Giving Socks to Homeless People Sleeping Rough in London and Cardiff

(mellow upbeat music) – Hey everybody, I'm in London.

Last year I was here, I recorded a vlog, I was just starting vlogging, I really had no clue what I was gonna do.

I was inspired by Casey Neistat, but I am never gonna be a Casey Neistat, so it took me a whileto develop my own style and I'm still in that process.

Bottom line is the footage that I shot, eventhough the stories were good, it was really bad and I wasn't able to connectthe stories together.

Now I was in London almost a year ago on a secret project, that secret project is still going on, but I just left Facebook, because Oculus Rift haspicked Invisible People to do a virtual realityfilm on homelessness, that's in the process.

I flew from San Francisco to here.

First off, I'm gonna start this vlog with some highlights ofthe last vlog I shot, very segmented, but I firstran into my friend, Lisa.

(mellow melodic music) I found her.

– Yay.

– This is Lisa.

Oh, my God, she teaches meall the British expressions I shouldn't Tweet.

I'm sitting here with Lisa, – Hello.

– and our new friend, Stephanie, – Hello.

– [Mark] and Stephanie is ahomeless veteran out here, – Yep.

– and earlier I was able to teach Lisa how to say brass.

– Brass, it's brass.

– Brass.

– [Stephanie] Brass.

– We've been having anargument about brass, – It's brass.

– Brass.

– It's brass.

– Tell 'em it's brass.

(background chattering) Breaks your heart and even more so that people just walk by.

Tell me about homelessness in London or homelessness comparedto what you saw today, compared to what yousee in rural Chippenham.

– It's the same, but it's different, so there's more people, there's more people, the stories.

See the thing is you come to London and I expect the servicesto work better in London, I understand places likeWiltshire, we're very rural, where the services are really stretched and they don't have the funding, but you come to Londonand you expect to hear that the services are working and we're just hearing time and time again that even the servicesin London aren't working.

– Right, I mean, everybodywe talk to theoretically from what, a year outside should be helped in some way and really shouldn't be onthe street, but they are.

– Yeah, and I think a lot of it is the fact that theydon't trust the services and for instance, they weresaying going into a day center is filling in all the forms.

– Right.

– Actually all they wanna do is they just wanna go in and sleep, sleep, get something to eat andprobably have a shower and people in charge areasking questions all the time.

– Right, and we're seeing alot of that in the States, because it's all about data, data, data, because that's hownon-profits are getting paid and that is important, but people don't often fitin an Excel spreadsheet and filling out all this data, data, data – Everybody.

– can be a roadblockto accessing services.

– Yeah, so actually the services need to, I don't know, they just needto operate in a different way, in a much more approachable way.

– So you've got a train to catch.

– I've got a train to catch.

– Who's your favorite Yank?- You're my favorite Yank.

– And we have a new name, Loud Fat Yank.

– Yeah, I keep having to shush you.

– And she thinks I'm likehyper and overactive.

– No, it's actually you're quite quieter, 'cause you don't like it.

(mellow upbeat music) – Then Lisa and I connected with John, who was sleeping rough at the time.

This is John, otherwise knownas Bullring Bash on Twitter and Lisa, you've already met and the three of us just meeting for the first time inperson, we Tweet together and John said it was okay to do video, as long as Lisa was in it, because he knows she is now a superstar.

Tell me about social mediaand how it helps you, while you're out here on the streets.

– Well, I don't know, that's a good question.

Using Twitter and otherthings that are available, it helps, I'm hoping ithelps some of the people working within the different sectors get an idea of what it's like and I've heard it timeand time and time again, people are saying it to me, all they know is whatthey've read in a book, they don't actually know what it's about, I hear it so often.

(mellow upbeat music) – Then I met George, tookGeorge out from Crisis and taught him storytellingout on the streets.

This is George.

– Hi, how you doing? – George is the newStoryteller Journalist.

– Stories Journalist at Crisis, yeah.

– Go ahead.

– Inspired by Mark's work, we're going out on London, all over the countrytalking to homeless people, trying to reframe, remake stereotypes, humanize people, – Yeah.

– give them human people, not homeless people.

– So this is Mervin.

We're here on The Strand in London, he's out here sleeping rough, he's been out here 25 years.

