Studies show that between 2006 and 2007 8740 households in the West Midlands were classified as homeless. My photographic project ‘Street Homes’ looks at the open space in which the rough sleepers of Coventry inhibit.
Although it is not illegal to be ‘homeless’, it is illegal to sleep on the streets and beg. Thus, the Police ‘move-on’ the street sleepers. I have photographed where I know the rough sleepers have sat and slept throughout their homelessness.
You and I live lives where we sleep in a warm bed, eat hot dinners and have our home comforts. However, a rough sleeper has the clothes on his back and a sleeping bag donated to him. Although they have to make their streets their own, they will never leave anything behind, only butts of cigarettes and the occasional piece of litter. We find ourselves seeing the same rough sleepers in the same places.
Without the generic subway, I wanted to identify the smaller details; such as the cigarette wedged between the slats of a bench is in fact where the rough sleepers meet on a Sunday with Anesis for a spot of food; the confetti on the floor at the register office is by day a place of marriage and happiness, but by night it is the resting place of two rough sleepers. Finally, the city council in 2012 filled in one of the subways leading from the city centre to the train station. This shelter has been removed from one street sleeper, with what remains are the old and new paving slabs, a brushed out sign and the blue line guiding people to the station now broken.
Street Homes would be exhibited outside near the Lady Godiva park and flyover where charity Anesis group the homeless and vulnerable to give them food offerings as a way of giving support. Having the exhibition here would make the area for the rough sleepers more decorated; mark the area as a place of change for the rough sleepers from the charity; and to help the general public witness the issue.