Manchester
Street Poem

Street Poem is a growing collection of stories from people who have first hand experience of what it means to be homeless. This web site is the result of people coming together to create a collective understanding of homelessness through the lens of our shared humanity

The poem is the people; their lives are the narrative. The recordings of people’s voices and their photographs work together, creating one world that suggests the possibility of another.

It is shared, communal and evolving. The experiences of some citizens reach out to others with the hope of a different future, created together.

Acting differently starts with thinking differently, and art is a mysterious shortcut to help us take on these new perspectives.

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Sheena

It was harrowing, having to drag up all the past. It wasn’t easy, but I felt like I got a load lifted from my shoulders by saying it all, when it all come out as they say. Yeah, I was pretty chuffed with myself for doing that, and it did it helped me a lot to move forwards. Yeah, it was good. I now know that I wasn’t the bad person.

David

Yeah, I never let things get me down. I always try and think positively. I’m very considerate and empathetic of other people. Whatever strengths I’ve got, If I can help somebody else along the way then that gives me a positive feeling and a buzz that my efforts have helped someone into employment and got their self sorted out basically. That is the main goal at the end of the day obviously.

Norm

In 2011 I committed a crime that I knew would end in a jail sentence. My wife and I split up, and split our money up too, and I left the family home. I had decided to have a final fling and spend all my cash on one last holiday. So with about two thousand pounds in my pocket, and a full tank of petrol, I set off for my favourite part of the UK, Llandudno.

Peter

I tried to commit suicide, and thought, I went back into the hospital voluntary, and I went, I did another three times voluntary, going in, three times I attempted suicide and… Obviously, I didn’t succeed, I’m still here.

Aziz

I come to London, I start working illegally; if I get cash in hand, I work. I was there during that time, that is the way I live, cash in hand, I work, I work, I work.

Rob

I got kicked out of my mum’s, six, seven years ago and, er, I ended up at the Salvation Army hostel in Manchester for two years, and then I was in various, er, housing, er, kind of schemes, then.

Er, basically, I got on the waiting list for housing, I was in the wrong band, which is why it took three years to get this flat, so, yeah, I’ve been there four years now, so it’s going alright.

Sheena

Some can be a bit… I mean, it depends what they’ve been through. If they’ve been through a lot of mistrust with people, and suffered a lot of abuse from people, and been kicked from door, to door, to door, to door, it takes time to build up that trust. So as long as that takes, it takes as long as it takes, it’s as simple as that. Yeah. So yeah, it depends on the individual, you know.

Danny

And then, come back, had a third wife, no kids, but I just found it very hard to settle in life. So I went off again, just drifting, and I ended up back on the streets again, living rough, living in forests. I spent six months living in a, literally, in a forest. And just become a man of the ground, so went back to nature.