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Showing posts from June, 2013

Destination died: We have to reduce the number of deaths from homelessness

  Big Fred’s funeral. Ragged singing arises from the small congregation of people gathered to pay respects and remember his 51 years of life. Some, unable to recognise the words in the hymn book, mime along, mouths agape, goldfish-like. There is the familiar mix of people; those who lived with him on the streets and in hostels alongside support staff from various organisations. Later we speak with wry affection, masking the unspoken frustration, about his obstinate refusal to move away from the streets, until his collapsing health gave him no choice.   Not an easy man was Big Fred, prone to incandescent rages when he would rip his shirt off in absurd display of grandiose exhibitionism.   Occasionally Fred would talk bitterly about living with foster-parents who resorted to tying him to a chair with a piece of clothes-line when he misbehaved. We remembered this when, yet again, his destructive behaviour led him to be evicted from a hostel and he landed back on the streets, not in