Townwatch UK‘s survey Of South East England is in. We travelled South through Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex and then into London for the final leg which was a cycle ride that was from London Victoria to Romford, we found the City of Westminster was the worst for homelessness.
Believe it or not, our award for the most rough sleepers goes to SW1, the City Of Westminster where we sighted over 50 genuine rough sleepers bedding down for the night (midnight). I find it appalling that the richest council in London allows this to go on just yards from Buckingham Palace. I will be calling for action from Downing street to house these people. Boris Johnson promised to “eradicate homelessness” and we will hold him to it!
As I cycled along Embankment I saw a rough sleeper on a bench and someone assisting the person, as I cycled further along embankment I came across a tent along the pavement, I continued my journey through London to Tower bridge. I couldn’t see any rough sleepers in this area but did see a man with a big rucksack and sleeping bag etc.
I continued my journey to Romford though via Stratford, Mile end and Ilford. Mile end had a notable amount of rough sleepers outside shops along the main high street, Ilford also had at least ten visible rough sleepers that I could see someone was feeding breakfast to. As I arrived in the town centre of Ilford I was asked by someone who appeared to be high on Crack and was asking if I smoke, I told him “yes I smoke”, he asked do I smoke white? I said; “no not my thing mate”, then a lady came across the road asked for a lighter off the man and lit up a pipe in front of me taking a huge toke of Crack, just after this a police car drove past and continued down the road seemingly unaware of what had just took place.
After asking directions from the crack addicts which were friendly enough to point me in the right direction, I continued on to Romford which was my final destination where I decided to see family and get some much needed rest and recuperation, after that I left and headed to Romford station to get back to Southend-On-Sea. I could only see one beggar in Romford high street, but there could be a few more scattered around that weren’t on my route to the train station, however I am told they are always moved on in Romford.
I found my journey from London Victoria, Westminster to Romford a very revealing one and now have a good idea of the scale of homelessness in the borough’s I passed through along the way, we will add this to our archive along with all our data from Essex, Kent, East Sussex and West Sussex which will be published in due course, We felt that the worst place we have seen so far should be prioritised as a matter of public concern. We are to propose solutions directly to the local homeless charities and also the councils that are affected, we cannot rest til things are improved for the homeless in these areas of concern.