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Polish homeless in the UK


LondonChick 31 | 1,133  
4 Jul 2008 /  #1
Out running this evening, I ran past some offices, where there were notices in English and Polish, warning that sleeping in the doorways would not be tolerated. This is a part of the city where a lot of homeless gather at night, as there is some warmth from the office heating systems.

Not sure why, but the fact that the signs were also written in Polish made me feel quite sad: The thought of Poles coming over to the UK, to make a new life, yet ending up on the streets :(
Zgubiony 15 | 1,554  
4 Jul 2008 /  #2
This is common in places where immigrants go to work. Things don't always pan out.
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
4 Jul 2008 /  #3
yet ending up on the streets

This happens to many people who set off for far off places with just a dream in their head , and not much idea how to make it come true.....Many years ago i left my small Yorkshire town and headed to London to seek my fortune , only enough money for a sandwich , spent the first night in a cardboard box...not easy , but a few years later i was a national champion , had a nice house and pots of dosh , sad to say , some of those that slept in boxes next to mine never made it out of there , i guess it depends on how strong you are , and how lucky..... Even later in life i was able to help others in a tough spot , rescued a house full of Poles in trouble , drove all ten of them to my house in an overloaded Range rover , and wound up with five of em living in my house for some time , all rent free till they found a job.....Sadly they will still keep coming to UK with little money , and even less of an idea , in search of a dream , some will make it , some won,t.....There is actually a Polish organisation operating in UK that rescues the fallen and gets them back home....I want to help them , but at the mo i am struggling myself......
Mister H 11 | 761  
4 Jul 2008 /  #4
The thought of Poles coming over to the UK, to make a new life, yet ending up on the streets :(

Yes it is very sad, but surely the Polish media report such stories ?

They must have a handle on the situation by now and anyone coming here knows the score and has made a proper plan ?
randompal 7 | 306  
5 Jul 2008 /  #5
Yes it is very sad, but surely the Polish media report such stories ?

yes they do report it, from time to time. and no, they do not have a "handle" on it...
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
5 Jul 2008 /  #6
Unfortunately, those who "made it" (in the sense of getting by, more or less comfortably) tell their relatives and friends in Poland stories of money literally lying in the streets, easy jobs with no English required, and affordable housing. Then someone just gets up one morning and buys a ticket, no idea where to stay, how to get a job, no English, and there you are. I have very recently had such a lady overnight, with kids too. The only option she had was to go to a homeless charity, sleep in a bed for the first time in a week, take a shower or two and head back to Poland (I live in a studio flat the size of an average room, so I could not conceivably keep several more people in there for any lenght of time).

She had no contingency plan, frankly speaking, she had no plan at all apart from a vague idea that magically, things would fall into place. And she is not alone.
pawian 187 | 17,525  
5 Jul 2008 /  #7
Poles are getting bad publicity in UK media but it is also their own fault. Some Poles behave like primitive barbarians, it must be said.

I don`t even mean fishing for eating because two countries have a different angling culture so it is excusable.



I mean sleeping in paid public toilets and treating them as cheap accomodation. Poles don`t sleep in toilets in Poland proper, but when they do it in England, locals may wonder what is going on and if such custom is widespread in Poland. May be this topic was raised here some time ago...

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-452407/The-superloo-Polish-migrants-fighting-spend-night-20p.html

Polish immigrants are coming to blows for the privilege of sleeping in public lavatories at a cost of just 20p per night.

Cleaning staff and businesses near a new block of six conveniences have complained of fights among the labourers.

Mister H 11 | 761  
5 Jul 2008 /  #8
Unfortunately, those who "made it" (in the sense of getting by, more or less comfortably) tell their relatives and friends in Poland stories of money literally lying in the streets, easy jobs with no English required, and affordable housing.

Why would someone do that when it is clearly not the case ?

Are they just trying to boast and big themselves up ?

I have very recently had such a lady overnight, with kids too. The only option she had was to go to a homeless charity, sleep in a bed for the first time in a week, take a shower or two and head back to Poland (I live in a studio flat the size of an average room, so I could not conceivably keep several more people in there for any lenght of time).
She had no contingency plan, frankly speaking, she had no plan at all apart from a vague idea that magically, things would fall into place. And she is not alone.

I'm glad that you were able to help this lady out, but it's those who bring their children with them straight away that I have the least respect for to be honest. Why don't they send one parent out first to check things out and try and get things in place before bringing the family out too ?

If someone falls flat on their face and it's only them that's here, then there is no real harm done. They're just a bit older and wiser, but it's a whole different thing when they have children with them too.

