Chingford music producer Ki Faro writes about what it was like being homeless for six months
When people normally talk about homelessness the most negative things come to mind. “He must be an alcoholic or a drug user”, “he’s the scum of society”, or the most frequent: “Why doesn’t he get a job?”
In my experience these comments are unfair. I’ve met people that were homeless because they lost their mortgages and family because of cutbacks at work, or refugees escaping a war-torn country, and most recently a man who had lost it all because of bad luck.
These are some of the most extreme examples, but my story is very different. I was homeless because of a decision I made concerning the resources I had at my disposal. Because I run an entertainment company, the producers, artist and employees that work for me were able to generate a nice stream of income, which paid for a relatively comfortable life. But that was it, we couldn’t progress any further.
I remember reading that the boss of a famous car company decided to sleep in his warehouse for almost a year to cut down his costs, and it became one of the largest automobile companies in the world. This is how my journey began; I was determined to succeed.
There were no parents to run back to, no family that could accommodate me. I was paying several salaries and my own rent was over £2,000 a month; so the first thing that had to go was that. I left, packed all my things in a suitcase, and hit the road.
For the first few months I stayed in a hostel. It took some time getting used to sharing a room with 20-plus strangers, but I’m not going to lie, this part of my journey was actually enjoyable. Then the hostel became increasingly popular, and at times I would find myself out on the street.
I distinctively remember, sleeping on a bench in Kilburn, holding my suitcase tied together with a shoelace, drinking a can of coke, and actually feeling serenity.
For weeks I would sleep in Shoreditch, listen to drunk couples dry humping each other, travel to Finsbury Park and watch shady men go into bushes with each other, and wash myself by going to the gym. Because the gym was open 24 hours I could hide in the toilet until the cleaner closed the locker room and get some sleep on the hard wooden benches.
After six months sleeping in random places, meeting the most interesting people, and listening to stories from around the world, it was time this journey came to an end. I had saved enough money to push the company to further heights, and accomplished this because of the sacrifices I made.
I can’t say that I was truly one of the most unfortunate people out there, but I now appreciate that there are people that really need help, whose families have been torn apart and have nowhere to live. So I have decided to give back by starting my own charity in the near future to help combat this problem.
Check out Ki Faro’s song about homelessness, Surulere, on YouTube: