– [Mark Horvath] Viv. – Yeah. – [Mark Horvath] We’re here in London. – (laughs) Yes we are. – [Mark Horvath] And you’re
no longer sleeping rough. – That’s right. – [Mark Horvath] But you’re,
you guys call it sofa surfing. – Sofa surfing, yeah. I got a room in my
partner’s cousin’s house. With my partner. – [Mark Horvath] Okay, but it’s still, you still don’t have your own place? – No no, still don’t have my own place. We’re on the waiting
list from the council, but it’s about five to six
years, something like that on the waiting list.
– My god. Now, we just did a tour.
– Yeah. – [Mark Horvath] So how we met is through the Unseen Tours,
and you’re the tour guide. – That’s right. – [Mark Horvath] And you
do the history of London mixed with homelessness. – That’s right, yep. – [Mark Horvath] So tell me
about homelessness in London. – Homelessness in London? You mean people on the street? – [Mark Horvath] Yes, rough
sleeping or sofa surfing or, – Well people sleep rough on the street, they sleep in doorways, under bridges, under trees, under scaffolding, places like that people sleep. – [Mark Horvath] Now, you
showed us a couple of places where you slept. – Yep. Under Waterloo Bridge,
Temple Park, Shell Mex, and Covent Garden as well. – [Mark Horvath] How many years? How many years were you out there? – I was out there, in those spots I was there
from about ’99 to about 2003. – [Mark Horvath] That’s a long time. – Yeah, yeah. – [Mark Horvath] So about four years, four or five years.
– Yeah. Sleeping rough. – [Mark Horvath] And you
were showin’ me one spot underneath a bridge where you made a home, which, the slang for homeless,
you guys call it a bash. – That’s right, that’s right. Bash is a homemade home
built by a homeless person out of things that you can
find on the street like… wooden crates, bits of
cardboard, tarpaulins, any bits of material
you find on the street you can make to build a home for yourself. I was actually invited there, I was invited by the people that started the bashes under the bridge in order to make a home there. I was invited over to build my own home. There was other people there first. – [Mark Horvath] There was a community. – Yeah, that’s right yeah. – [Mark Horvath] So not
only have you been homeless, you’re still sofa surfing and you give a tour of homelessness. – That’s right. – [Mark Horvath] So you might say that you know a little bit, right? – Yeah. – [Mark Horvath] So how
do we end homelessness here in London? What needs to happen? – Well, they need accommodation, cheap accommodation preferably. And I dunno, accommodation
where they can afford to live in like council housing and stuff like that. They need to make more
social housing in London. – [Mark Horvath] There’s not
enough affordable housing? – No, no. This is the first year, apparently, the Lombard council has
built social housing for the poor in London for 30 years. It’s the first year this year that they built social housing again. – [Mark Horvath] Now, you
said homelessness is a lot, it’s noticeably a lot less
since the Olympics are coming. – No, it’s not a lot less, it’s more. – [Mark Horvath] It’s more? – But they’ve moved people into
different areas, that’s all. All they’ve done is moved
people from one area to another, just shifted the homeless. – [Mark Horvath] Okay. So downtown or by the Strand you’re seeing them as you used to? – Yeah, not as many as you used to. Most of them have gone over to Victoria or towards London Bridge, that way. Sort of thing. – [Mark Horvath] Tell
us about Unseen Tours. – Oh, Unseen Tours, we’re a group of people,
from Unseen Tours, we’re called Sock Mob, and we go ’round London and
give tours in different areas and each tour guide is
either an ex-homeless person, or a homeless person. And all of us tour guides have been on the street
at some point or another. And we talk about history of the area as well as homelessness
history of the area of the tours that we do. Would you like me to tell you the areas? – [Mark Horvath] No no,
that’s fine, that’s fine, but how long have you been doin’ it? – About two years.
– Really? And how did it start? How did you get involved? – I got involved through The Big Issue. I sell The Big Issue,
which is a street paper. – [Mark Horvath] Oh, so you’re
still a Big Issue vendor? – Yeah, yeah.
– Oh good. – Big Issue is my bread and butter, and the tours are kind of a
little bit extra on the side when I get customers. – [Mark Horvath] Well I gotta say, it’s not a lotta money but
it was money well spent. It’s the only tourist thing
I’m doing while in London. – Oh right.
– Is your tour. And it was marvelous. – Thank you very much.
– It was marvelous. So if you had three
wishes, what would they be? – To have a place to live. Three wishes? That’s a lot. Have a regular job. I can’t think. That’s it. – [Mark Horvath] Just two? – Yeah, just two. Oh have my own transport I
suppose would be the other thing. If I could afford it, I’d
have my own transport. A motorbike or something like that. – [Mark Horvath] Well thank you
very much for talkin’ to me. – You’re welcome. Thank you very much
for coming on the tour. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. – [Mark Horvath] I have.