I mean sleeping in paid public toilets and treating them as cheap accomodation. Poles don`t sleep in toilets in Poland proper, but when they do it in England, locals may wonder what is going on and if such custom is widespread in Poland. May be this topic was raised here some time ago...

The article is pretty old and I hope that doesn't happen now, but I agree that such things do little to help the image of those who come here saying they want a better life.
dannybhoy - | 32  
5 Jul 2008 /  #9
My fiancee worked for a housing charity, and she used to tell me that everyday there would be at least 10 referals from homeless Polish people. She was then part of research into why this was occuring. It was carried out it a confidential way, and she found that people would be very honest with her. The most common finding was that people had left Poland, boasting to neighbours, friends, family, etc, that they were off to the UK for this great new life, and would come back rich. The shame of not achieving this would mean some would rather sleep homeless here in the UK, as opposed to returning to face home.
Mister H 11 | 761  
5 Jul 2008 /  #10
Are Polish people that shallow ?

To me, it takes a pretty big person to admit that they made a mistake and that things didn't work out. I wouldn't want any friend of mine to be homeless in a foreign country, just because they thought it shameful to come back home.

I think it shows real strength of character to admit that things didn't work out.
dannybhoy - | 32  
5 Jul 2008 /  #11
I agree with you, and if things hadn't worked out for me, I like to think I would have just headed back home.

However, the study was relatively small (around a hundred participants) and in order to get a bigger picture, right across the UK, it would have had to be bigger. I don't know if this reply would have been common in a bigger group, but it was certainly the feedback recieved from a large majority of those involved in the study.
whatismyname - | 1  
5 Jul 2008 /  #12
I have to agree with Pawian when he says that sometimes it is their own fault, i say this through a recent experience... a few months ago i asked my tennants to try and find somewhere else to stay cos i wanted to move a family in instead... i gave them 3 weeks to do this which is more than most would get, on the day they were supposed to move out they had the nerve to say that they didn't understand me and so didn't know they had to go which was a complete lie. I knew it was a lie cos when i was in the house i could see papers of the houses they had looked at... i mean wtf man, did they really expect me to say ok no problem you can stay i'll just tell the other family to go f**k themselves?. All but 1 of them were able to stay at their friends, so i gave MY ROOM!!! in my house to the 1 that had nowhere to stay, such is my kindness which i have noticed most of the poles i have dealt with see as nothing more than a weakness. BUT! the next day what do i find?... he's not in my room no, he's in someone elses room who is on holiday! It takes 2 weeks to finally get him out after excuse after excuse... oh this house was too expensive, oh this house had no washing machine, oh the office wanted money up front. But here is the cracker, when it came to pay he said... why should i pay for anything since the guy who is on holiday has already paid for the room... i mean WTF!... did he really think he could stay there in my house f*****g rent free? i mean where is the gratitude? Now dont get me wrong i actually really love polish people and poland but some are just stupid arragant t***s who dont appreciate anything and who ALWAYS take the whole arm when given a finger. I mean anyone else would of just got all his belonging in black bags and thrown em in the street... and could you of blamed me, i think not. So dont feel sorry for them all cos some do deserve to be on the streets... i know its a bad thing to say but its true.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384  
5 Jul 2008 /  #13
Why would anyone sleep on the streets of London ?

Many may have dreams of a good life in London. But as has been mentioned some of these people don't think things through, or they are fooled by the stories of others who have made it.

Living in London is not easy. What some visitors don't consider are simple things like the deposit required for rented accomodation, the actual availability of work and living expenses in general.

The promise of a bed for the night or until you can fix yourself up with something soon wears thin after a while.

When walking around London it is not difficult to notice other people who seem to have few problems living on the streets. And when you become desperate it's not too difficult to fool yourself into thinking of it as an alternative lifestyle.

It is possible to live rough and work. Usually it will be casual work, cash in hand.
There is also safety in numbers. When I was in London there were communities of homeless in Lincoln Inn Fields and Cardboard City on the South Bank.

There are many organizations that help the homeless. There are day centres where you can get cheap food, a shower, watch TV, and sometimes get clothing. Sometimes there is a visiting doctor. There are handouts of food late in the evening. Usually soup, tea and sandwiches. In the winter months blankets are distributed and when the weather is extreme some churches open their doors for the night. At Christmas time some organizations become more active. Crisis At Christmas provide food and a place to sleep. You don't get a bed, just a place on the floor.

Begging might be a choice for some, but these days it has become a business and I've seen fights over begging spots. Some of these people make good money.

