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West End performer slept under a bridge due to rising London living costs – Equity

Actor Elise Harris speaking at Equity’s Annual Representative Conference. Photo: Phil Adams Actor Elise Harris speaking at Equity’s Annual Representative Conference. Photo: Phil Adams
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A West End performer was forced to sleep under a bridge because he was unable to find affordable accommodation, prompting a promise from Equity to do more to support members experiencing homelessness.

Speaking at Equity’s Annual Representative Conference, actor Elise Harris said it was becoming increasingly hard for actors to find affordable accommodation.

Harris, representing the North West London general branch, said: “When this motion was first discussed [within our branch], there were several members in the room who had experienced homelessness of one sort or another.

“When homelessness comes up, many people immediately think of rough sleepers and issues surrounding addiction and mental health and although these are important, they represent a small proportion of the homeless population.

“Sofa surfers, people living in guest houses and hostels long term, and people who are unable to afford housing are, of course, part of this problem.”

Harris added: “We had a member who was working in the West End and despite being in employment could not find accommodation within his means and he ended up sleeping under a bridge.”

Members at the ARC voted to pass the motion, which called on Equity to provide funds, support and signposting when members find themselves in the position of being homeless.

Editor’s View: Performers’ lives have always been tough, but a West End actor living under a bridge should shame us all

For more coverage of the Equity Annual Representative Conference 2019, click here.

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