– Sure have, yeah.

– And I just did hisstory on Invisible People and one thing we didn'ttalk about in the video is he loves fishing.

– That's right, I certainly do, cod fishing, sea fishing and pike.

– And oh my gosh, what's the Northernpike fishing like here? – Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

– Really?- Really.

– Oh, my gosh, I have to go.

– Get your latest strip, – Oh, my God.

– You're talking 20 pounders plus, honestly, they're monsters.

– Really? – Seriously, yeah.

– Oh, my gosh, when was the last time you went fishing? – Last time I went fishing was last year up in the Lake District and I caught a 27 and a half pound pike.

– Oh, wow! – On a rubber lure as well.

– Oh, my gosh.

– Yeah.

– If I had more timeand we had some money, we'd have to go fishing.

– Certainly would, definitely.

– Oh, my gosh.

– Definitely.

– Thanks so much for talking to me.

– That's no problem, it's a pleasure.

– [Mark] George and I went andtook John to buy a backpack.

Nicer handle.

– Alright.

– What do you think? – Okay, you are theguys that are buying it? – Yep, cool.

– Okay, we'll go pay.

– Okay.

– This could go, history! (mellow upbeat music) – So George, we've been outon the streets a little bit, had some interesting situations.

– Certainly have, we'vehad a mix of everything.

– What do you think, what's your first thoughts? – I think that John washere to look after us, Mark's been a great guide as well.

It's certainly opened my eyesto seeing homeless people as people first andforemost more than anything, they've all got stories, they're all human beings and it's a big job.

– Yeah, change, change the mantra, it'snot homeless people, it's people that are homeless.

Bingo, yes, then we get somewhere.

– And now here we arein London once again.

I'm gonna go out on the streets with Lore.

(mellow upbeat music) Walking down the street.

– Guess who he bumps into? Me.

– John! – Again.

– Helicopter.

– As soon as I start the camera, – The helicopters.

– the police are looking for ya.

– Yeah, yeah, yeah.

(helicopter whirring overhead) That's the other thing, but then there's nothingwrong apart from being, – Except for waiting for me.

– Except for Mark maybe.

– He knew— Yeah, the marked man.

– He knew I'd be walkingdown here giving out socks.

– Yeah, the Hanes socks, lovely socks too.

– The Hanes socks and there's a lead in.

– Look, some Hanes socks.

– Excellent.

– And I'm here with Lore, she's a Senior Directorof CSR for Hanes Europe.

– Yes.

– Russia and South Africa.

– South Africa, cool, correct.

– And I've met a new friend.

– Thank you.

– Lovely to meet you.

– And today we're gonna walk The Strand and hand out Hanes socks.

– I can't wait.

Let's do it.

(mellow upbeat music) – Blown away.

– Why? Why, Mr.

Horvath?- Because I have seen you connecting with homeless people like you were an outreach worker, but this is the first time you've ever done anything like this.

– Yep, I'm overwhelmed, wonderful.

– Yeah, but I mean, likethis last gentleman, you got down at his level, – Yeah.

– [Mark] you engaged inconversation all on your own, I didn't have anything to do with it, you wanted to talk to 'em.

– And he didn't speak good English and we still were able to communicate in the other languages he did speak and me with my English and Italian and we got there, we got there.

– Yeah, and what was his story? – He's been here for three years, he would really love to go back to Turkey, but due to lack of work opportunities, he finds himself here, but he's hoping to make ends meet, so that he can eventually go back.

– Yeah.

– But yeah.

– Now we've only walkeda couple of blocks.

– We haven't seen half, we haven't seen a fractionof what is out there and another gentleman we saw says he's come here from Edinburgh and he actually took the time to thank us for stopping and speaking to him, because he said very, very few people will stop and exchangeany word, even a hello, so it actually made hisday, that we stopped and said hello and gave him some socks.

– Fab.

– Brilliant.

– We're Face Timing, – Enjoy, students.

– in the middle of the street.

– There you go.

These are all these, oh, wow, hi! Hello darling, hi.

I wish you guys were here.

– As a rule, I normallydon't wake anybody up, when giving out socks, but on her own, Lore found a unique way to help somebody.

