A CHANCE meeting with a homeless man has become the catalyst for a new project aimed to help people get off the streets.
Vince Barnes, the frontman of Portsmouth-based rock band Free From Gravity, met Dean in Palmerston Road, Southsea, the day after watching a video online of a New York police officer abusing a homeless person.
Instead of walking on by as he would have before, Vince remembered the clip, and stopped to chat and offered him ‘tea, coffee or something.’
That phrase – Tea, Coffee or Something, has become the name of a new fundraising single, released tomorrow, and a scheme to help the homeless get back on their feet. Vince, from Eastney, said: ‘Before this, if I’m honest, I’d had little to do with the homeless. I’d been guilty of turning away and ignoring them if I saw someone in the street.
‘It was only when I was walking down the street the day after seeing that clip, I was going to walk on, as usual, when I remembered it, and remembered that he’s a human being too. I told the guy that I didn’t have any change, but I could get him a tea, or coffee or something.’
Soon afterwards he saw a different homeless person in the same spot, and again stopped and talked to him.
‘I just wanted to help homeless people,’ said Vince, ‘even if it meant just sitting and talking to them and offering them something to eat and drink.
‘Sometimes it is just a helping hand that is needed, sometimes it is a bit more. But we can all help in some way.’
As a result of his talks with the homeless, the 53-year-old contacted Portsmouth City Council to ask how more could be done.
The result is a project which will aim to provide people with support as they attempt to rebuild their lives.
‘It’s about that next step where they leave the halfway house, finding somewhere to live and the contacts to help find them a job,’ Vince added.
The single is being launched with a gig tomorrow night at Portsmouth Guildhall which has now sold out.
For more information go to ffgmusic.co.uk/TCoS