6 Month Anniversary!!! 2 exciting announcements…

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Wow… Lets just digest that for a moment. 6 months since this blog first started and my homeless experience was published for all to see…

Since then so much has happened! Social media growth, media coverage, a mention in Parliament, a live talk in Worcester City Centre, a campaign logo and societal views towards the homeless in Worcester (and beyond) being changed for the better! It’s been so eventful but also very emotional at times… Recounting my story to thousands, making friends, losing friends, being publically scrutinised have all happened – but have made me a better campaigner overall!

To celebrate the big 6 months – I have launched an official Campaign Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Hugo-Sugg-Homeless-Campaigner-HugosEarthquake-1708586162709740/?ref=br_rs and started a fundraising campaign – https://www.gofundme.com/27nnx5b9! The fundraising is to help make the campaign grow and allow the messages to spread. The messages being:

>Wanting to help give homeless the voice they tend to lose when they end up being kicked out or losing their home.
> Through the campaign, I want to help fight the stigma that homeless people get.
> Aim to change local and national policy in relation to the homeless population of the UK.
> “Get homelessness into the hearts of MP’s, like it’s in the heart of me” and finally,
> Grow the campaign into a grassroots movement which shares one goal, and that is making the homeless have a voice and get the support they really need.

The fundraising will allow me to go to London and other places an help spread the good work of raising awareness and changing attitudes towards the homeless. I will be completely open, honest and transparent about the costings of the campaign, will publish my receipts and also open a separate bank account for all donations.
Note: I will not be using any donations as ‘wages’ or salary.

The campaign so far has been free or entirely self-funded however as it keeps growing, funding is needed to turn it into a grassroots movement which spreads further than just Worcester. ANY donation is welcomed and whatever the amount – I promise it will be put to good use… I welcome you to ask me to prove where it’s going at any time.

Keep updated with what your funds are being used for via the new Facebook page!

It’s been an amazing 6 months and I can’t thank you enough. I really appreciate the support you have given me, and look forward to working for another 6 months and more!
Please give the Facebook page a Like, my Twitter a follow and consider giving what you can afford to #HugosEarthquake.

Thank you so much! And don’t forget to email me if you have any questions: hugosugg@gmail.com.
Hugo x

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A ‘Call for Interest’: Outreach work for the homeless

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Hey,

It’s been a while since writing on here, and I go through bursts – so I’m sorry! But anyway, this post… I have been thinking that the campaign needs to be developed a bit more and change from being mainly online campaigning to more actual physical face to face work.

After being in Birmingham for a night out with friends last weekend, I saw many homeless on the streets and it dawned on me that sometimes I need to get out there, talk and work with the homeless to give them the voice they are missing. I got in touch with the Labour Campaign to End Homelessness on Twitter where they do an outreach project from King’s Cross in London every Thursday evening.

This is something I have been inspired by, and want to do. I will be joining the LCEH soon and want to see how they run it so I can hopefully set up my own outreach project for the #HugosEarthquake Campaign.

I want this to be run in Worcester, Hereford and then branch out to other locations. This project will be a key bit of the campaign future I will be developing over the coming months. I think the back door campaigning is good, and that’s where this campaign has started, however I have grown to want to do more hands on work and take the campaign to the next steps.

As with the whole campaign, I would like your involvement if you are willing to give it. So, this is a Call for Interest for all campaign followers and public to submit your interest in being a part of this new phase of the campaign. I would like to get opinions on how this will work, people to come out and do outreach when we are set up and donations of tea/coffee, old clothes, blankets etc.
If you would like to put your name forward, please email me on hugosugg@gmail.com or contact me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/HugoSugg) and we can arrange a Skype or phone call to talk. I don’t want to put pressure on anyone to do anything, so please don’t feel you have to commit as it is voluntarily.

Feel free to share this post amongst your friends, family and colleagues and any help from anywhere is amazing!

Thanks in advance,
Hugo

Shocking Stats from St Paul’s Hostel, Worcester.

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This morning the CEO of St Paul’s Hostel in Worcester, Jonathan Sutton, declared to me that 300 people in need of support with their housing and other issues came through the hostel in the previous 12 months. This backs up the statistic that the rough sleeping population are only 10% of the homeless, as there are 27 rough sleepers currently in Worcester.

This is a disgustingly high figure that needs to be tackled – and that is why my campaign exists!

#QueensSpeech: Campaign Analysis

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After watching the Queen’s Speech this morning, (and the internet cutting out!) I thought I would write my analysis on it, from a homeless awareness campaign point of view. There were two main announcements which peaked my interest: 1 million homes and mental health.

The Queen mentioned the Government intending to build 1 million more homes and giving better chances in life to people… But what does that really mean?

I take from that, that the Government just think building more homes is the answer to solve the homeless or housing issue… But it’s really not! Homelessness isn’t just about more homes – and arguably, people who lose their accommodation because of trauma, relationship breakdown etc. shouldn’t just be called ‘homeless’ – because a house isn’t the primary problem.

The issue of homelessness needs to be looked in a wider lense if the Government are serious about their commitment to reduce rough sleeping and homelessness. Cuts to support services and badly commissioned and inadequate services have a colossal negative effect on the homeless.

One positive was the proposal to bring in better mental health support for people inside the criminal justice system. Many homeless people either turn to crime when they become homeless, or have lost their accommodation due to crime in the first place. In a report by Homeless Link they found “17.5% of those with mental health issues and 16.7% with alcohol issues would like support but are not receiving it.” (out of 2,590 respondents). Now these aren’t necessarily in the criminal justice system – but does demonstrate the need for the homeless to receive better mental health support.
Mental health is something we all have, and it’s important to recognise the need for support when crisis point hits – however small the crisis. The Government is making steps towards this…

Although the Queen’s Speech on the whole was very thin on the ground and nothing was mentioned about homelessness specifically – I will be watching closely on Government announcements and policy agendas coming out in the next Parliamentary Session.

