Categories
Uncategorized

Cold Hard Truth

Today we publish a piece from a long standing friend and supporter of our group. Heed these words as they come from a knowing source.

The closest feeling to having nowhere to live is that of a broken heart. It is a feeling of abandonment, of rejection and loneliness. When you are homeless you feel rejected by all, not just by another.

It should come as no surprise that homeless people experience some of the highest rates of loneliness and isolation in the Scottish population. Being homeless means more than just being without a home, it is linked to the breakdown of personal and social relationships and being put at a distance from social networks and connections. It can make some withdraw further from others, reinforcing isolation and seeking support harder. For others the use of alcohol or drugs is a means of blocking out isolation.

Rough sleeping is increasing and crisis levels, that is very obvious in the City centres of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Glasgow City Council seems to be fighting fire with a very small water pistol and is under increasing pressure from Homeless Charities such as Shelter to fulfil its statutory duty of providing accommodation.

So why isn’t it meeting the statutory duty.. Can you really cut over £400m in Council Services and expect a positive outcome ?

As a way of addressing the crisis, much has been made of Housing First approach to resolve homelessness. The idea has cost the Government in Finland €240m and has seen long term homelessness cut by approx 45%

Housing First in Scotland is currently being rolled out across 5 areas – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Aberdeen and Dundee in what is known as The Pathfinder Project and was launched in August 2018.

Housing First is for people whose homelessness is experienced alongside other severe and multiple complex issues – addiction, trauma, abuse, mental ill health and experience of local authority care and prison. It is estimated this affects around 5,700 people in Scotland, across a single year.

Since 2010 austerity has taken its toll on public services with harsh cuts to the NHS and Mental Health Services, Addiction Services, Social Work (including Criminal Justice) and Homeless Services. Councils around Scotland are already preparing themselves for further ‘efficiency savings’

As Housing First requires strong links to all of the above services, just how serious is Scotland about Housing First and resolving homelessness ?

Categories
Uncategorized

Update from Our Team On The Ground

How many this winter?

How many this year?

Many of us who’ve bought the flag, wore the t-shirt and walked the walk of Scotland’s failed policies on homelessness are now beyond persuasion. Personally I’m embarrassed to have taken a wage. Glasgow City Council and our National Government for decades, have wasted time, money and energy. We must be honest though. This is not a party political issue for our group. We are past wasting our energy. Let us be clear in our message. This is a national emergency bigger than careerist political colours.

So I’ll respectfully start with our First Minister. Hmmm, where to go? I’ll give it a punt.
First Minister can you agree that too many souls will die on our streets this winter? Will you agree this is a national shame? With the greatest of respect First Minister do you believe it is your direct responsibility to take control of this issue in our country? We sincerely hope you do. What about you Prime Minister? Mr Corbyn? All of you! We ask the same questions.

It’s election time. ‘er yer hollow promises, two fur a vote, three fur your soul’

Elections are great for statistical analysis aren’t they? Real forensic stuff for some. We can do stats too. Shake your boot’s stats. We can do historical analysis of previous law’s crayoned into wherever devolved and settled matters are written. See last year’s blog. We can do all of that. It doesn’t take a law degree to understand broken or ineffective policies. Quite literally life or death policies in this case.

Back to our current local and national leaders now, the stakeholders, the photo opportunity people, you know, the decision makers.

We ask them. How many died on Glasgow’s street’s or in temporary accommodation supported or not in 2018? Difficult but essential question in this debate. How many???
Truth is that we don’t know. To be honest we have great difficulty finding accurate figures, maybe we could touch on who can a bit later on. So sadly our trust in sources providing real answers to this essential question is limited. We do hope, always, to change our position in the future.

Why you might ask? Why no trust? Fair question, hand’s up. But. There are additional considerations, upsetting considerations and we believe, standing beside those in our community, this issue must be high on the crisis list.

You ready? I bet you’re not.
Let’s talk about street Valium.
Let’s talk about Etizolam.
No, with our deepest respect to families devastated, in the context of this response? We can suggest this only. 45 souls did not die in Glasgow registered as homeless or rough sleeping in 2018. We respectfully assert the number may be alarmingly higher.