I've met plenty people who've been on the streets for twenty years or more. But worst of all I've seen people die there. When this happens there is no ceremony, you're treated like a piece of meat. The usual thing that kills is alcohol and/or

the cold weather.

I know that there are many other complex reasons why people live on the streets. How do I know ? Because I spent years working with them, helping out at Soup Kitchens, Day Centers and simply talking to them. But of course that was twenty years ago. Things might have changed, but I doubt it.

If you find yourself stuck in London these places might still be open: The Passage in Victoria. It's catholic run... St Martin in the Fields, down the steps to the left of the church.

The quickest way to find a solution to your problems is to ask for advice on day one. Many people might find it embarrasing, but it's much more preferable to dying in obscurity.

..
Mister H 11 | 761  
5 Jul 2008 /  #14
Very interesting post, Wroclaw, but why would such an life be better than heading back home ? Or, more to the point, what was so bad that they their home country left in the first place ?
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
5 Jul 2008 /  #15
Yeah, they have the option of using their own language in their own country. It does baffle me why they'd come to London and not be able to enjoy some of the good life there. I understand that it's hard, but why London? Londoners are hardly the most charitable of people. No offence, I'm Aberdonian, LOL. It is not fair, they should be returned to Poland. They are hardly fleeing oppression here like refugees do.
osiol 55 | 3,922  
5 Jul 2008 /  #16
I vaguely remember making a phone call. Get me out of here, I failed. It was either that or continue on a downward spiral. I might have been able to pick myself up again, but I'll never know. At least I was in another city rather than another country.
Mister H 11 | 761  
5 Jul 2008 /  #17
Yeah, they have the option of using their own language in their own country. It does baffle me why they'd come to London and not be able to enjoy some of the good life there. I understand that it's hard, but why London? Londoners are hardly the most charitable of people. No offence, I'm Aberdonian, LOL. It is not fair, they should be returned to Poland. They are hardly fleeing oppression here like refugees do.

I agree with the "why London?" question.

I visit now and then and find it busy, crowded, expensive and dirty. I like the idea of the "London life" and may give it a go some day, but I would have to plan it out very carefully and need to earn enough to live in a decent area. The thought of arriving there from another country and having to find a job and a place to live, while having to deal with the language issue would scare me whitless.

It would need so much planning.

I also agree that the Polish aren't fleeing for their lives, so I don't get the urgency.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
5 Jul 2008 /  #18
Yeah, finding a job there can take a long time. If u r lucky enough to get hooked up in 2 months, u r still over a thousand quid out of pocket. Many didn't come with that kind of money.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384  
5 Jul 2008 /  #19
Very interesting post, Wroclaw, but why would such an life be better than heading back home ?

Many people don't go home out of fear. Or a belief that things can only get better.

I can only guess. Many people end up on the streets as a result of debt, problems at home, alcoholism, drugs. The usual negative things in life. I imagine that one has to dig deep into the soul to find the courage to admit to being a failure.

If you manage to find a way back to normality... home. Then you do it with nothing in your pockets and only the shirt on your back. You have to admit to yourself that you achieved nothing. This might be a very difficult thing for some people when their family had even moderate expectations of them. For some people putting things behind them might be impossible.

There are those of course who have no such problems. They will sieze the lifeline of advice, help and family. And I guess after a short time will fit straight back into society.

Some people will stay where they are... on the street. They find themselves in work and making money. Earnings might come from begging, casual work and in one or two cases full time work. Full time work would be something like Kitchen Porter.

As I've said there are plenty places to get a shower and keep clean. Some hotels have shower facilities for staff. Any work in a hotel or restaurant comes with a meal included.

At places like Lincoln's Inn Fields the toilets used to open early just so the homeless wouldn't soil the area and so they could get a wash.

It's also worth noting that there used to be regular police patrols in and around areas where the homeless gather. Another reason to feel safe.

A number of these people convince themselves that they are doing OK and so they stick with it. Others might use what they have, get onto some assisted housing list and improve their situation. Some are persuaded to do this by care/charity workers.

For those who managed to keep a bank account open it is possible to make money.
Anyone who thinks that you need an address to find work is wrong. Any address will do. No-one is going to check the address of someone doing a low-paid manual job. If you can get to work on time no-one will care. I've known some building workers who slept in the site cabin or even the building they were working on. In the later stages of a building project, with new fitted carpets, it's not such a bad place to be.

