So this is a blog about a woman. Hundreds of miles away from me. Who I've never met.
A woman with a smile the size of a small country. A woman who likes to see the good in everyone and everything, even when those people and those things turn out to be really really shit. A woman with issues and a lot on her plate.
A woman who loves her service dog. A woman with health problems and disabilities. A woman who is homeless, and therefore a woman I can relate to on many different levels. Only when I was homeless at least I had a sofa....
For Amanda, "Home" is a tent in a commune under a railway bridge. Her "bathroom" the great outdoors. To try and stay positive, Amanda describes this aspect of her life as "like camping".... we both know that it's not. It's really, truly not.
"Real" Bathrooms have showers, and toilets. Privacy from prying eyes and passers by. The last time I looked, none of these trappings come as standard in bushes.
Homeless living is not "like camping". Mostly its pretty shit. You are cold, you are tired, you are hungry....you are scared. And at the end of it, you don't get to pack it all away into your car and drive back to your nice warm house. Because without intervention, there is no end. And there is no house.
Being homeless is soul-destroying. On every single level.
And it breaks my heart that people like Amanda are going through this all again today.
So I'm helping. In every way I can.
And I'm writing about it. And I'm helping to give homeless people back their identities and their voices.......because the way that we deal with this has to change.
In a radio interview about homelessness that I gave recently, I talked about needing to "make a homeless person feel that he or she is the most important man / woman in the world when it comes to engagement". There are often huge trust issues. Breaking down barriers takes time. But if you have the right approach and you deliver your promises, then we can get homeless people off streets.
And we can. It's not an impossible ask. It's perfectly possible. Baby steps.
Today, it's Amandas turn to be the most important person in the world......so lets make the magic happen.
Follow Invisible People @invisiblepeople on twitter to find out more about people like Amanda, the work that they do and to keep up to date with future developments.
Or contact Invisible People TV Mark@invisiblepeople.tv if you can offer assistance.
Closer to home there are organisations like Shelter. Centrepoint. The Big Issue Foundation. St Mungos and St Petrocs..... all working tirelessly behind the scenes to help put homeless people back together again. All just a google away.
So if you can help, and you feel moved to, then please get involved.