Crisp packets for the homeless

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discovolante
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Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by discovolante » Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:02 am

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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by Boustrophedon » Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:01 pm

discovolante wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:02 am
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-54888102

Top marks for inventiveness.
Given that reflective aluminised blankets can be had from as little as 40p in bulk, it seems a little bit like hard work to me.
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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by Fishnut » Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:30 pm

I saw people talking about crisp packet blankets on twitter a few days ago. This tweet in particular stuck with me. It seems to have started with this woman back in February. I get the desire to want to help but this seems like a classic example of doing something for yourself, not for those you claim to want to help. Four hours to make a 'bivi bag' from crisp packets??? What a waste of time and electricity. I don't want to sh.t on the work of Miley Porritt, or Pen Hutson or any of the other people who are trying to help but it really makes me sad and a bit angry that providing people with rubbish is seen as (and probably is) compassionate. As Don pointed out, proper aluminised blankets can be purchased for a next to nothing.

We need to do something about the homeless. The last time I was in Bristol the number of people on the streets was shocking (I swear the numbers go up every time I go in). We showed it's possible to house everyone during the last lockdown so why did we kick them all back onto the streets when it ended? It's another example of not using the lockdown to get services in place that would be needed going forward.

I feel hypocritical complaining about this given I'm not doing anything to help, but I just can't see how giving someone a blanket made of literal rubbish is supposed to make anyone feel better, either physically or mentally.

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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by EACLucifer » Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:44 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:30 pm
I feel hypocritical complaining about this given I'm not doing anything to help, but I just can't see how giving someone a blanket made of literal rubbish is supposed to make anyone feel better, either physically or mentally.
This. And a donation to a relevant charity is of far more use.

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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by nezumi » Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:53 pm

I'm still totally confused about how we can't give literally everyone a roof over their head. It's not really much to ask. It doesn't have to be an actual house, it can be a basic bedsit in a well-lit and secure block. Not for people to make lives in, just to give them a step up to something permanent. Not that expensive and not exactly rocket science.

There are shedloads of office blocks standing empty. If we, as a country, really wanted it to happen we could make it happen. And yet we don't because ideology.

Bah!

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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by Fishnut » Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:59 pm

nezumi wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:53 pm
I'm still totally confused about how we can't give literally everyone a roof over their head. It's not really much to ask. It doesn't have to be an actual house, it can be a basic bedsit in a well-lit and secure block. Not for people to make lives in, just to give them a step up to something permanent. Not that expensive and not exactly rocket science.

There are shedloads of office blocks standing empty. If we, as a country, really wanted it to happen we could make it happen. And yet we don't because ideology.

Bah!
Not only could we do it, we have done it. We got pretty much all the homeless people off the streets during the lockdown. Why that time wasn't used to provision ongoing services and accommodation I honestly don't know. Except I do. We can't be seen to give "handouts" can we? Can't have feckless people taking unearned services. Look at the fight to get poor kids fed over the school holidays. And they're kids!

God we're an awful country at times.

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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:59 pm

I can understand the bloke in question wanting to do something personally, as it says he was homeless for five years and he's only 23 now. That's f.cked.

The appeal for washed crisp packets came from organisations working with the homeless and went to their supporters, who are hopefully already doing more than just eating crisps, and I expect they know that they can use the sleeping bag liners.

They'll get incredibly humid, though. Wouldn't be my first choice of material, but then again sleeping on the streets in a sleeping bag wouldn't be my first choice of anything much anyway, so I'd probably take whatever I could get while I wait for the chattering classes' donations to trickle down.

Homelessness has skyrocketed in the UK since Universal Credit, and it's going to get worse in the coming covid+Brexit recessions.

I hope this thread serves as a handy reminder to those who haven't got round to setting up their automatic monthly donations to homeless organisations yet. It's also served as a handy reminder to me to eat some crisps.
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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by OneOffDave » Fri Nov 13, 2020 3:54 pm

I did wonder if it was much more a case of "if we doe it with the crisp packets as opposed to ordinary foil blankets that will get the media more interested" which isn't a bad thing

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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:01 pm

When I'm doing slightly gross fieldwork I use an old duvet cover as a sleeping bag liner. I'm pretty sure charity shops have loads of them that could be obtained for next to nothing. Army surplus bivy bags (to go outside the sleeping bag) are about a tenner, possibly cheaper in bulk.

