BATCH OF NEW 500 MILLION DOLLAR NOTES FOR THE HOMELESS
Filmmaker predicts danger on eve of homelessness assignment where he died living rough VIDEO
Film-maker found dead while sleeping rough during homeless documentary died of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome
Lee Halpin, 26, had been staying in a derelict house in Newcastle as part of a film about life on the streets
A young film-maker who was found dead while sleeping rough for a project on homelessness died from natural causes, a coroner said today.
Lee Halpin's unresponsive body was discovered by a homeless man he had befriended in a derelict house in the West End of Newcastle, where they had slept during a bitterly cold spell in April.
Mr Halpin was making a film on life on the streets and planned to sleep rough for a week.
An inquest in Newcastle found he died as a result of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome after a pathologist ruled out other causes.
Coroner Karen Dilks concluded that Mr Halpin, who was hoping to win an internship with Channel 4 as an investigative journalist, died from natural causes.
The day before he started making his rough-sleeping film, Mr Halpin recorded a poignant message as part of his application to Channel 4, and posted it on YouTube.
He said: "I am about to go and spend a week being homeless in the West End of Newcastle.
"I will sleep rough for a week, scrounge for my food, access the services that other homeless individuals in the West End use.
"I will interact with as many homeless people as possible and immerse myself in that lifestyle as deeply as I can.
"I hope that you perceive this to be a fearless approach to a story.
"It certainly feels brave from where I am sat right now, about to embark on this documentary tomorrow morning.
"It has certainly caused a huge amount of trepidation among my family and friends who do think it is a brave thing to do.
"That's the impression I want to leave you with about my willingness to get to the heart of a story."
The inquest at Newcastle Civic Centre heard that Mr Halpin spent one night sleeping near a city centre roundabout, and was then invited by a homeless man called Daniel McEwan to spend the next night in a derelict property in Westgate Road.
The next morning, Mr McEwan found he was cold and unresponsive and raised the alarm.Detective Sergent Nick Walker, who investigated Mr Halpin's death, said the derelict building had no heating and it was so cold he could see his breath when he went inside.
Mr Halpin had been to a city centre pub the night before and drank alcohol, but was not drunk and consumed far less than a lethal amount, the inquest heard.
The only drugs found in his system were anti-depressants he was prescribed following the break-up of a relationship.
DS Walker told the coroner that Mr Halpin was apparently healthy, but had placed himself in an unfamiliar situation, undertaking "a hard lifestyle at the time when the UK was experiencing particularly cold weather".
But he did not die from hypothermia, Dr Gemma Kemp, a specialist registrar in forensic pathology, said. She also ruled out any third party involvement in his death.
After telling the coroner that Mr Halpin died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, where his heart stopped despite not having any obvious disease, she added: "This is a diagnosis of exclusion. You have to rule out everything else."
Dr Mary Sheppard, a national heart expert from the Royal Brompton Hospital, looked at the case and agreed with Dr Kemp's findings.
The coroner said Dr Mary Shepherd advised: "This could have occurred at any time or place. The circumstances in which Lee was living played no part, in her opinion."
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50,000 British face eviction over ConDem scum and filth's bedroom tax
Tories / Libdems social cleansing on the grandest of scales even Hitler would be proud of. So
where will they go next? the nearest gas chamber?
More than 50,000 people affected by the so-called bedroom tax have fallen behind on rent and face eviction, figures given to The Independent show.
The statistics reveal the scale of debt created by the Government’s under-occupancy charge, as one council house tenant in three has been pushed into rent arrears since it was introduced in April.
Figures provided by 114 local authorities across Britain after Freedom of Information (FoI) requests by the campaign group False Economy show the impact of the bedroom tax over its first four months. The total number of affected council tenants across Britain is likely to be much higher than the 50,000 recorded in the sample of local authorities that responded to the FoI.
At least another 30,000 people living in housing association properties have also fallen behind on rent payments since the bedroom tax came in, with potentially tens of thousands more also affected, according to separate research by the National Housing Federation.
Barrow in Cumbria was the worst-affected area, where more than three-quarters of all council-house tenants have fallen into arrears since the bedroom tax started. In Clackmannanshire, Tamworth and South Kesteven more than half of all affected households have fallen behind on their rent since the charge was introduced.
The shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Liam Byrne, said: “These appalling figures prove that while this government stands up for a privileged few, a debt bombshell is exploding for a generation of people.
“While the nation’s millionaires get a huge tax cut, thousands more now confront arrears and eviction from which they’ll never recover. This is final proof that the hated tax must be dropped now.”
Responding to the figures highlighted by The Independent, Mr Byrne told the BBC that "thousands and thousands of our neighbours are being pushed into foodbanks and into the hands of loan sharks because of this vicious policy”.
"The vast majority of people living in these homes are people with a disability. Hitting largely disabled people with this horrific tax and plunging them into debt - surely the message and the conclusion is very clear - we need to drop this tax, and drop it now," he said.
He asked where people should move to, highlighting research published by the Labour party earlier in the year that suggested there were not suitable alternative homes for 90 per cent of those affected by the bedroom tax.
The bedroom tax penalises tenants if they have a “spare” bedroom by reducing their housing benefit by up to 25 per cent. As emergency funds from councils dry up, experts warn the situation is expected to deteriorate further over the coming months. The latest revelations are a further blow for the policy after a judge ruled last week that those with a smaller extra room would be exempt from the charge.