Yes many additional factors contribute, we get that. It doesn’t stop us asking the question.

How many homeless or at risk of homelessness people in Temporary Furnished Flats, Supported Accommodation, public or private council funded hostels or BnB’s (with or without statuary or 3rd sector support) died in Glasgow?
Let’s be horribly honest. If you don’t have the capacity to understand this as a major contributing factor, not an individual’s issue and you’re employed or are considered a stakeholder providing guidance to colleagues or our community? You should be ashamed of your employer. Ask them. Be you CAT (community addiction team) Criminal Justice support team’s, CMHT’s (we could add another paragraph of team’s) and every housing provider. MP, MSP, Councilor. Ask them how many? It wasn’t 45.

As an evolving group over 5+ years we have quietly gone about our business. Supporting those we could learning day by day, week by week, month by month and so on.
So Our desire to evolve continues. The touch screen is mightier than the Cooncil, sorry, sword. We meant sword. Honest.

Invisibles. The Invisibles. Seetheinvisibles.co.uk.


Not now, we appear to be very visible suddenly. The beginning was fodder for our news media and every Christmas is the same. Happy new puppyness. Merry here’s 3 minutes and 400 words of our commitment to make a difference. Once a year, when suddenly we all grow a conscience. Homelessness IS NOT, just for Christmas.

Spare the souls needing our support. Spare our colleagues from many groups the same and spare us.

Do you really want a story? A damn horror story?

Look closely at homelessness provision over the past 25+ year’s in Glasgow.

Thatcher would be proud.

It really should be asked. Have they only gone and stealthy, bit by bit, privatised another social issue?

How much for private hostel or BnB and how many over past decade (we’re being reasonable on last bit) were ‘processed in this time period? An FOI request? Another committee? An Alliance? A question in Parliament? A blog? 1000 Tweets? Do we have to spray paint this on the shiney side of the Hydro for you?

Here’s another freebie.

Who provides the furnishings in a Temporary Furnished Flat, and why is the rent in a TFF so high that it’s a barrier to work opportunities. A Cooncil cell if you will. Another open goal of a story. Wide open.


So now, more than any media outlets ever could, we will speak brutal truth. Occasionally.

However.

Our group refuses to be investigative shpeel hawkers for any media.

Ask us a reasonable question and we’ll give honest answers. Fancy coming out and seeing what’s happening right now? No problem.

Ask us to do your job by writing columns or articles? Not a chance, go do your job. Be journalist’s again. Find the story, stand it up, then print the thing. How hard is it?

We do respectfully, recognise individual reporter’s who’ve taken time to come see for themselves. Thanks for that. You dilute our cynicism and continue to do so. Really. This DIY attitude from let’s say, less weathered writers and columnist’s certainly is refreshingly progressive these days. Keep at it. We need your help.

But back to our update, aye that.

Just in from ‘Our Team On The Ground’

Here’s our update this winter….

Nothing has changed. More people will needlessly die as the decision makers and interest from media scuttle off to wherever is next on the photo opportunity bandwagon.

Remember to smile for the camera.

Happy Christmas

The Invisibles

Categories
General Article

18 months later..

Well folks that’s 18 months of See The Invisibles, wow what can I say, Its blown me away, the generosity of people in and around Glasgow and even as far as the Shetland isles, donations at football grounds, donations posted from hundreds of miles away, people going on to the Amazon wish list and buying stuff to give to our group to pass on, we as a group hope we have helped a lot of people or at least made their life a wee bit easier.

The Invisibles started with a blog then a meeting or two, I was told by an experienced social worker that this could be big…well I thought no more of that statement, but I have since told that person how right he was, and it’s all down to ordinary folk who help the group and hold down jobs as well, donors who never seem to stop amazing me.

It’s 2015 and we still have the problem of homelessness and people having to use foodbanks, it’s not right.

Well we have done T in the park again and a special thanks to Tangerine Fields for their help and donations of sleeping bags and a special thanks to all the people who volunteered to wash the sleeping bags, thanks to the folk at our storage unit for helping us out.

