"Hi, I'm home" the typical cry you hear from the door of a family home when one of the working adults returns. However, this isn't the case for many of the country's homeless population living in a world of doorless homes.
In London many of those trying to change that statistic, are studying a range of Housing courses at CONEL (College of North East London) and Middlesex University.
David Lammy MP had a lot to say on the matter of housing and the quality of housing when he attended the ?Have your Say? seminar at Middlesex University last week on housing issues within the local area. Everyone has the right, and should be entitled to a decent home, he told students and staff during a lively discussion.
Ian Martin, Director of Housing and Community Services at Christian Action (Enfield) Housing Association, told the audience that: "The Government has recognise this area as one that needs more funding and has done this, however it needs to continue this funding to help solve the problem."
With so many issues being dealt with, it was an excellent opportunity for students and guest to hear the viewpoints of those in senior positions. Ian Martin summed it up when saying; "Realistically we've never had good quality, affordable housing for all, this is what we need to aspire to. It is seminars and courses like these that will enable students to, become a population that is aspirational and ambitions."
The highlight for many of the students was not the speeches, but the live performance of Cardboard Citizens, a performance that took both your mind and breath away. The organisation has been going for 13 years and is the only theatre production made up of actors that at some stage have been homeless.
They call their brand of theatre, Forum Theatre where the audience are asked to be a part of the production. The two dramas they performed were about two different people, and how both individuals ended up homeless. At the end the audience of housing students and guests were asked what could each person could have done differently to get help, and how the system could have dealt with each situation. The strong language and sexual content did not detract from the hard and gritty realism of what happens to many of London's homeless on the streets. It gave the students a look into the real world, and situations they will be dealing with once they have completed their course.
All of the actors are professional and will be working with the Royal Shakespeare's Company, nevertheless this won't diminish their work with the homeless peoples theatre company as they continue to visit hostels and take their message of hope and advice to the many that need it most.
- Last Updated: 24 January 2006