drove off in an expensive car!
However not all homeless people are frauds and out to con people.
Most are genuinely homeless.

Recently I attended the Peace Proms in Dublin, Ireland.
I saw a homeless man lying in a sleeping bag next to a bin, right outside a coffee shop.
I felt so sorry for him but rather than give him money, which could be spent on drugs/alcohol or even be stolen from him, I bought him a "Hot Chocolate" drink and gave it to him.
At least it warmed him up and gave him substance.
I knew in my heart he was genuinely homeless, for he carried a terrible odour and his top was torn plus his hand and nails were in a really bad bad.

At 15 I ran away from home, I slept in the local park for 2 nights and then a friend's family took me in until I returned hone again.
I knew the layout of the park, in daylight and night, it was a familiar place to me however sleeping there made me frightened, uncomfortable and dirty..

Recently, in the UK news, a young lady named Nicole found herself in an unfamiliar location and to her surprise a young homeless man by the name of Mark came to her rescue.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicole about what happened.
Here in detail she tells me about "The Heart Of A Homeless Man".

Name: Nicole Sedgebeer

Age: 22

Location: Milton Keynes

When you see a homeless person, what is your initial reaction?
I never used to have a reaction, I have always been so wrapped up in my own world that I walk past without thinking about who they are as a person or how they are feeling.

What happened on the day you met Mark?
The day I met Mark I was on a work night out, I lost a colleague in London on the way to the next venue.
I waited for so long that I missed my last train home.
As I had work the next morning I thought I would wait at Euston for the first train home, The Uber taxi driver confirmed I could wait inside.
I panicked when I realised the door were locked and that’s when I approached Mark.
He walked me to a café, we sat and had some food and I bought some food for his friend who was looking after Marks stuff.
We chatted about his life a little bit and then he said he had to go and get his sleeping bag because he was worried but he would come back for me at 5 when the station will be open.
I waited in the café till 5 but Mark wasn’t there to walk me back.
I had 20 minutes to get my train so I couldn’t wait.
As I walked round the corner Mark was running up the road, he explained that he had to get a bus to come get me and he was sorry that he was late.
When we got back to Euston I asked to take a quick picture with the tiny bit of battery I had on my phone.
I explained to him that these ‘tiny noticeable things’ TNT moments should be documented.
I took his number so I could keep in contact and I got the train home.
Mark called me in the morning at 9 am to make sure I was up and ready for work.

Do you know anything about Mark and how he came to be homeless?
Mark’s story about how he became homeless is personal to him but he has been on the streets for 12 years.

Where is Mark currently living?
Mark was put into a hostel last week.
Due to him being on the streets for so long he has become quite sick so he is now high priority.

What did Mark do for you?
Mark made me notice.
This experience has been amazing.
I have learnt so much from him, about the system and processes they have to go through.
I have also had so many people share moments that they have shared with not just Mark but other people in the homeless community.
It’s great to see how many people remember these moments and how they touch them just as much as my experience with Mark.
As Mark said on the news he’s just as much as a person as anyone else and I would of shared my story even if it wasn’t a homeless man.
Kindness like this isn’t as common these days because people are interacting less with each other.
I think the importance of all this is that the story has gone viral because so many people do not expect homeless people to give back but so many of them do.

You currently have a fundraising application set up in order to raise funds for Mark, how much have you raised to date?
We have hit £12,000

Have you remained in contact with Mark? Yes Mark and I speak on the phone every day.

Is Mark aware of the fundraising in place? Yes, he is very involved in the page.
This is something we need to work together on and this will continue for a long time.

Next time you see a homeless person, how will you react?
Every homeless person is a completely different person so I don’t know.
I definitely won’t be walking passed them anymore and I really want to get involved in some volunteering.
There is a lot of publicity in Milton Keynes, UK at the moment because 2 men have recently died on the streets so I will be looking to help raise awareness.

If you wish to make a donation to Nicole on behalf of Mark please do so via her fundraising page,

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