I’d like to thank the volunteers of our wee group by name…but they want to remain invisible, you know who you are…THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

I’d also like to thank The Celtic Foundation for their generosity, and also The Celtic Network for its generosity, and The Carluke shamrock and many others

 

Too everyone who has helped may your God bless you…

Dermot.

invisibles small

Categories
General Article

Me and The Invisibles

By Tara
By Tara

December 17, 2014

As Christmas and new year approaches, it seems the done thing to quietly contemplate the year gone by and reflect on all the ups and downs you’ve encountered along the way.

For me, it’s been a very bittersweet year.

It started out very busy, volunteering at my local foodbank where I was working my wee socks off and making a real difference within my local community.

Social media had played a massive role in my work there and continued to do so as I basically annoyed the life out of anyone who would listen. About foodbanks, charity work, poverty and the blatant inequality that was so evident to me, but not to everyone else. Or so it seemed.

Through twitter I had met some pretty amazing people who were like minded and determined to make a difference.

I happened across a tweet about homelessness in Glasgow.

Having been homeless for a spell myself, it was (and still is) a subject close to my heart.

These tweets were poignant.

They identified a real issue in Glasgows city centre by a railway worker who had noticed the stark numbers of people sleeping rough as he finished up on his nightshifts.

It became quite apparent that this guy, although a grumpy old sod, had a real desire to do something about this huge citywide problem.

I was in!

How could I help? What could I do?

Id developed a real passion for helping others where I could and was happy to try and link in with the contacts I was lucky enough to have made through the Foodbank.

From there, The Invisibles was born.

A community group who would act, in effect, as the middle man in arranging collections of clothes and sleeping bags then distributing them between the main homeless charities in Glasgow.

The name was never in question for, if we’re really honest with ourselves, we’ve all walked by someone sitting on the pavement without a seconds thought about the whys or where fors that led them to this place of rest.

Many would rather they were invisible and have already created a scenario that excuses the ignorance before walking by them.

This person is someone’s son or daughter, a brother or sister. A parent, an uncle, a friend.

We knew it would take off. We believed whole heartedly in the spirit of the public and that it would bring people together when faced with a real opportunity to help another.

I don’t think we envisioned just how successful we would become in such a short period of time.

I was offered a job, a job coordinating a Foodbank. So, I had to take a step back for a spell but kept an eye on the goings on with a firm view that once I found my feet in my job, I could then get stuck in again with this group that I had been involved with from it’s inception.

The job was (is) going great then I lost my wee mum in July.

Therein lies the bittersweet.

I am immensely proud of each and every one of them. Each bringing unique skills to the table but overall, the desire to help others who for whatever reason, are experiencing issues severe enough to render them homeless/roofless/stuck on the streets, is the main factor is keeping us going.

2015 will be a great year for us. We will continue to help where we can and intend to keep those less fortunate than ourselves at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Be warned!

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2015!

Tara

Original Content at: http://taragmaguire.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/the-invisbles/

You can follow Tara on Twitter @mag_tara

Categories
Awareness

Real visible people power.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So where to start?

Well it started with a tweet, then 2 blogs, a dm or 2 swapped, then a meeting was set. The Invisibles were born.

Now a call was made to the folks on twitter, an idea conjured in the mind of one guy seemed to stir worrying, even painful feelings of a mostly hidden reality, something clicked in many heads. People researched, added personal and professional experiences ensuring as much fact and reality was available to assist the group in developing meaningful aims and goals. Through considered discussion and utilising the obvious talents at our disposal these were quickly set.

So the task was in hand, we will collect sleeping bags and warm clothing for our roofles/homeless and those in fuel poverty.

Initial contact was made with the wonderful volunteers at http://www.waysidecentre.org.uk with colleagues visiting and calling asking for advice and to explain our idea. I can confidently say this certainly energised @Invisiblesthe and with the support of community/housing workers in the east end of Glasgow our first collection was organised in The Church of the Nazerene on Easter Sunday. More than 25 bags of clothes, blankets and footwear donated. A humbling start indeed. We again would like to say thank you for this generosity.

