London’s mayor sleeps with homeless in show of solidarity

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the owner of the Independent newspaper, Evgeny Lebedev, slept rough in support of the ‘Homeless Veterans’ campaign

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The Mayor of London Boris Johnson spent a night this weekend sleeping like a destitute person in a show of solidarity with The Independent’s “Homeless Veterans” campaign, the newspaper reported Monday.

Johnson was not alone as the owner of the Independent titles, Evgeny Lebedev, also spent the night on the street.

The pair had only a sleeping bag and a sheet of cardboard each to experience their Friday night to Saturday morning on a pavement on Gresham Street, five minutes’ walk from St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London.

“People who have served our country in the most difficult and unimaginable situations deserve all the help we can give them,” Johnson said, adding “we have made a demonstrable difference in decreasing the number of veterans out on the streets in the last two decades, but it’s tragic to learn how many there still are out there.”

He also said that “it’s wonderful to see the work being done by institutions helping those out in the cold, and we can’t give them our thanks enough.”

The experience also allowed Johnson and Lebedev to see London’s “compassionate” side.

“We’ve seen compassionate London at its best tonight: brave care workers who care about the people no one else does, and show genuine courage on a daily basis,” Lebedev said

He added: “It’s humbling to see the work done by all of these outreach services.

“That goes for government programs and more targeted charity groups who help those that have served their country, yet afterwards find themselves destitute.”

Johnson and Lebedev also visited the south London hub of “No Second Night Out,” in Lewisham – a service funded by the mayor and designed to provide direct care and assistance to those sleeping rough in London for the first time.

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