This is all based on what I knew twenty years ago. But I suppose some Poles would fit into the above catergories.
PinkJewel  
5 Jul 2008 /  #20
I know that there are many other complex reasons why people live on the streets.

Some remain on the streets for one reason and that is simply because they have got used to it. They may have had a half decent life before but gradually, over time, the streets become what they are accustomed too.

I imagine that one has to dig deep into the soul to find the courage to admit to being a failure.

I agree with that. Some of the Polish people leave Poland hoping that they'll make it in the UK and promising their families that they'll make everything OK but when they arrive here and the job the went for doesn't pan out and another one is hard to come by, they suddenly find themselves behind on rent, bills and still haven't made up for the money they used coming here. So, things go wrong. The landlord throws them out. They can't find another place. They end up on the streets. It can happen so easily. It can happen to anyone really.

It might seem easy to say 'just pack up, admit defeat and head back to Poland'. Pride stops some people from doing exactly that. For a while there is the feeling that things will get better, something will turn up, a friend will offer a floor, a job will become available.

Anyone who thinks that you need an address to find work is wrong

Yes, there is some kind of myth surrounding this. People offering cash-in-hand jobs could rarely care less about the person's address. They just want someone to turn up each day and do their job. They probably wouldn't care less about a next-of-kin even. It becomes more difficult if you didn't have a bank account before you became homeless. If you do then you can earn money that can be put in you bank account even while you are homeless. An employer may want an address but Wroclaw is right, most will accept any address.
Mister H 11 | 761  
5 Jul 2008 /  #21
Yes, there is some kind of myth surrounding this. People offering cash-in-hand jobs could rarely care less about the person's address. They just want someone to turn up each day and do their job. They probably wouldn't care less about a next-of-kin even. It becomes more difficult if you didn't have a bank account before you became homeless. If you do then you can earn money that can be put in you bank account even while you are homeless. An employer may want an address but Wroclaw is right, most will accept any address.

Cash in hand work, not being on the books, living hand-to-mouth lives makes them part of an under-class, which really isn't part of society.
David_18 68 | 982  
5 Jul 2008 /  #22
If they are stupied enough to take big risks like that, then im not feeling a bit sorry for them. It's almost like trying to win a lottery to make it in England.
pawian 187 | 17,525  
19 Jul 2008 /  #23
There was a famous Polish homeless man in Wolverhampton. He lived on an island in the centre of a ring road for 30 years.

Tributes flooded his fan group, which is called "We love you, Wolverhampton ring road tramp" and has more than 6,500 members.
Some commenters called for a statue to be erected in his memory, and a new group called "Rename the ring road after Fred" has been launched.


Here are articles about Fred.

expressandstar.com/archive/news/fred-the-tramp/



There was a discussion in the forum about him https://polishforums.com/archives/2005-2009/uk-ireland/tramp-dies-wolverhampton-15371/
cjj - | 281  
24 Jul 2008 /  #24
I understand the Barka Foundation help people back regularly ...

barka.org.pl/index_eng.htm
noimmigration  
24 Jul 2008 /  #25
How many british people sleep among dirt and rats in poland or any other country for that matter.
The poles really hae no problem degrading themselves I mean they are now known as the slave unskilledslave labour of europe. Everyone in western europe thinks of low paid, unskilled, toilet cleaning immigrant when they think of poland. Maybe the eu has helped poland with foreign investment and generous aid packages but it sure has cost them rtheir fae and dignity.
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
24 Jul 2008 /  #26
How many british people sleep among dirt and rats in poland or any other country for that matter.

Plenty are already doing it here on the streets in the UK.

The poles really hae no problem degrading themselves

People end up on the streets for all sorts of reasons, it's not what I would consider "degrading themselves"

Would you say these men who fort for Queen and country are degrading themselves?

britishlegion.org.uk/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=newsdetail&asset_id=518812

Or how about these people who the system failed?

bjp.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/abstract/162/3/314

NoImmy I would suggest you do a soup run on Christmas eve and thank your lucky stars you are not the one on the other side of the counter!
Del boy 20 | 254  
24 Jul 2008 /  #27
[quote=noimmigration][/quote]
this scum should be banned constantly, he has nothing constuctive to say, just pure hate. What for we keep him here?, just to check how far people can go with spreading hate?
VaFunkoolo 6 | 654  
24 Jul 2008 /  #28
What for we keep him here?,

To keep a balanced view?

Not everyone in the UK welcomes immigrants with open arms
Del boy 20 | 254  
24 Jul 2008 /  #29
lets just wait for some other opposite responces, but not his. You could play that role Vafan if you like :)

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