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Frank Hovis

A genuinely good idea - give homeless people a postal address

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This is so good that I'm surprised it hasn't bene done before.  It's not easy but what this guy, Chris Hildrey, an architect by profession, is working towards is a system whereby each homeless person can have a proper postal address which will make receieving benefits and getting a job so much easier for a tiny cost.

I, like most people, have always linked an address with living there but this delinks those two concepts so that you can be street homeless but still have a postal address to access the services that will allow you to get off the street.   I did like the thought of using the number 13 because of all the streets that don't have a so-numbered house.  Good old 12a.

It's existed in other forms - BFPO and Poste Restante - but this is IMO taking it to another level.

It may also help people who aren't "traditionally" homeless.  I knew somebody who, through choice, lived on a yacht in a boat yard and every year or two sailed to a new one.  He said there was quite a crowd doing this mainly single men  He had perfectly routine temporary office jobs.  He however had no address, I think he used a family member's for permament stuff, and when he tried couldn't be registered to vote.

He looks to have a way to go yet but he is being very practical with this.  Well done sir!

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/proxy-address-design-museum-homelessness

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They don't care about the homeless. They care about the Ponzi. To help the homeless they would have to clear out a few of their slave labour force and vacate a few houses. Also, the issue with the homeless isn't so much with houses - they are easy - but with human stuff - depression, drug abuse, PTSD that kind of thing. No-one wants to deal with that.

This initiative may help the people temporarily down on their luck and looking for a route back to society. For those who have already dropped out of the bottom of society this will have little effect. Smackheads with long criminal records will not be helped by this, for instance.

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3 minutes ago, billfunk said:

They don't care about the homeless. They care about the Ponzi. To help the homeless they would have to clear out a few of their slave labour force and vacate a few houses. Also, the issue with the homeless isn't so much with houses - they are easy - but with human stuff - depression, drug abuse, PTSD that kind of thing. No-one wants to deal with that.

This initiative may help the people temporarily down on their luck and looking for a route back to society. For those who have already dropped out of the bottom of society this will have little effect. Smackheads with long criminal records will not be helped by this, for instance.

Agreed on your last point. But then, every addict was, at one point in their history, not an addict. A person has to reach their own personal 'point of despair' in order to turn their life around. Nobody can "force" that. And some will indeed die before they reach that point.

Some just aren't ready for help if that means beating the addiction. It Is tragic, but then the people who could indeed be helped are those not addicted to things and who are perfectly employable given the right things being in place, like an address.

 

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2 minutes ago, DTMark said:

Agreed on your last point. But then, every addict was, at one point in their history, not an addict. A person has to reach their own personal 'point of despair' in order to turn their life around. Nobody can "force" that. And some will indeed die before they reach that point.

Some just aren't ready for help if that means beating the addiction. It Is tragic, but then the people who could indeed be helped are those not addicted to things and who are perfectly employable given the right things being in place, like an address.

 

Spot on Mark.

The standard mantra, and it is fairly true, is that through a combination of adverse circumstances pretty much anyone can end up homeless.  Relationship break up, criminal offence, addiction.  Think "Trading Places"; I know of an ordinary office worker and a headmaster who found themselves homeless and sleeping on a park bench.  They are both now returned to normal lives if not their past ones.  These are of course the minority; the majority will be those with foster home / council home / broken home backgrounds, criminals with drug or alcohol addiction as per the stereotype (it has its basis in fact) but remember that Joe or Josephine ordinary can end up there as well.  And, being physically weaker, it is more dangerous for a woman.   There don't seem to be that many ex-military; I think the charities like Help for Heroes have made a material difference to their lives.  Which is good.

Support is provided to those on the street but IMO the most important thing is to provide the hand to pull them out of it for those who wish to do so.

A bed in a hostel, obtaining a copy of their birth certificate (I signed endless cheques for this, £15 fee IIRC) are those steps back up and this address one (again an individual initiative rather than something by government) will be of material help.

Sure some people will want to stay on the streets, others will fall back onto them for the same reason they ended up on them the last time, but a decent percentage will be helped up and never seen again by the homless shelters which is the result they want.

I don't think it's the biggest issue of our time but I think it deserves support.

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Sounds very straight forward in theory.  All you need is a bank of letterboxes and each owner has their own key.  I’m surprised no-one is already doing this.

An easy way would just be to add it to an existing box of communal letterboxes at a local block of flats.

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30 minutes ago, Libspero said:

Sounds very straight forward in theory.  All you need is a bank of letterboxes and each owner has their own key.  I’m surprised no-one is already doing this.

An easy way would just be to add it to an existing box of communal letterboxes at a local block of flats.

That's not what is being proposed.  The problem with that is the cost of putting them up and maintaining them (they'd be broken into a lot), providing some security, and making sure the homeless kept their keys.

I guess redirection to a day centre where the homeless people are known inidividually and a member of staff would dole them out would work.  The idea is that the address is for convenience, they don't live there or even have to go there for their post as it just gets redirected but they can give that address to a job centre or potential employer and that would make them in itself more employable.

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The question I have is: will this form of address be accepted in officialdom? Mailboxes and a "care of c/o" have always been a possible,  but rarely acceptable.

People with their act together, and with money behind them suffer from this, too, if they have no fixed abode (e.g. bargee, motor homer, Elon Musk). Officially, you can't have a driving licence, or bank account using a proxy address. If you have no paper bills or council tax letter then its hard to get any contract service e.g. for a mobile phone, or obtain credit. If you try to register with a GP, the surgery will want to know you live in the area. Same for a school. The system is designed this way.

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Reminds me of another good idea that has been mooted for some time. If you're caught chucking litter then instead of the £80 (soon £90) fine, how about performing 10 hours of picking up litter. Common sense things like this would work wonders to reduce littering IMO. Bloody public service not interested no doubt.

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While we're talking about lazy councils, here's another tip relating to potholes. Buy one of these linepainting cans from Amazon, and mark the potholes out like the council do with dashed lines. Obviously it only works if they're in the area and fixing their own ones. I've done this several times, they did repair the ones I've marked out. :D

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3 hours ago, spunko2010 said:

Reminds me of another good idea that has been mooted for some time. If you're caught chucking litter then instead of the £80 (soon £90) fine, how about performing 10 hours of picking up litter. Common sense things like this would work wonders to reduce littering IMO. Bloody public service not interested no doubt.

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Someone would have to supervise the litterpicking. And make sure you're doing it. It'd be more of a sensible punishment though and teach people why they shouldn't drop litter.

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5 hours ago, spunko2010 said:

While we're talking about lazy councils, here's another tip relating to potholes. Buy one of these linepainting cans from Amazon, and mark the potholes out like the council do with dashed lines. Obviously it only works if they're in the area and fixing their own ones. I've done this several times, they did repair the ones I've marked out. :D

https://www.fillthathole.org.uk/hazards/report

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If we are doing good ideas (though maybe not), I would like to see supermarkets have to replace the floor tiles in some aisles with red tiles, and maybe even red shelving.

All 'not very healthy' foods - crisps, processed food, sweets etc would need to be stocked in these red aisles. I think many people might then get the idea of what is and isn't healthy.

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