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Published on Jul 15, 2012

"It's raining. You're wet. You're soaking. Shivering at night. People are dodgy. They'll rob you. Take your stuff. Beat you up." is how Mark describes homelessness.

I met Mark in an alley in central London on a rainy day. Mark says he has been homeless for 10 years. He says because he is not vulnerable there is no help. I am not an expert in people or homelessness, but after living 10 years on the streets I would consider Mark as vulnerable. Unfortunately, sometimes people like Mark slip through the "safety net", and after years on the streets, people adapt to a life sleeping rough.

Mark holds up a anti-homeless sign he says was posted because of the Olympics. When I tweeted a still photo of the sign a few people responded that the town of Croyden is no where near the Olympics. I cannot validate the authenticity of the sign. But Mark believes it's because of the Olympics, and all week rough sleepers I met talked about being pushed out of the city by police. What I can tell you is I highly doubt Mark had that sign made so I believe, Olympics or not, Mark found that anti-homeless sign posted. I always take every person at their word. Time and time again even the most outrageous stories have proven to be true. Besides, when I was homeless, would you have believed me when I told you I worked in television!

What's important here is not a sign, but that a person is sleeping rough on the streets. We must address system failures so that no one has to sleep without adequate housing.


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