Just walk on by?

At this time of year it’s a chilly walk to my car from the office.

What gets me through the rush hour traffic, is the cosiness of warmth when I open my front door.

That lovely feel of heat that blows the cold from my face.

The sound of miaows from the happy but hungry cats – who are always ready for food.

Calling out to my gorgeous tee and hearing her tired but happy hello – dog walkers do a lot of steps every day!

We love getting in the kitchen to cook something fulfilling – being followed around the kitchen by the hungry happy cats.

Our home isn’t perfect, there’s long overdue DIY to do, but it’s our home.

It keeps us warm and dry, safe and happy – so like most, our home really is our kingdom.

We are, in many ways, lucky.

I say lucky as there are countless people in the same position – but too many who are not.

Those people currently, and those many luckless ones in the future, have seen and will see many blank hardened faces pass by them.

Quickening a step, crossing the road, feigning a phone call – anything for their eyes to remain falsely honest.

The homeless who breathe, think, talk – are people.

But for one reason or another, whether it’s bad luck or personal choice – are on the streets.

As a kid in Neath, we had Bernard – I remember him being actually quite funny and harmless.

There were stories of him being an artist, I don’t know if they were true – but I remember him being a larger than life character.

Tee had the same memory growing up in Barry – although his name was Bepo and he always wore ten coats.

While living in Peterborough Tee also told me a tragic story of Nobby who had what most of us had.

But a terrible fire robbed him of his home, his family and ended his days rejecting life, living in a bus shelter.

Yet rather than complaining about their unexpected neighbour, his new community embraced him – often taking him food.

These may not all be factual stories but they breathe life, whether hardship or happy times, into the hudles of balls of people on our streets.

The next time you pass someone on the street, if you don’t already – see them as who they are – like us in our lucky warm homes – they as we are the same – living breathing humans.

Label people what you will – homeless, tramp, hobo – these are just nouns that make us invisible to the people on the streets just asking for help.

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