I See Homeless People

When he can’t sleep, Joe Armstrong takes a drive through Belfast. He comments on the despair and hopelessness that he is witness to on the city’s streets during his early morning drives.

I’m always out and about in the wee hours. I see homeless people on every corner. They are getting younger. Young girls on the street. Heroin is everywhere and there are victims everywhere. There's no help out there for them and its only getting worse.

Young people sleeping in the bushes in McClure St. Addicts waiting on the shop opening which is about a hundred yards from them. People are dying here big time. Only last week a young girl from the Shankill was found dead in a house at the Bull Ring. Her family said that it was the system that failed her. I believe this to be true.

Was out for a wee drive there, just in. Driving up Botanic Ave and there's a tent pitched with a small dog sitting beside it. A young girl in her teens, soaking wet with just a tracksuit top on, walking along Shaftesbury Square with a couple of other young homeless people. A lad lying in a door way on the Dublin Road.

Frightening to see how many young people are on our streets. Why can’t there be at least one of these empty buildings open to shelter these poor people?

Its pissing down outside now. I’m lying listening to the rain from a warm bed and can’t get that tent or young girl out of my head. It just doesn’t feel right to be laying here.

Lord forgive me for ever crying in your face. Some of us just don’t know how lucky we are.

Well, Good morning all. Whatever you may be doing today spare a wee thought for the homeless and may a light shine on your path. God Bless and take care.


  1. Good job Joe - sort of tells it in down to earth human terms

  2. I was in Manchester just before the New Year, and I was shocked by the amount of (apparent) homeless people there and I live in London. They basically lined the route from the tram to train station,most curled up in a door way not even asking for money.

  3. I pass quite a few every morning and if they ask for anything it's change or a cigarette and this when it's pouring or freezing. There are times when I put the head down and walk on engrossed in my own concerns but they always impact on my thoughts.
    Once I walked passed only to stop a short distance, I don't know why but it was probably guilt, but I returned and dug deep and gave the fella a few quid. He thanked me profusely and then asked out of curiosity why I came back....I told him that I didn't want to be a cunt.....he laughed...from Galway he was.

  4. And yet these vulnerable people seem invisible to the ar*eholes on the hill.

    Heard recently of food banks in the area I grew up, there never was such a thing when I was a kid.

    Shame on all of us.

  5. So sorry to learn that the author of this piece, Joe Armstrong, died during the night.

  6. Do people give the same thought, consideration to homeless people during the Summer as they do in Winter?

    I have noticed there are more articles written in Winter about homelessness than any other time of the year. The issues they face are the same all year round..