a reply to: trig_grl
I must state first, that I have slept rough for an extended period before. That is as clarification and to provide context to what I am about to say.
There is no need for a person who is sleeping rough, to do so outside dwelling places, and shopping venues. In fact, doing so places a homeless
person in more danger than they would be, if they had selected a good place to bed down. When one goes to select a place in ones locality, to bed down
for the night, one must consider the following things:
First, violence against the homeless, both by passers by and other homeless persons, can be a problem for someone living the hard life. Therefore, it
is best to select a patch where one is out of the way of foot traffic as much as possible, reducing the number of people who will potentially stroll
by, which in turn reduces the potential sources of violence that a rough sleeper might encounter. For that reason, I chose to sleep on a large
roundabout, which used to dominate the top end of the High Street in our local town center.
I made my bed against a tree there more often than not, and the area I had selected was surrounded on all sides by thick shrubs, which kept prying
eyes from locating me, and the foliage also provided shelter from rain and wind, not to mention being slightly warmer because of the plant and insect
life in the area.
When I did not sleep there, I slept under a pedestrian bridge which provided similar cover, save for the fact that the protection offered was
provided by concrete rather than by vegetation.
The other thing to ensure is that one never uses private property to doss down on. Public land is generally easier to access, far less likely to be
visited during the later hours of the day and the early hours of the morning, and therefore is statistically speaking, quite a bit safer for someone
living rough. You have to think tactically if you are living on the street, because otherwise you expose yourself to unnecessary risk, and THAT is
what gets a person shived in their sleep and robbed of what pathetic belongings one might have available to them, or worse.
So... the main things to look for are a place which allows for concealment from prying eyes as a priority, and shelter as a far secondary priority.
The example of that rebated area in the OP story, fails on the primary consideration of concealment, and only offers a little shelter anyway, and
therefore even at my most desperate, I would never consider bedding down in such a place. Whether you live in a high rise, penthouse suite or on the
dirtiest street in your city or town, stupidity is not acceptable, and you would have to be pretty stupid to select a bedding area which not only
fails to conceal you against being seen by potential sources of threat, but also offers very poor shelter from the elements, as the featured location
Also, a word on the anti-social behavior prevention element of the placement of these spikes. I currently live in a flat above the place I work. To
access it, one walks out through the back door of our shop, and up a flight of stairs. These stairs, during the summer months, are plauged with youths
toking on illicit smokeables, drinking beer they are not legally allowed to purchase, and occasionally (and only in the circumstance that both persons
are morally defunct, intellectually stunted morons) people screwing under them in amongst the filth. This practice particularly, is both upsetting for
those of us with some sort of sense of propriety, and is drastically unhealthy when you consider the biomechanical requirements of penetration, and
how enacting such a thing in a place which is frequented by stray cats, foxes, birds, and occasionally rats, should be quite obviously a bad idea.
Now, in the case of smoking and drinking on the stairs, this blocks the private access to the flats above, and creates tension between the residents
of the flats, and the kids on the stairs, some of whom are verbally abusive to the residents when they try to ascend. For some reason (I cannot think
why) I get very little of that, even when I inform them that they have approximately five minutes to leave the area, before I call the police and
start throwing them off the property. For other residents up here however, they appear quite intimidating as I am sure you can appreciate, and lets
face it, I am not always here to clear them out.
If the addition of spikes was not the enormous health and safety risk that it would be to legitimate users, then I would consider them a welcome
addition to the stairs, since they would be far less likely to be used as a place to sit and partake of illegal drugs, and illicitly obtained
beverages. The importance of a stair being flat and not having protrusions to trip on make use of these spikes in that place an impossibility.
The under stairs area however, would be a PERFECT candidate for the addition of such things, since no one goes there, aside from to engage in the most
ill advised sexual pursuits ever enacted since Katie Price lost her virginity.
In short, the homeless have a raw deal, but having been there myself in various states of mental disrepair, I can tell you that it is NOT necessary,
and is infact counter productive, for a homeless person to use areas like those being fitted with these spikes, as a bedding place.