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I never look down on homeless people any more

12 November, 2020

• SOMEONE I considered a friend has passed away.

The news of his death appeared in the local church weekly notice but they don’t seem to know about the funeral and, apparently, could not care less.

He was homeless; you know, as if this means he also lost his right to his surname. But all I can say is that he was a talented artist and a decent human being, sweet and kind, and was entitled to his dignity in death as he was in life.

I never guessed he was homeless because he dressed in a way which was just the way I was advised to dress to go out and about in Camden. Do not attract attention. Try to blend in.

I object very strongly to someone being labelled “homeless” and considered ipso facto as not worthy of consideration.

I experienced homelessness for about three months at the end of 2008 when, being swindled out of my house, I was cared for by my friend Gloria who looked after the down-and-outs from St Andrew’s church in Islington and gave me a home for the three weeks before I was due to be admitted to hospital.

I had to discharge myself early as my house (that is, the house I was evicted from) was being emptied of my belongings (according to a legal document they were / are mine).

I was readmitted to hospital after my first scar opened up. I then went to convalesce in Cornwall at my son’s as my then daughter-in-law was running a nursing home. I came back to London in and looked for a flat.

It means that from December 2008 to the end of February 2009, when I moved back to Camden, I was what we French people called SDF (sans domicile fixe, in English “of no fixed abode”; but I was still the same person as before and the same person I am now.

I never look down on homeless people any more.

Castle Road, NW1


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