During my time volunteering with homeless people at Boscombe’s BH1 open house project I met Dean Rodgers, a homeless man living in Bournemouth who was kind enough to do a short Q&A with me about his experiences.
What is your name?
How old are you?
Where are you from?
I’m from Bethnal Green, in London.
What made you come to Bournemouth?
I wander around all the time, I’m a bit of a nomad. I was out and about travelling and fell asleep on the train so I sort of just found myself in Bournemouth one day.
Do you like it here in Bournemouth?
I prefer London, Bournemouth’s a bit dead – there’s not a lot to do here and there aren’t many things for us homeless. I feel more at home in Boscombe really, they’re trying to keep Bournemouth all tourist and middle class.
They don’t like people like us in Bournemouth, they think we bring down the price of the area.
Where do you usually go when you sleep rough?
I go to anywhere that’s got a roof or shelter I can kip under. Office buildings, outside shops and car parks and that. Car parks ain’t great though because people come in and out all night and you can never get a proper rest. I got my stuff stolen in a car park too so I don’t like them.
What’s the most difficult thing about sleeping rough?
Trying to hide your blankets and that because you put them down somewhere because you can’t carry them around all day and you’ll go back to find someone’s nicked them. Then you’ll be cold when you’re sleeping rough again that night and either have to find more blankets or nick someone else’s. It can get proper lonely too if you ain’t got any mates to hang about with.
Do you have any friends who keep you company?
I’m usually a loner but I’ve got one friend I met here, Darren – he keeps me company sometimes. I brought him to my little spot, he’s been sleeping in car parks.
Why do you come to BH1?
Bh1 is just nice, it’s a good place to get warm and have some food and that. I came today so I could use the showers, freshen up and get my clothes cleaned . It’s good to socialise too, sometimes you just miss having a chat with someone.
What’s it like to be homeless during Christmas?
If you could have one Christmas wish, what would it be?
A holiday in the Philippines would do me nice.