To feedback on the analysis, please leave a comment below or email me – hugosugg@gmail.com.

Hugo Sugg
18/05/2016

Labour in Worcester Council & SO of Parliament

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Just tonight, Worcester City Council has had a dramatic change of leadership as Labour have taken control!

Why does this matter? Well, in terms of the Campaign and my own political views, Labour our my ‘friends’ when it comes to supporting. That is NOT to say, however, Conservative’s have been unsupportive – because both the outgoing Worcester Mayor Cllr. Roger Knight and Worcester MP Mr Robin Walker have both supported #HugosEarthquake.

I will be very pleased to work alongside the Labour Leadership and will be holding them accountable as much as possible – regardless of my political leanings.

Aside from this, but loosely connected, tomorrow (Wednesday 18th May, 2016) is the official State Opening of Parliament where the Queen will read out the programme of legislation for the Parliamentary year. Housing is due to be on this, as there is a lot of political movement around the issue. I will be bringing you live updates (relating to housing) on my Twitter as the event happens and round up with an analysis afterwards.

Both of these events are crucial in terms of attention of the homeless issue both local to Worcester and the UK as a whole.

If you would like to email me about the campaign, please do on hugosugg@gmail.com or message me on Twitter.

Long road to justice

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After a long battle with my landlord about the tenancy agreement I’m in and what rules they have broken, or neglected, they have finally backed down today and a resolution sort!

I’ve always been a firm believer in equality and fairness, and knowing that landlords come down like a tonne of bricks on tenants who don’t stick to their side of the deal, but tenants don’t feel able to challenge rogue landlords is something that sits very uncomfortably with me!

So, in this scenario, the landlord had in their tenancy that the service charge I pay a month covers broadband however this was a “mistake” (their words, not mine) in the tenancy and that it is a complementary service. After quoting to them their own clause on the tenancy we have mutually signed, they STILL tried to argue it is a complimentary service and that no financial compensation could be given for internet outage. After receiving a highly-ironic Amazon voucher for £10 as their good-will gesture, I was still pushing for financial compensation and this was an ongoing dispute.

I was going to push the broadband but it wasn’t a huge bearing on my life, it was just inconvenient… UNTIL a whacking great big semi-permanent stud wall was erected in my kitchen yesterday evening… With no notice. With no consultation, and with no appreciation for the disturbance caused.

Safe to say my first reaction was “what the [insert appropriate expletive here]” and immediately rung the landlord to find out what had happened to a “eek, ring back in the morning”. So, after being woken up with drills and hammering at 9.20am this morning, I got dressed and walked out the house with my blood boiling on the phone to the landlord and demanding a manager speak to me.

She didn’t know what had happened and why we hadn’t been informed… I then pushed for an explanation from high up to be sought before end of business today and I also stated I would be seeking legal advice.

Seeking and consequently threatening legal action worked overall in my favour, and even if some strong words were exchanged over the phone – Farefield Estates have backed down, offered me financial compensation, admitted they are in the wrong, will be changing the tenancy agreements and sincerely apologised.

Could I have backed down? Of course I could have. Could I have gone about it differently and softer? Yes, but I doubt the outcome would be the same! Have I been an effective advocate for tenant rights? Based on the outcome, I’d say so.

It has been a long road to justice, but sticking to my guns and having the courage of my convictions has paid off and now future tenants will (hopefully) get a better deal.
It’s something I’m not wanting to pull in the cheers for, but can sleep in the sound knowledge that I have successfully advocated on behalf of an unknown quantity of people.

“Hello from the other side”

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Hi all,

Wow, it’s been some time since I wrote in this blog, I’ve missed it! I’ve had a busy time with University and I can officially say that I HAVE COMPLETED ALL MY STUDIES!!!! After writing a very successful Independent Study on the Campaign and how to be a more effective social activist, I managed to hand in my other assignments in early to the point now where I’m finished.

I’m out the other side, hence the Adele reference in the title! But in the time that I have gone, I have been working on something amazing: An awareness video about homelessness with a ‘YouTuber’! I found Sam from Official All5 a couple of months ago after I stumbled across one of his list videos and saw that he was asking for video ideas. I thought it would be an amazing time to take the opportunity and asked to collaborate on a video together. Sam was awesome and agreed and so the planning and recording has been taking place since and I can reveal the fact we have made the video and it has gone LIVE: Make sure you give it a watch here!

Make sure you give it a watch here!
This video marks a big ripple for the earthquake as it is taken from just being on a blog and social media, and expanded to YouTube and the public eye!

Other things happening with the campaign include looking at how to make it a better and more recognisable identity, including how to make it a legal entity of some description. I have also been thinking about how to personally take the messages further, and been thinking about politics and getting more involved. I am in touch with my local MP regularly however this can only create so much change.

There is so much I can do, and I want to do and now I have time to explore all of these options… Starting today! I promise this blog is going to be more active from now on and I will keep you updated with everything going on. As always, i welcome any feedback you can give me or any ideas.

If you would like me to come and give any talks about homelessness, please do drop me an email on hugosugg@gmail.com and I will get back to you really quickly!
Look forward to the next time I can update you with #HugosEarthquake and please do watch and share the video with your friends and family.

Best wishes,
Hugo