The Road to West Pier



A road more travelled than one might expect. Now the bonhomie of the festive season towards those less fortunate is behind us, not that I and others are not grateful for the respite, but what happens now? Did it change anything?

My story is no more remarkable than any other homeless person - in fact quite mundane: The end of a long-term relationship, sofa-surfing, dossing around ('til the inevitable life on the streets), difficulty holding down a job, the inevitable increasing reliance on drugs and alcohol fill in the gaps and the self-delusion that you can stop anytime.

Then one day you wake up an addict, an alcoholic completely helpless to dig yourself out of the hole you have created - just deeper and deeper 'til your soul resembles the wreckage of the West Pier; the humilation and desperation as you prostrate yourself begging enough for your next can of Brew. There are a rare breed of homeless who choose that way of life, but for most, it is a vicious circle that's almost impossible to break out of. Constant vilification, abuse and dependency is not a life most of us would choose.

I digress. What happens now? I came here as many do, escaping a much worse fate, looking for a job and a new life, hard enough in the present economic climate if you are healthy, have a home and support from friends and family. What chance the homeless? Often, more often than not, persons of ill health, mental and physical, with no base, little education, no money and alone.

I am not looking for your sympathy, just the chance to repair my wreckage, and that of many others. All I ask, from those that have, can and will, is your continued support for the homeless. Like puppies, we're not just for Christmas.

M.V (A homeless person, First Base)

I have just been handed this when I went out to get some baked beans.

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