She stuffed his shoes with socks, when he wakes up, he'll have new socks.

(mellow upbeat music) I just got done spending timehanding out socks with Lore, now I'm gonna go see Lisa again.

She calls me the Old Fat Yankor the Old Loud, what is it, Old Loud Yank? Say hello.

– Hello.

– An amazing day, going out with Lore, handing out socks in Central London.

Then Lisa, who's Chief Exec of Doorway in Chippenham took me out for a proper, as they say Sunday roast, really, really an amazing day.

(mellow upbeat music) Day two in London.

I'm headed to a conference put on by Crisis, a charity here in theUK, that brought me over, I'm speaking in Wales, this is the Londonversion of the conference.

Really excited that get to hear about homelessness and solutions to end it and really grateful thatthey brought me over.

Crisis is the firstcharity that I know of, that championed research into messaging and they'd looked aroundto find a non-profit or charity in the homeless sector, that was doing messaging right and they were inspiredby Invisible People.

(dynamic upbeat music) I'm now in Cardiff, Wales, the first time I've ever been here.

I'm walking around in a strange country, a strange city, at least strange to me handing out Hanes socks, actually the Europeanversion of Hanes socks, they sent me a couple ofboxes, I'm so grateful and it all may be a little strange, if I've never done this before, but I've been doing itfor like 10 years now, so just thinking aboutthat is pretty amazing.

Anyways, I'm gonna go meetsome new homeless friends that are sleeping roughand explore the city.

(mellow upbeat music) There's people sleeping roughall over downtown Cardiff.

Hey, you guys need some socks? Walking around downtown Cardiff handing out socks, actually looking for Andy, his story last nightreached a lot of people.

– Why are you sleeping rough? Because problems in my life.

Why don't you get up and goand sleep somewhere else? Because I haven't gotnowhere else to sleep, got nowhere else to sleep.

– [Mark] People are so judgmental.

They don't know what it's like.

– You'd never believe howjudgmental they really are.

You're just the same as everybody else, you're just a human being, just to get by and when you're homeless, to try and get by is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

– What really blew meaway about Andy's story is how he talked aboutpeople being judgmental, it's the same in the United States, it's the same in Canada, same in the United Kingdom inLondon, I'm sure other cities.

Also interesting is peoplekind of took it the wrong way, what he was saying about food.

– People think that you wantfood, yeah, you do want food, but you want your own food, they passes you a Burger King, what if you don't want Burger King? What if you don't want, you know what I mean? I get passed about 15 Burger Kings a day, I get passed about 15 McDonald's a day, I don't eat 'em, I justchuck 'em in the bin.

– The point is homelesspeople have plenty of food, what they don't have is housing, what they don't have is a toothbrush, or wipes to stay clean, thingsthat could really help them, but instead people just keep on giving fast food, fast food, fast food and people have good intentions, but we need to educate people about the realities of homelessness.

I'm running into a challengeI've never faced before, so I like to give everybodytwo pairs of socks and I'm giving two pairs of socks and they're giving apair to their friends, but after I leave andthen I run into new people and they already have a pair of socks, so then I have to run back, 'cause they've got plentyof socks, thank you, Hanes, oh, my gosh and then I've got to run back and say hey guys, I've gotplenty, you can have two, you know, I've neverhad that happen before, I mean, normally a homeless person, it's rare that they'll take more than two, occasionally they'll ask for their friend or their girlfriend.

George works for Crisis, I'mhonored they brought me in, speaking at their event tomorrow.

– Mark is the inspirationfor a lot of our work, we're trying to reframe homelessness, – Oh, my gosh.

– make people think about human beings first, homeless people, a long way beyond that.

– I'm honored, totally honored.

(mellow upbeat music) Ed, you're living inCardiff, you're homeless, tell me about it.

– It's hard, it's hardwork, it's hard work, begging's illegal, even though I do beg, I don't have much choice in it, 'cause I have to make money.

I've been out nearly seven years, my ex-partner walked outthe door with both my kids and my best friend and a lot of money and there's no help, thereis no help for single men.

It's hell, it's like living in hell, it really is like living in hell and you know, going tobed hungry is no fun, – Yeah.

– it's no fun going to bed hungry.

– Putting on the socks.

– Yep.