So buying the relevant equivalent would be more efficient than spending hours ironing crisp packets IFF the capital and distributional resources are available, though I'm honestly not sure if they would be.

Definitely a media- and internet-friendly story though, and I agree with OOD that that's a good thing. Everyone loves a good crisp story.
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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by sTeamTraen » Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:58 pm

While we're on the topic of helping people in the most efficient way possible: It really annoys me, especially at this time of year, to see food bank donation drives where they get people to donate a can of beans or a packet of pasta.

I think the idea of donating actual food comes from some amalgam of school harvest festivals and "helping starving people in Africa", but in a modern Western situation it's silly because there is no shortage of actual food(*). The £2 you spend on a couple of tins or packets would buy 5 or 6 of the same if given in cash, bypassing not only the shareholders of Tesco but also the need to pay someone to put it on a shelf and ring it up at a till. Plus, a volunteer wouldn't have to sort it, check the best before date, etc, for each separate container.

At the French food bank where I used to volunteer, we would usually smile politely and sigh when people brought in "helpful" donations. Our yoghurts came straight from the Danone factory, in the same pots as the retail version (food bank clients, quite reasonably, *love* to be given premium branded products) and with the outer packaging addressed directly to us. 120 count, straight onto the refrigerated shelves for the clients to help themselves (within their points limit).

(*) May not completely apply in the UK after 31 December 2020
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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by discovolante » Fri Nov 13, 2020 11:19 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:30 pm
I saw people talking about crisp packet blankets on twitter a few days ago. This tweet in particular stuck with me. It seems to have started with this woman back in February.
It goes back much further than that - the BBC article links to similar articles from 2011.
I get the desire to want to help but this seems like a classic example of doing something for yourself, not for those you claim to want to help. Four hours to make a 'bivi bag' from crisp packets??? What a waste of time and electricity. I don't want to sh.t on the work of Miley Porritt, or Pen Hutson or any of the other people who are trying to help but it really makes me sad and a bit angry that providing people with rubbish is seen as (and probably is) compassionate. As Don pointed out, proper aluminised blankets can be purchased for a next to nothing.
As BOAF has said, Miley Porritt has been homeless for basically all of his adult life until a year ago, at which point he finally got a flat, set up his own ironing business and is now doing this. Obviously that doesn't make him 'right' and I only have the info in the story but I think to some extent there's something to be said for people who have experienced homelessness being involved in homelessness-related work, if that's what they want to do. I shared this story with my department at work (who are interested in this sort of thing) along the lines of sleeping in crisp packets not exactly being a good news story and the reaction was unsurprisingly a bit mixed.
We need to do something about the homeless. The last time I was in Bristol the number of people on the streets was shocking (I swear the numbers go up every time I go in).
Lots of people are trying to do this, to be fair. I'm quite happy to pin nearly all of the blame on the government for this, at least at the moment.
We showed it's possible to house everyone during the last lockdown so why did we kick them all back onto the streets when it ended? It's another example of not using the lockdown to get services in place that would be needed going forward.
We didn't though, unfortunately. A lot of people were put in hotels and B&Bs, which is not the same as housing people - see e.g. here and here. It's better than melted crisp packets but it still wasn't a solution. Again I'm only really speaking from a Scottish perspective (although it is much colder here, brrr) but there are issues going on right now with legislation setting out what is defined as suitable accommodation for people (e.g. shared facilities etc), which is a mixture of issues that have been going on for years and years and those that have become acute as a result of coronavirus. And any legislation that passes will be breached repeatedly by councils anyway, as it always is. Which of course in itself comes back to tensions with local v central government, funding etc. I haven't been involve directly in homelessness work recently but I get the impression that a lot of councils used coronavirus as a reason to hide behind pre-existing failures to provide people with appropriate accommodation. However yes the issue is systemic and not just related to coronavirus, although it does vary a bit from council to council and it's much worse in some council areas than others.
I feel hypocritical complaining about this given I'm not doing anything to help, but I just can't see how giving someone a blanket made of literal rubbish is supposed to make anyone feel better, either physically or mentally.
Well if you have no disposable income and you can't volunteer anywhere because of the pandemic, then you don't need to feel bad.
nezumi wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:53 pm
I'm still totally confused about how we can't give literally everyone a roof over their head. It's not really much to ask. It doesn't have to be an actual house, it can be a basic bedsit in a well-lit and secure block. Not for people to make lives in, just to give them a step up to something permanent. Not that expensive and not exactly rocket science.

