Down & Out in Bournemouth & Poole: Day 3 – It’s raining outside


Richard has drawn up a list of items of clothing he will need, such as his trainers to replace the sandals repaired with staples and sellotape, which he has been walking around town in all weekend. He is trying and failing to get some sleep, his anxiety levels have ratcheted up, his work clothes are still in the room he didn’t anticipate leaving behind. If he can’t get fresh work clothes he can’t go to work and he’s on a zero hours contract. 

Then there is his bank card which is still in the room, so even if friends or family deposit money in his account he can’t access it. Then of course there is my account pin number which I haven’t had time to memorise and is also still in the room,so I can’t access any cash either at short notice. And of course the last bit of cash we had the landlord took as rent before he evicted us.

The first thing we do today is contact the police who are busier than ever due to the government cuts. Our needs are way down on their list as a consequence but they do make an effort to contact the landlord and arrange our next visit so we can pick up more of our belongings.

On a Monday morning, after a reasonably pleasant weekend we’ve to head down to the civic centre to make the housing office aware of our situation and see what they can do to help us. However,my housing benefit claim is still outstanding, the housing stock of Poole Borough Council is limited and we’ve yet to ascertain how much they know about the local situation with regards to hostels and charity provision for the homeless. A local church runs a charity called ‘Roots to Roots’ so they might be able to give us a clearer picture of what services are available to us.

It will be raining most of today and I don’t have a clue where we will be sleeping tonight. At least our household belongings are being kept within our ex-landlord’s attic, on pain of his being charged with theft by the police.

Good news! Poole Borough Council has finally processed my housing benefit claim so a backdated payment is due and will be paid in roughly ten days. In short, we’ve only to get through the next ten days in Poole, sleeping rough and then we’re rolling in clover!

I can’t help but to wonder what’s going to happen when young people who might have been reliant on such payments find that getting them is no longer an option, thanks to the government’s welfare bill. More good news! A relative has loaned us some money to pay for one more night at the B & B. It looks as if sporadically, for the time being, this will be our makeshift home.

Later in the evening we receive a belligerent text from our former landlord who asserts he will not give us access to our belongings, brays on about the damage we are now supposed to have inflicted on his property and insinuates that more money will be due for the imagined damage as well as the continued storage of our property. How to react to this? A couple of ciders and a fish supper.