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    Battersea is a district of South West London, England, within the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is located on the south bank of the River Thames, 2. 9 miles south west of Charing Cross.

  • 2522284 It's OK if someone wants to live for years in a Bank?

    Number of words : 3432 Number of sentences : 211 Number of paragraphs : 88

    In the year 2017, freelance writer Tom de Castella, noticed an elderly woman and her son living on a Bank in the South of London. He discovered she had already been two years since then... that was a mystery. Why had no one done anything to help you? Why has everyone accepted it as "normal"? The more he studied, The Stranger it seemed.

    A large, bulky object, wrapped in a Bright Blue tarp. It sits in The Middle of the roadway. It could be unpacked to be an old piano, servicing equipment, a delivery waiting. But then the Plane begins, an arm appears, and the lid is pulled back to show A Man and a woman, tightly wrapped in blankets sitting on a bench.

    they live on this bench on a busy London street for More Than four years. Through the day, you sit there and watch The World go by. In The Night you pull The Cover and sleep. The Bank has become their home.

    When I for The First time, I took part in saw, you were another tragic homelessness statistics, abandoned by the society. But the more you know, the more complicated it is.

    " who are you?

    I looked inside, I discovered that the Bank people are A Mother and her adult son, who is originally from Somalia. The Mother is in her 70s, of The Son , in his 30s, though he looks older.

    And bizarrely, it turns Out that they were offered a range of housing by The Council . Each offer was rejected - they didn't even look over once. Life on the Bank appears to have a Choice .

    A survey for the Greater London Authority and The Charity , St Mungo's, found a total of 3,289 people sleeping rough in the capital at least once between October and December last year, the highest number since records began. But less than a quarter of London's rough sleepers have been on The Street for two consecutive years. Could it be that The Mother and son lived in the open, in the same very public place, for longer than any other in the UK?

    I do some checking and the Bank people, which is the background story of this. For a few years they lived in a council flat in Battersea , about three miles North of Tooting. But after the death of A Family member rent arrears built up, and in February 2014, Wandsworth Council referred you.

    sources close to The Council say that the temporary accommodation had lined up For You , on the same day, But The Mother and son never showed up.

    no one foresaw what would happen next.

    The First Bank that you made to your home outside of a TK-Maxx store on the Upper Tooting Road, a few hundred meters from where you are now. But in December 2014 they were hospitalized because of the cold and while you were away, The Council of the Bank had been removed, and claimed that this was in the "best interest".

    her son remained When The Mother was discharged in the hospital for a while - they drove home, on the Bank, only to find it was gone. A reporter: "The Woman is now huddled up on a chair to house with a roof from The Rain . She is wrapped in blankets, alone, exactly at the place where the Bank once stood. "

    It was also a time that a Bank in Balham.

    Then, not later than April 2015, The Mother and son, a Bank moved in front of Tooting library. And there you have stayed.

    It is 2. 15 PM on a weekday in the afternoon. The Mother and son pull the tarp over their heads, to have a rest. A bus is stuck in a traffic jam next to you, how you do this. Everyone on the lower deck turned to see. You can see the curiosity on the faces of the people: "Is this a Shelter ? Have these people really here?"

    There is something incongruous about the blue tarpaulin structure among the hipster hairdressers, bao bun places and the nearby market stalls with locally-distilled gin. Tooting is fast gentrifying. But here are Two People with nothing except a couple of blankets.

    From the distance, which appear to be mother and son, lost in the Zen-contemplation in their surroundings.

    occasionally, a book or brushes reads his hair. She tends to sit and stare. The practical aspects are difficult to fathom. How do you fit two sleeping body on The Bench ? You sleep sitting up? (They do, with The Help of pillows, sit back, and case for support of your feet. )

    Are you warm enough in sub-zero conditions, and you can Stay Cool in the summer? What is that noise? It is the beep, beep, beep of the pedestrian crossing, The Bass of the buses and the screeching of the food drone delivery mopeds, to stop the rare, day or night. I'm guessing here, But it seems you are in the zone. Your attitude suggests that you look to the television in your living room, not the feet away from pedestrians and snarled-up traffic.

    you will never beg. There is no drink or drug problem, people who work with them. They do not accept food or blankets from passers-by, But seem to enjoy it, to speak with them. They Survive by covering a huge pile and a selection of food and drinks, donated by your feet from local restaurants and fast food outlets. You use the toilets and washing facilities in the library, or local cafes. I know that minicabs give lifts for free. The Son goes to The Local mosque to pray Every Day . You have supported at a fixed point in Mitcham Road, by the community, a part of Tooting. But what you have to say about The Experience ?

    It is the end of January and so cold I can see my breath, although it was already almost noon. I'm curious to know how they've been coping strategies.

    Me: hi, are you OK? (You smile back. ) I can't believe you're Out in the cold so much. In The Night , it is OK For You ?

    The Son : It is cold. Sometimes very cold.

    Me: How long have you been here?

    The Son : for a Long time. Years, and years.

    I: and the years of. Why? I saw something in the newspaper. The Council said that it had a flat, But she did not move.

    The Son : It is impossible.

    Me: Why?

    The Son : I can't tell you... (A bus whooshes past, and I can not hear his full answer. )

    Me: Would you like To Live in A House or living on the Bank?

    son: We Stay Here .

    Me: you Stay Here ?

    The Son : Yes.

    I: for Always?

    The Son : I don't know.

    I: Really?

    The Son : We can be happy. (The rest of his answer lost in The Noise of the traffic. I'm left wondering what exactly he means. )

    Me: But if The Council gives them a flat, you would move in?

    The Son : I can't tell you now, I'm sorry.

    At this point, The Mother starts to laugh, and The Son starts to giggle as well. It is contagious, something to do with the absurdity - I laugh as well. You can say that I find your situation and bizarre I can feel you turn my questions to find bizarre, As If their answers are obvious, and I'm dull. I'm telling you, I'm something to write about it for the BBC. The Son says he knows the BBC. I tell you, I worry about you here in such cold weather.

    Me: Most of the people are inside.

    son: "Yes, we are not in an apartment.

    Me: Would you like to sleep in a Bed In A House ?

    The Son : the house needs heat, and outside it is the same.

    mother: Yes! Same! (The Mother is in a different way. This tire is the wire that seems to say to you. Anywhere heat needs, it doesn't matter whether you are indoors or outdoors. )

    Me: It is difficult, if it has No Walls and no heating though?

    mother: Yes! Same!

    I'm trying to determine more information about what it is like living in a Bank, But The Son is not interested to say more. "No, I'm sorry," he says with a smile. I question whether they from Somalia, and he says Yes. He says it was a long time ago that you came. We smile at each other, on good terms, But confused by The Other questions and answers.

    In the few brief chats that I had before, I had asked if your English was good enough to talk to. Now, I don't think that the basic understanding is the problem. Instead, I'm worried about your ability to understand your situation and the options available to you. You have told me that life in the open and living in A House are the same as in the winter. And everywhere it is cold in the winter. What is the difference between a Bank and an apartment is? Who needs a bed? It is to argue hard. Are you aware that your lifestyle can is bad for your health, I Wonder .

    An hour later I'm in Al Jazeera 's coffee, a Café in the vicinity of Streatham popular with the Somalis. Groups of men in coats and scarves, are huddled round tables, warming themselves with a glass of Black Tea and espresso. I'm headed to Abdiaziz Hashi, A Man who knows your history well. He went to see The Mother and son, he says, But you would not listen to him.

    homelessness in the uk, homelessness, tooting, long reads, wandsworth
© 2015
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