Sleeping rough on the streets of London (or any major city for that matter) can be hazardous. David Fussell, a homeless film director, had glass bottles smashed in his face seeking shelter on London’s park benches and in shop doorways. That is, until David was handed a pop-up tent by street workers concerned for David’s safety.
David, with London band Ooberfuse, have joined forces with rap royalty’s Snoop Dogg to challenge hidden prejudices around homelessness. These prejudices recently erupted in UK when former Home Secretary, Suella Braverman promised to crackdown on tents and said that rough sleeping in a tent is a ‘life-style choice’.
A rough-sleeper in London, David says : ‘I lived in a tent for 4 out of the 10 years that I lived on the streets. I started using a tent after someone threw a glass bottle that smashed in my face and I was lucky only to have a small cut on my forehead. A tent will keep you out of the wind and rain/snow and greatly increases your chances of survival on winter nights.’
Hal St John of London band Ooberfuse, adds : ‘Suella Braverman’s recent comments highlight the disconnect between the comfortable corridors of power in Whitehall and what’s happening on our city streets. Rough sleeping in a tent is not a lifestyle choice, it’s a mirror reflecting back to us the failings of government housing provision. No one should be punished for being homeless.’
Eradicating homeless is something that is close to Snoop Dogg’s heart. “When you get it, make sure you give it back, that’s how you keep getting it!” says Snoop Dogg. He has said that he lives his life by this belief.
Cherrie Anderson of London band Ooberfuse says ; “Having Snoop Dogg as a feature in this track is amazing. Technology today means that we were able to record our parts in Abbey Road whilst Snoop Dogg, our producer and musicians recorded their parts in the US! Our song Hard Times is about weathering tough times and shining a light on actual lived experiences of homelessness”.
Watch the video on YouTube now – and then buy the song or make a donation to Central London Catholic Churches
Any proceeds will be going to relieve the urgent needs of homeless people this winter through Central London Catholic Churches (CCLC), a consortium of volunteer groups from different Catholic churches in Central London, based at Farm Street Church in London. Fr Dominic Robinson, SJ, Parish Priest and Chair of Justice & Peace in the Diocese of Westminster, comments: “it’s been wonderful to work together with Cherrie, Hal and our friend David. David is a wonderful talented person whose progress represents a really good news story from our services amid the growing tragedy on our streets with the largest numbers of rough sleepers ever recorded, 12% up on last year, and now with new punishing policy on those just granted asylum to find accommodation within seven days. It’s hoped that this song not just raises awareness of the situation but spurs us to much needed action. Please do donate to CLCC if you can”.