I noticed a man sitting in the doorway of a shop that had closed for the evening. He had white stubble and was wearing a thick coat and a woolly hat. I asked him if he was homeless. He told me his name was Hamid, he was nearly 62, and he had been sleeping rough on London’s pavements for over a year. He told me he had come down from the north west of England after he failed to get any work up there. He has a degree in civil engineering, but when he went to building sites to apply for jobs they always asked for a CSES (?) card which he didn’t have. His degree alone was not enough.

Hamid couldn’t find an induction course for qualifying for this CSES card, so he failed the test, more than once. His marriage had broken up and his daughter had left home, so, what with one thing and another he entered a phase where he was severely depressed.  He upped his sticks and moved down here to the capital, still hoping to find work, this time as a land surveyor, on a site somewhere.

I asked him if he got cold at night. He said his sleeping bag had kept him warm so far. At Lincoln Park  volunteers brought food like sandwiches or rice in the evenings for the homeless. He said Indians and black people from churches gave out rice dishes. They gave out Christian literature too, but he never read it because he was a Moslem. When I asked him if he ever got help from the Mosque, he made a very hostile remark that I won’t print here.

He finished by telling me that he was sure he would get a job in the next month and that he expected to work until he was 65 in order to get a pension. I thanked him for talking to me, I told him several people might read about him on the internet now, and I gave him £2.

Related Zingcreed Posts:
Alphabetical index of other ‘London’s homeless speak’ posts

[364, l, t&c]


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