I was walking back from a council meeting in the Guildhall. As always I was taking snapshots to build up my picture library.
The Rose and Crown reopens on 18 July at 11am. It will be run by Gary and Carlos. I am convinced it will be great pub. The hanging sign is up. This evening I took a photo for a future blog post. I have every intention of being the first in the queue when the pub reopens – though council duties may sadly get in the way.
But back to the photograph. Here it is. Do you see what I saw when I tapped the shutter button on my mobile phone?
Here is a close up of that snapshot.
That’s Wayne. He is a new arrival in Ludlow. Another homeless man. The third in two months.
I sat for a while with Wayne. He’s been on the streets for three years. His circumstances must remain confidential. I advised where best to sleep and ensured he had enough to get by tonight. This is the easy bit. If he is around tomorrow, and I think he will be, I’ll start the process of steering him towards help. This is not easy. I don’t have high hopes of getting the right support for him but Wayne is on the streets I was elected to take care of. He is as much as constituent to me as someone living in a million pound mansion.
I know that most people reading this blog treat homeless people well. I wish that was true generally. The last guy but one who came through got a lot of flak. This was along the lines of “get a job” and “effing waster”.
This is so wrong. Homeless people are just ourselves in different circumstances.
As I was about to leave tonight, a young student from Ludlow College passed by. He stopped and chatted. When I walked away, he was rolling Wayne a cigarette. Perfect. This young guy is a hero. One of the horrors of being homeless is that you are shunted to the edge of society. You are treated indecently. But the student talked with this down and out man with absolute respect. Perfect.
Homeless people are just ourselves in different circumstances.
It very hard to help homeless people. It’s not just the system that is weighted against them. When you are homeless, it is hard to help yourself.
That’s why we must treat the homeless people in our town with respect. Just as a passing student did this evening.