(laughing) I've got no socks, so it's a godsend.

– [Mark] Oh, you didn't have any socks? – No.

– Oh, my gosh.

(mellow upbeat music) – Mark has to write his speech.

– I have, they're puttingme to work tomorrow.

– Exactly.

– And I'd better do good, otherwise, well, no, they'll probablyjust put me on the plane early, if I do bad.

– Exactly.

Doesn't go well, bye, thanks.

Mark's gonna smash it.

– What's really, talking to the Crisis Wales, Nick tonight, – Yeah, Nick.

– and he said two years ago, you didn't see the homelessthat you do around here.

– No, you don't, and loadsof cities are the same, it seems to have exploded recently, Cardiff maybe more than most, but yeah, it's extraordinary, it needs to stop.

– Well, tomorrow's a big day, I'm gonna go and try todo the song and dance.

George recommends that I do the mic drop.

– Yeah, sure.

– Horvath out.

– Horvath out.

– So we're doing that now.

I'm so excited, I'm walkingto the National Museum.

Crisis invited me tospeak at their conference.

If I can say something that will spark change, positive change in leaderswho can influence others, oh, my gosh, that's amazing.

(dynamic upbeat music) This video as of rightnow has had 40, 000 views and what's really amazing is it started a conversation on Reddit, where formerly homelesspeople are now commenting on their experiences of whatit was like being homeless and the world is watchingthat and it's creating change.

The outreach team is picking me up early, we're going out in Cardiff to serve breakfast to roughsleepers around the city and thanks to Hanes, we'll be giving socks, but first, the hotel just doesn'thave your normal entrance, cars can't pull up and then they didn'thave a cart this morning, so we grabbed a food cart and then this handle came off when I'm taking it down the stairs, but all good problems to have.

And this is Amy, – Hello, nice to meet you.

– and she knew me by the boxes.

Hey everybody, I'm here with Danielle, – Hi.

– and we're at The Wallich, right?- Yes.

– and what are we doing today? – We're doing street-based outreach for homeless people inCardiff city center, so we have got breakfast, coffee and then we try and supportpeople into accommodation.

– [Mark] So how many peopledo you see in a given day? – It depends, at the momentanything between 25 and 50.

Yesterday we saw about 38.

– [Mark] And how often do you go out? – Every day.

– [Mark] Every day you'regoing out serving breakfast? – Every day, including Christmas Day.

– [Mark] Awesome, tell meabout homelessness in Cardiff.

– Homelessness in Cardiffhas risen quite a lot steadily over the last few years.

It's quite a compact city and there are a lot of frontlineservices, which is good.

– [Mark] And why do you do this? – Why?- Yeah.

– I've been doing thisfor about eight years from my background asa drug worker anyway, we see a lot of substancemisuse with rough sleepers.

– Yeah, but why this?- Why this? – [Mark] Yeah, you couldbe a banker or a pilot or you know, there's a lotof different vocations, why helping people? – I don't know, everyonedeserves to be helped, I guess, I don't know.

– We were just talking aboutworkforce and lived experience.

– We are and at The Wallich, we believe that lived experience is really, really important, who better to help peopleout of homelessness than people who haveexperienced it themselves? So we have a commitment as a charity to employ people who havebeen homeless over experience, homelessness or being vulnerably housed and currently 17% of ourworkforce, we have 370 staff, 17% of our workforce haveexperienced homelessness and we are committed tomaking that 25% by 2020.

– That is so awesome.

– So our receptionist in our head office was formerly homeless, – Yeah.

– some of our outreach workers, some of our hostel workershave experienced it, so they know firsthand how to help people, it's not simply empathy, it's really important too.

– Yeah.

The city center, theyallowed the van to come in and Costa, I think I'm saying that right, provides coffee, so they'regoing up to get the coffee and providing a meal and coffee and today some Hanes socks.

(dynamic upbeat music) Driving through the pedestrian part here, there's a rough sleeper walked up and he's just in bad shape and I guess he had a strokeand he's still out here.

We gotta get these peopleoff the streets into housing.

Often outreach teamsdon't have the budgets to go out with tangible items to be able to provide real needs, it's okay to feed people, aslong as you're doing something to get them out of that situation, just going out and feedingpeople is not really responsible.

