I went for a walk through my city of Birmingham on a sunny afternoon in October 2018, I was struck by the amount of rough sleepers there were, huddled in doorways and alcoves, in damp sleeping bags, and flattened cardboard boxes giving small comfort or insulation from the cold concrete floor.
Winter closing in.
I was approached many times that day for some small change and helped where I could, hoping the money I gave might go towards something warm to eat or drink, or maybe the bus fare to somewhere that offered a safe place and shelter. All human life, so many different stories and circumstances.
I've never been Homeless and only had to sleep rough on a couple of occasions, when I've missed the last train and ended up stranded, with a long night ahead of me and no money. In my early twenties I lived in a Bedsit flat on the outskirts of the city, as well as the loud, human 'comings and goings' that went on 24hrs, the house had Rats and Mice in the walls, that would scurry around my tiny room and keep me awake at night. I often used to walk down to the all-night Rendezvous Cafe make a cup of tea last for hours and do crosswords, I'd spend days in the Library reading and trying to write.
Shelter has been helping the Homeless for 50 plus years and continues to lobby for decent social housing and fair rents. I went to an Exhibition to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary in Birmingham. It featured some Incredible photographs by Nick Hedges, I introduced myself to the organisers and was later asked to sing a song at their annual Christmas Concert, featuring the 'Choir with no name' and the Lord Mayor in attendance, Ive taken part in these events for the last 3 years.
I'm releasing this track 'ROAD' because I wanted to do something that might help the thousands of voiceless, invisible people, that are facing an extra bleak winter this year without a roof over their heads.
One thing that stayed with me during those dark days, avoiding the mice in my flat, was something I read in a book of Bert Brecht poetry. "All that lives, needs help from all the rest."
Please help if you can. Px
Shelter is the UK’s leading housing and homelessness charity and believes that everyone should have a safe home. It helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through its free emergency helpline, webchat service, and local advice, support and legal services. And it campaigns to make sure that one day no one will have to turn to Shelter for help. For free and expert housing advice visit: www.england.shelter.org.uk/get_help
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