There are shedloads of office blocks standing empty. If we, as a country, really wanted it to happen we could make it happen. And yet we don't because ideology.

Bah!
Mediocrity knows much more about this than me but Housing First is being tried in some areas and a consultation has recently opened in Scotland: https://www.scottishhousingnews.com/art ... n-scotland (there is a link to it on that page). But yes I agree. No strings attached (or as few strings attached as possible) housing is worth a punt. I'm working for some people who have an absolute ton of sh.t to deal with, and although to some extent they might not have sought help if they weren't facing eviction, the arbitrary nature of 'sort this out by this court hearing date or you might be evicted' isn't exactly conducive to helping people get into the frame of mind where they feel like there might be a way out of their situation.
sTeamTraen wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:58 pm
While we're on the topic of helping people in the most efficient way possible: It really annoys me, especially at this time of year, to see food bank donation drives where they get people to donate a can of beans or a packet of pasta.

I think the idea of donating actual food comes from some amalgam of school harvest festivals and "helping starving people in Africa", but in a modern Western situation it's silly because there is no shortage of actual food(*). The £2 you spend on a couple of tins or packets would buy 5 or 6 of the same if given in cash, bypassing not only the shareholders of Tesco but also the need to pay someone to put it on a shelf and ring it up at a till. Plus, a volunteer wouldn't have to sort it, check the best before date, etc, for each separate container.

At the French food bank where I used to volunteer, we would usually smile politely and sigh when people brought in "helpful" donations. Our yoghurts came straight from the Danone factory, in the same pots as the retail version (food bank clients, quite reasonably, *love* to be given premium branded products) and with the outer packaging addressed directly to us. 120 count, straight onto the refrigerated shelves for the clients to help themselves (within their points limit).

(*) May not completely apply in the UK after 31 December 2020
I may be wrong about this but I think part of the issue is that food banks that operate under the Trussell Trust don't actually directly see the money that people donate to the Trussell Trust. So that means setting up a donation page, hoping people will look for it etc, rather than just having a box near the checkout that people can chuck a few things in - and during non-pandemic times, occasionally being handed leaflets to tell them what to buy. And food banks are mostly pretty clear that you shouldn't be buying perishables. So yeah liquid is probably better than non-liquid but to an extent I would have thought that food bank charities have decided that they are going to get a better return by asking people to donate physical items rather than cash, so why fight against the tide.
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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by discovolante » Fri Nov 13, 2020 11:19 pm

Also I'm going to move this thread to Weighty Matters.
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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by Fishnut » Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:13 am

