While most musicians make music for the masses, Bournemouth native Harvey Brice makes music about an issue that is important and personal to him: homelessness.
Brice’s brother is living on the streets somewhere in the United Kingdom; he’s been beaten, struggles to find a meal, and doesn’t have a home .
“My brother had started to become withdrawn in his mid-30s,” Brice said. “We suspect he may have developed a mental illness, though he is still undiagnosed.”
People with untreated psychiatric illnesses comprise one-third, or 250,000, of the estimated 744,000 homeless population (mentalhealthpolicy.org). The quality of life for these individuals is abysmal. Many are victimized regularly. One study found that 28 percent of homeless people with previous psychiatric hospitalizations obtained some food from garbage cans and 8 percent used garbage cans as a primary food source.
Brice will be performing with his band The Unbroken on Sun., March 2 at Buffalo Iron Works bar at 3 p.m. The Safe, Sound and Unbroken event sets up concerts to raise money for organizations helping the homeless. The proceeds from this event will go to the Matt Urban Hope Center.
“We’re doing more with this show than we did in our previous one [in Woodstock, Ontario]. We’re adding in basket raffles and giveaways to benefit the Matt Urban Hope Center. Hopefully it will be a big turn out,” Brice said.
Benefits like these are important, since funding for homelessness organizations are scarce, and every community needs the support.
“A large percent of our population doesn’t understand homelessness. If you see someone in a wheelchair, you can see that they’re broken and need help. If you see a homeless person lying face-down on the street with nothing physically wrong with them, you don’t really know what to do about it,” Brice said.
Serious mental illnesses can disrupt a person’s ability to carry out essential aspects of daily life, such as care and household management. Mental illnesses may also prevent people from forming and maintaining stable relationships or cause people to misinterpret others’ guidance and react irrationally. This often results in pushing away caregivers, family, and friends who may be the force keeping that person from becoming homeless.
“As a family, we have offered him [Brice’s brother] an apartment, but he denies any help from us,” Brice said. His choices make sense to him, even if they’re not good choices.”
“We can’t fix homelessness. There’s no one situation to fix it. But what we can do is better educate society about homelessness, and help raise money for organizations that help get people off the streets and give them proper treatment.”
Entrance to the benefit is $10 at the door. The Buffalo Iron Works bar is located at 49 Illinois St, Buffalo, NY 14203.
About the band: (from Harvey’s website)
The band consists of a driven rhythm section of Ian Hanavan (Bass), Steven Bell (drums), Tom Sullivan (Percussion) and Harvey Brice (Rhythm Guitar) and the atmospheric and melodic tones of Larry Smith (Accordion), Greg Skulicz (lead guitar and banjo) and Jessica Ball (violin). The dark and melodic sound of the band lends the perfect backdrop for the current, cutting, dark and often humorous lyrics of British lead vocalist Harvey Brice.
Brice hopes to take the Safe, Sound, and Unbroken program to Boston, various areas of New Jersey, and Colorado.
Check out more music, artwork, and news from Harvey at his website harveybrice.com
**photos courtesy of Google and Harvey’s Facebook.