Also outreach teams, they just don't have the budgets to go out often with tangible items, so that The Wallich is going out every day including Christmas feeding breakfast, but also helping them get offthe streets, it's amazing.

Really grateful that the outreach team took me out on their breakfast run today.

You know, most people, when they go visit a newcity or a new country do tourist stuff, I do homeless stuff and I just think it's perfect.

(dynamic upbeat music) I'm starting my last day in London visiting Mencap, a charity that is one of my favorites.

A few years ago, theybrought me in for a month and not only did I go around and train a lot of theirstaff around the UK, but they also wanted todevelop social media programs for their clients withlearning disabilities and it was an awesome, awesome, awesome experience.

Things that I truly adore about walking into Mencap is the receptionist, probably the nicestreceptionist I've ever met, because she really takescare of people visiting and this is Joise.

– Thank you so much, what up, it's me.

– [Mark] How long have you worked here? – I've been here now over 25 years or a bit more.

– Wow! Wow! 'Cause I do remember youwhen I visited last time.

– Yes, I first started here, there was a flower shop across the road and now we're all inclusive, that's what it should've been like before, – Yeah.

– so yes, and now I'm on reception, there's a lot of stuff we can do, people have got tounderstand, we can do it too, practice and do it, yeah.

– Awesome.

– Yeah.

– [Mark] You make myday every time I visit.

– Yes.

– [Mark] I actually don't wanna leave, I just wanna hang outin the lobby with you.

– Thank you.

– This is Jackie, – Hello.

– and she runs comms here.

She just told me somethingthat I didn't know.

– Yeah, do you know what, Mark came how many years ago? – Yeah, four years ago.

– Four years ago and he spent some time helping us with our social media activity and we now have over200, 000 Twitter followers and it's all down to this man here.

– Wow, that is— So thank you very much.

– No, thank you, thank you.

(dynamic upbeat music) Hey everybody, this is Dave.

– Morning.

– And we know each otherthrough With One Voice, we spent a week together in Montreal, – Montreal.

– with a bunch of other like-minded people using art and music for activism and Dave slept rough righthere in this area in London.

– Yes, I did indeed, so we're gonna show youa few little places, which are literally as we justwalk across the road here, we're actually walking towards.

So I never know the name of this place, it's Shoreditch Church, whatever, St.

Leonard's, yeah, there you go, only I'm readingthe sign to tell you that.

But this is a great place forhomeless people in this area to go and get soup, food, clothing.

They also do art, yeah, art projects whilethey're eating as well, which I think is really important, but also attached to this is some venues, which are run by SCT, which is Spitalfields Crypt Trust, I have to get that one right, who do a project for ex-homeless addicts.

They have a live-in, permanent, I think it's18-month project, where you stay and you get recovery, you then get into work, they have the restoration store, where they restore furniture, which helps the fund and then just around the corner from that, we have Paper and Cups, which is voted the best coffee shop in London last year and it's run by ex-homelessaddicts as well.

– Really awesome, so how long were yousleeping rough out here? – So I was in this area foraround about six months, before I got into a homeless hostel, which I was in for anotheryear on top of that, so yeah, I love this area.

– It's my first timehere, it's really awesome.

– The thing is it's gottwo different sides, so you've got the gentrification side, which has sort of implodedinto this area now, but then you've also still got the social classes in this area, so they sort of battle between each other, which I think is quite nice in a way, but they tend to gel quite well, the only problem is now you're looking at three quid a coffee, – Yeah, yeah.

Yeah, yeah.

– which is that isn't good.

– Spending the last few hours in London handing out socks, justwent and saw Homer, gave him the extra suitcase that I had, then I almost just got hit by a bus, this wrong side of the roador other side of the road, I just don't get.

Then there's a sweet old lady, probably 70 years old livingoff one of these streets, by the looks of her, youwould never ever know that she's sleeping rough, but she says she's been out here 10 years, oh, my gosh, I'd do anything if I could, she's been sleeping rough 10 years.

I'm seeing the similarities in UK and United States as far as homelessness, there's lots of bureaucracy, lots of politics, but the bottom line is itall comes down to housing and we've got to get these people off the streets into housing.

(mellow upbeat music).