Meet Billy and Ringo

Billy is living on the streets of Southampton due to a series of unfortunate events. Originally from a different city, Billy was already living on the streets before he came down South. He has been on the streets for six months, four of which have been spent here.

This old shop entrance is his ‘home’. He has to beg in order get enough money to buy a meal for around £1.50.

Ringo, his dog, is 25 weeks old. The whole time I was talking to Billy, the dog was itching.

If you knelt down to stoke Ringo, he would clamber onto your lap for comfort, he doesn’t even have a dog bed.

Billy and Ringo: Leaving on the streets
Billy and Ringo: Leaving on the streets

It was interesting to hear about Billy’s life. He has been caught in a cruel catch22. He wants a job, but to have a job he needs accommodation, for that he needs money, which leads him back to needing a job. All the while, needing enough money to buy himself dinner and his dog food.

Billy told me that in his current situation he’s happy if he can feed himself and Ringo.It was tough to life to this heart-wrenching truth. Billy is 58 years old, almost the same age as my dad. To hear how his life was destroyed brought tears to my eyes. This world can be so cruel. For a ‘first-world’ country, Britain is doing terribly with proverty and homelessness.

After speaking to Billy my friend and I went to get him and his dog some food. Even though I am low and cash I still felt the urge to help him. I don’t agree with giving cash to people on the streets as I fear what they will spend it on. Instead I took it upon myself to buy him some supplies. I bought a flea collar for ringo, and my friend bought a couple of tins of dog food as well as some treats.

Then I got Billy a sandwich, cup of tea and some nutri-grain bars, to keep him going.

It’s not much but it’s something.

When I asked if I could take a photo he agreed, but no smile approached his face for the whole time we were with him.

My empathy for homeless people has grown. Even though I feel like I have it tough sometimes, it’s not nearly as bad as it can be. Not everyone living on the streets are there because of drink and drugs. Sometimes they just fall up uncertain circumstances.

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