A smaller survey published last night found that one household in four hit by the bedroom tax has been pushed into rent arrears for the first time. Just over half of the 63,578 tenants of 51 housing associations were unable to meet their rent payments in the first months of the new system, according to research by the National Housing Federation.
The United Nations’ special rapporteur on housing Raquel Rolnik called for a rethink on the policy after finding the reform was causing “great stress and anxiety” to “very vulnerable” people.
Clifford Singer, campaign manager for False Economy, said: “Together with the raft of other benefits cuts the Government has forced through both this year and previously, the bedroom tax is driving tenants and families who were just making ends meet into arrears, and pushing those who were already struggling with the cost of living into a full-blown crisis.”
Only 16 of the 114 local authorities who responded to the FoI request have a “no-eviction” policy, meaning many thousands of families risk losing their homes as a result of the bedroom tax.
The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “The bedroom tax is not saving money. Instead it is pushing up rent arrears which will force councils to waste more cash on evictions, debt collection and emergency support for homeless families.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “The removal of the spare-room subsidy is a necessary reform to return fairness to housing benefit. Even after the reform we pay over 80 per cent of most claimants’ housing benefit – but the taxpayer can no longer afford to pay for people to live in properties larger than they need. It is right that people contribute to these costs, just as private renters do.”
Toni Bloomfield, 25, lives in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, with her partner, Paul Bolton, 42, and his four children.
“I have to pay £98 extra a month since the bedroom tax came in,” she said. “We’ve got a four-bedroom house and Paul’s four children, aged between two and eight, live with us. Before the school holidays we were struggling and now we’re nearly three months behind on rent.
“The children get free school meals and feeding them through the holidays was tough. Paul and I are only eating in the evenings two or three nights a week to make sure we can put enough food on the table. We're not working, but not out of choice. Trying to find a full-time job here is a nightmare.”
One more family homeless in America (The land of the free?) VIDEO
Why is Obama spending billions on his spymasters at the NSA, billions on worthless space junk for NASA and trillions on global warmongering via the Military Industrial Complex when millions of
families are struggling on the streets of America?
WARNING: This video will mess you up!
Being on a road trip focusing on homeless youth it was important to tell the story of the homelessness you don't see - the millions of American families living in weekly rate hotels just barley one step from street homelessness. In fact, when I met this wonderful family today, they were packing up to leave and live in their car. The hotel had given them one day's grace, but they were completely out of money with no place to go. I am still emotional thinking about it even hours later. Truth is, thousands upon thousands of families face being evicted from a hotel to the streets every single day! This family was lucky. I tweet out what I call a "Hail Mary" and a generous heart stepped up and donated a weeks stay. That too messed me up!
Michael, Danielle, and their six children live in one hotel room near St Louis. Michael works a full time job, and they used to rent a house, but their landlord didn't pay the mortgage. After the bank took the property back, Michael, Danielle, and their six children were evicted with no place to go.
Hotel homelessness becomes a trap. Hotel's cost more than an apartment, but you can move right in without deposit, and a hotel room is far better than the streets. Once in, people who are considered the working poor, have an impossible time trying to save up enough money to afford adequate housing. Often these hotels are not a good place for kids to grow up.
There is a lot of emotion in this video. I get messed up throughout, but when the parents start talking about having to run in to the bathroom to cry so the kids don't see - I'm done! I am pissed that families have to live like this and heartbroken because I can literally feel their pain. I don't speak about this much, but I was raised by my mother and we went through some hard years when I was young.
If I could get you to watch just one video all the way to the end, and then share, this would be that video. This family is filled with strength and love, and has the courage to share their very real story about the homeless you don't see, but need to see!
Huge thanks to the generous donor who helped pay for another week's hotel for this family.
Special thanks to Paul Kruse, who helps these families every single day of the year http://www.firststepbackhome.net
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Fujji on the streets of San Francisco VIDEO
"They call it a hotel but it's an insane asylum" Fujji says about the Baldwin Hotel in San Francisco. Roach infested, rats, ceiling tiles falling down, holes in the floor, and garbage all over are just a few of the reasons Fujji and his wife felt living on the streets would be safer and cleaner.
In the room they lived in you had to turn on the water from below the sink. After making requests for repairs and getting no response, Fujji stopped paying rent.
Over a decade ago, during my first month of homelessness, I stayed in this type of hotel. When my money ran out (I paid for a week) management gave me the option to work at one of their other hotels in Hollywood in exchange for a room. This seemed like a smart move because I didn't want to live outside, but what I thought was a plan turned into a nightmare. The owners of the hotel were nasty people with no conscious regard as to how people should be treated.
As a TV producer I once snuck a camera into Los Angele's infamous Ford Hotel. The hotel is now remolded, but at the time it was like out of a horror movie. I remember walking into a bathroom and watching hundreds of roaches run up the wall from a bathtub. You can not even imagine how horrible the Ford Hotel was at the time, yet it was home to many low-income families with children.
We have a serious affordable housing crisis in this country. We need more low-income housing, but that housing should also be fit for humans to live in. Sadly, there are people who care more about money than people that take advantage of those with little influence.
People like Fujji and his wife, who both are on a fixed disability income, should be able to find a clean and safe place to call home!