We spoke to our local Big Issue Seller about how KCL students can help tackle homelessness in London
Calvin stands outside the pathway between Somerset House and King’s College almost everyday
Homelessness is a tragedy we witness every day, on every street corner and in every bus shelter. We see it so often, in fact, that we tend to ignore it, out of embarrassment, distraction or simply desensitisation.
It's difficult to know what one can do to help people in these situations, especially as students without too much money in our own pockets. As human beings, however, it's important to help the less fortunate, especially as attendees of such a privileged institution in the centre of London. Thankfully, the KCL Islamic Society has decided to help us out.
KCL ISOC's recently launched ARK (Acts of Random Kindness) Project will be hosting a panel this Thursday, addressing homelessness, its causes, and how we can help. Guests will include council members, charity representatives, and, most importantly, people who have been homeless themselves.
Inspired by this, The Tab King's took to the streets. Calvin (pictured above) was happy to answer some of the questions that are to be included in the panel:
How do people become homeless?
"Family breakdowns, possibly mental health, loss of job, sometimes rebellion."
Why are they not getting jobs to get them off the streets?
"Sometimes it's a Catch-22 situation with people on the street, because you either need an address and a bank account to hold down a job, or a job to secure accommodation.
"A lot of people do want to work, but they might have mental issues if they're homeless. I think their health is more important than actually getting work, so they get themselves into a better place, and then maybe they can move on and improve themselves."
What are the government and council doing to help?
What can I, as a student, do to help?
"Just be aware, look around, engage with homeless people. Ask about our wellbeing, and maybe point them in the right direction to places like shelters or centre points.
"Just be more aware, and communicate with them, because sometimes all homeless people want is for someone to say hello, as they're often depressed. Just talk. That's all people need to do, they need to talk."
He also recommends giving food or a hot drink, rather than money, and maybe stopping to listen to them for a few moments.
These questions and more will be answered tomorrow at the panel, in S-2.08. Find the event here.
Calvin can be found most days selling Big Issue Magazines in front of Somerset House, right next to Strand Campus. If you spot him, say hi!