discovolante wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 11:19 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:30 pm
I saw people talking about crisp packet blankets on twitter a few days ago. This tweet in particular stuck with me. It seems to have started with this woman back in February.
It goes back much further than that - the BBC article links to similar articles from 2011.
I get the desire to want to help but this seems like a classic example of doing something for yourself, not for those you claim to want to help. Four hours to make a 'bivi bag' from crisp packets??? What a waste of time and electricity. I don't want to sh.t on the work of Miley Porritt, or Pen Hutson or any of the other people who are trying to help but it really makes me sad and a bit angry that providing people with rubbish is seen as (and probably is) compassionate. As Don pointed out, proper aluminised blankets can be purchased for a next to nothing.
As BOAF has said, Miley Porritt has been homeless for basically all of his adult life until a year ago, at which point he finally got a flat, set up his own ironing business and is now doing this. Obviously that doesn't make him 'right' and I only have the info in the story but I think to some extent there's something to be said for people who have experienced homelessness being involved in homelessness-related work, if that's what they want to do. I shared this story with my department at work (who are interested in this sort of thing) along the lines of sleeping in crisp packets not exactly being a good news story and the reaction was unsurprisingly a bit mixed.
We need to do something about the homeless. The last time I was in Bristol the number of people on the streets was shocking (I swear the numbers go up every time I go in).
Lots of people are trying to do this, to be fair. I'm quite happy to pin nearly all of the blame on the government for this, at least at the moment.
We showed it's possible to house everyone during the last lockdown so why did we kick them all back onto the streets when it ended? It's another example of not using the lockdown to get services in place that would be needed going forward.
We didn't though, unfortunately. A lot of people were put in hotels and B&Bs, which is not the same as housing people - see e.g. here and here. It's better than melted crisp packets but it still wasn't a solution. Again I'm only really speaking from a Scottish perspective (although it is much colder here, brrr) but there are issues going on right now with legislation setting out what is defined as suitable accommodation for people (e.g. shared facilities etc), which is a mixture of issues that have been going on for years and years and those that have become acute as a result of coronavirus. And any legislation that passes will be breached repeatedly by councils anyway, as it always is. Which of course in itself comes back to tensions with local v central government, funding etc. I haven't been involve directly in homelessness work recently but I get the impression that a lot of councils used coronavirus as a reason to hide behind pre-existing failures to provide people with appropriate accommodation. However yes the issue is systemic and not just related to coronavirus, although it does vary a bit from council to council and it's much worse in some council areas than others.
I feel hypocritical complaining about this given I'm not doing anything to help, but I just can't see how giving someone a blanket made of literal rubbish is supposed to make anyone feel better, either physically or mentally.
Well if you have no disposable income and you can't volunteer anywhere because of the pandemic, then you don't need to feel bad.
nezumi wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:53 pm
I'm still totally confused about how we can't give literally everyone a roof over their head. It's not really much to ask. It doesn't have to be an actual house, it can be a basic bedsit in a well-lit and secure block. Not for people to make lives in, just to give them a step up to something permanent. Not that expensive and not exactly rocket science.

There are shedloads of office blocks standing empty. If we, as a country, really wanted it to happen we could make it happen. And yet we don't because ideology.

Bah!
Mediocrity knows much more about this than me but Housing First is being tried in some areas and a consultation has recently opened in Scotland: https://www.scottishhousingnews.com/art ... n-scotland (there is a link to it on that page). But yes I agree. No strings attached (or as few strings attached as possible) housing is worth a punt. I'm working for some people who have an absolute ton of sh.t to deal with, and although to some extent they might not have sought help if they weren't facing eviction, the arbitrary nature of 'sort this out by this court hearing date or you might be evicted' isn't exactly conducive to helping people get into the frame of mind where they feel like there might be a way out of their situation.
sTeamTraen wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:58 pm
While we're on the topic of helping people in the most efficient way possible: It really annoys me, especially at this time of year, to see food bank donation drives where they get people to donate a can of beans or a packet of pasta.

I think the idea of donating actual food comes from some amalgam of school harvest festivals and "helping starving people in Africa", but in a modern Western situation it's silly because there is no shortage of actual food(*). The £2 you spend on a couple of tins or packets would buy 5 or 6 of the same if given in cash, bypassing not only the shareholders of Tesco but also the need to pay someone to put it on a shelf and ring it up at a till. Plus, a volunteer wouldn't have to sort it, check the best before date, etc, for each separate container.

At the French food bank where I used to volunteer, we would usually smile politely and sigh when people brought in "helpful" donations. Our yoghurts came straight from the Danone factory, in the same pots as the retail version (food bank clients, quite reasonably, *love* to be given premium branded products) and with the outer packaging addressed directly to us. 120 count, straight onto the refrigerated shelves for the clients to help themselves (within their points limit).

(*) May not completely apply in the UK after 31 December 2020
I may be wrong about this but I think part of the issue is that food banks that operate under the Trussell Trust don't actually directly see the money that people donate to the Trussell Trust. So that means setting up a donation page, hoping people will look for it etc, rather than just having a box near the checkout that people can chuck a few things in - and during non-pandemic times, occasionally being handed leaflets to tell them what to buy. And food banks are mostly pretty clear that you shouldn't be buying perishables. So yeah liquid is probably better than non-liquid but to an extent I would have thought that food bank charities have decided that they are going to get a better return by asking people to donate physical items rather than cash, so why fight against the tide.
Thanks for such a great post!

