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Showing posts from February, 2021

Fearing Joe

How I treasure my  memories of the homeless people I worked with from the time in the 1980s when I was, in turn, a hostel, outreach and resettlement worker.   Such warm recollections of a procession of individuals who invariably treated me with courtesy and kindness, dispensing practical advice to a raw kid who was, at times, out of his depth. Though in circumstances where people were frequently struggling with alcohol or drug dependency, debilitating mental health problems and extreme living conditions there was also an overlay of threat, sporadic violence and moments of stomach-churning fear. At 22, working in a homeless young people’s hostel near Kings Cross station in London there was plenty of opportunity to taste fear on a regular basis. We were a young team, the hostel was expected to take the most chaotic young people from the West End and it was 1981, a time when, at least in my experience, risk assessments had still to be invented.   Hostel shifts felt like a form of Russia