During discussions at meetings, email or on the phone (The Chairman likes a wee call but more on that later….maybe) we looked for the idea of a large scale collection. We spoke about football games, contacting camping suppliers and many other considerations.  T in the Park was briefly mentioned at an early meeting but like many idea’s in the planning stages of a project, they get lost in the flow. Well it came back on the agenda quick. Now many will not realise how quickly the TITP collection was brought together and the fabulous work carried out behind the scenes on social media by some in the group to raise awareness of this drive. Quite fantastic effort by all involved. Thousands of leaflets distributed at Buchanan Street Bus Station and a twitter and facebook mini frenzy ensued. The groovy hipsters (Ah the good old days) got it and with a massive 500 bag donation from @tangerinefields more than 1300 sleeping bags were donated and then collected by an ever growing team of Invisibles working away from the fields of TITP to the bus station. We are delighted and again humbled by this astonishing reponse. THANK YOU XXX

We would like to thank the many people who responded to the request for assistance in the sorting, washing and distribution of the TITP collection. Some interesting finds I’m told : )  I can reasonably suggest many a washing machine and car were being worked hard. Would like to make a special mention to those who travelled from and to Stirling and all using personal transport to assist. Last word on TITP. We have realised we now have access to an ever growing, caring and positive group of people willing to Stay The Course. Hold on tight folks who knows where this is going : )

http://www.waysidecentre.org.uk  http://wwwglasgowcitymission.com  received considerable donations. A soup kitchen in Hamilton received assistance too. All very grateful.

Now as the dust settles we ask ourselves what next? Getting cold soon, folks will need our support more than ever.

We would like to propose a suggestions link to our social media sites, ideas that could be brought to meetings and possibly actioned. We have always said our group is a collective, a collective of people, minds and ideas. We are not, nor will we ever be an exclusive club so get your ideas in folks.

The group are in or have been in discussions with several other organisations including http://www.ghn.org.uk this highlights the positive buzz around The Invisibles and progress made in such a short time.

Thank you to each and every soul who donated and gave up their own time to grow this idea. You are all special people.

Special mention to our friends who removed the anti rooflessness barriers in St.Vincent Lane. More positive action for the right reason. Why wait eh.

Now a question for The Chairman. Remember me telling you the potential of this thing? When you first tweeted/blogged did you dare imagine, did you?  Look what has been achieved.

People are amazing we just need to remember that sometimes.

Take care my friends.

visible2me (The Invisibles)

original article and some pics from http://visible2me.wordpress.com/

INVISIBLES-4.jpg

Categories
Appeal

Sleeping Bag Campaign Success.

Firstly let me thank everyone who helped in the sleeping bag campaign, the troops who attended TITP and donated their sleeping bags on their return, the volunteers who helped gather the sleeping bags.

The invisibles campaign has taken off with great gusto, even going as far as coverage from STV a special thanks to David Bateman who ran with the story, previous coverage from Ginny Clark at Westendreport.com.

What started off as a blog (rant) has become a reality…the group who run See the Invisibles are uber enthusiastic, I was appointed chairman but that position was give to me to keep me quiet, the group organise themselves and do it superbly, there is no leader required even though they have given me the title of a certain Korean dictator…I’m sure they are kidding…well I hope so .

Our first collection was at Easter by church of the Nazarene which was a success , the Wayside club being the beneficiaries, now the TITP collection was phenomenal nearly 1,000 sleeping bags collected and already some of them have been donated, the young folk who sometimes get a bad press really stood up to the plate and delivered the goods, the kids are alright…we had volunteers on Friday handing out leaflets to the troops heading up to Belado  and the way they engaged with us was great, we then went back to Buchanan bus station and the response was overwhelming, as I watched it all unfold I have to say it was very emotional .

I watched the story on STV’s Riverside programme and I will be honest and say I had a tear in my eye…to be honest I was greeting , then we had Eddie Toner on the later show( face for the radio), he put our cause across very well.

Let’s hope this is just the start of something big…I’m sure it is.
Once again a huge thanks everyone involved.

Dermot.

invis3

invis2

invis1

invis4