I definitely agree that centring people who've experienced homelessness in homelessness related work is something we should be encouraging, which is one reason why I didn't want to outright criticise. It's remarkable what Miley Porritt's been able to achieve and I have the utmost respect for him. The fact he's wanting to help others in the same situation he was in is humbling.

I'm definitely with you on pinning most of the blame on the government. I have vague memories of massive homelessness in the early 90s with lots of people sleeping rough, and then it started going away, only to come back again around a decade or so ago. While I wouldn't want to make any spurious correlations I do note that there seems to be a trend of increasing homelessness when the blue party is in power and decreasing when it's the red party. Funny that.

I know that a lot of the people housed during the lockdown were in accommodation that wasn't suitable for the long-term, but it's a clear proof of concept. I've heard good things about Housing First schemes. I really wish the government had used the lockdown as an opportunity to do something about homelessness, but as with everything else, they squandered the time. I would say that councils should take on the responsibility where the government has reneged on theirs but they have no slack in their budgets to be able to do so. f.cking austerity has parred everything to the bone and then some, so now we've got real crises there's no resources to drawn on.

As for foodbanks (at least Trussell Trust ones), my understanding is that they can't take cash donations, only goods. Our local ones have been in such high demand that they have started taking perishable goods (our new allotment agreement notes that we can donate produce to them, for example) though I think those are direct donations only rather than putting a bag of carrots in the supermarket collection points. I live in a fairly affluent area and knowing how in demand the local foodbank was even before lockdown makes me so worried for those in less well off areas. If we have this level of demand how on earth are other areas coping?

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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by Stephanie » Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:16 am

Yes, my local food bank has a gofundme for donations, but, as disco explained they also ask for goods. I'm doing their Christmas hamper thing this year (as I did last year), and donate to their gofundme where I can.
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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by mediocrity511 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:00 am

Also worth pointing out that there could be massive issues this winter because the usual winter night shelter scheme is totally not covid secure. In our city, the usual night shelter scheme rotates around various church halls over the winter, with basically people just crashing on camp beds. They really should have made sure no one was rough sleeping befpre the cold weather hits.

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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by sTeamTraen » Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:30 am

Thanks to those who clarified the cash donations issue. It seems a shame if they can't take cash. I hope that the Trussell Trust can make good use of £20 to run their centralised operations anyway.

If I were to make an in-kind donation, I think I would go for toiletries, which food banks also distribute. The effect on client morale when we had a nice array of branded toothpaste or shower gel was considerable. Ditto sanitary towels, which have no sell-by date, and which women who have to choose between buying those or food for their kids may sometimes forego, as I was told during my eye-opening volunteer stints. :(
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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by EACLucifer » Sat Nov 14, 2020 2:31 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:30 am
If I were to make an in-kind donation, I think I would go for toiletries, which food banks also distribute. The effect on client morale when we had a nice array of branded toothpaste or shower gel was considerable. Ditto sanitary towels, which have no sell-by date, and which women who have to choose between buying those or food for their kids may sometimes forego, as I was told during my eye-opening volunteer stints. :(
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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by Sciolus » Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:25 pm

Or check what your local foodbank needs at the moment.

They seem happy to take food donations or money. I sort of assumed cash would be more cost-effective but that's probably me being a physicist.

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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by Herainestold » Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:06 pm

Sciolus wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:25 pm
Or check what your local foodbank needs at the moment.

They seem happy to take food donations or money. I sort of assumed cash would be more cost-effective but that's probably me being a physicist.
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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:30 pm

dafuq? Nobody wants bitcoin.
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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by EACLucifer » Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:32 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:30 pm
dafuq? Nobody wants bitcoin.
I'm increasingly confident he may just be a troll. Or possibly a troll who is also a genuine apologist for fascism.

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Re: Crisp packets for the homeless

Post by nekomatic » Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:30 pm

I read it as a joke

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