I intended helping these people, but help is just that - giving them the opportunity to change their lives - not keep them in a dependency status quo. The sacrifices those that brought me up made have instilled in me the same desire and drive to improve my life and work hard to try to improve the world around me.
My priorities for London are efficient government, making sure we continue to have first-class policing, keeping the city moving, and the one thing mentioned above all others by Londoners - housing. I've spent the past year - and will spend the next year - telling people in articles like this exactly how I intend to bring this about.
What has really driven me to stand as Mayor of London is the inequality London faces when compared to other areas of the country. London seems so often to be treated like a city filled with nobody but wealthy bankers, infinitely taxable to pay for services elsewhere in the country, despite our own city having some of the poorest areas in the UK.
In short, we hear what journalists and politicians think the issues are and and how it affects Londoners - but we don't hear enough from Londoners themselves. And it is only by having an inclusive debate with all parties allowed a voice, that we will together take the tough decisions needed to tackle the London housing crisis.
This latest episode in the air pollution debate signifies how politically toxic accusations against the Mayor's air pollution policies have become. Clearly, if you dare to question the Mayor's commitment to the issue you might find yourself on the receiving end of an angry letter and veiled threats...
Whoever takes over from Boris should take heart from de Blasio's victory and be bold. This is not quick-fix politics: it calls for sustained stewardship of our city and its economy. But a brave mayor could lead that conversation, challenge the orthodoxy and change not just London but the national trajectory too.
Given his undoubted charisma and his way with words, he has the potential to be a big vote winner for the Tories. But, and it is in important but, voters who regard humour and a cavalier style as an asset in a city mayor with few real powers might seek different qualities in a national leader. Last week, in an interview with the Sunday Times, he talked about how his six years as mayor had given him the administrative experience that would stand him in good stead in national politics. He has a point. But if he is to be a real vote-winner for his party on the national stage, he needs more. He needs to get serious.
Should Boris win a safe seat, should the Tories win the next election and should Boris be gifted a Cabinet position - the first is the least dangerous of these three assumptions - will Boris commit, even for reasons of his own, to his Cabinet chums and will they commit to him? Boris has work to do. His recent cajoling of Cameron to take a harder-line stance on future negotiations with the EU can legitimately be viewed as the voice of a critical friend. Cameron can take it. However, covert criticism of Osborne, one of the more obvious contenders to succeed Cameron, will endear him neither to the Chancellor nor to others in Cameron's circle of less secure consiglieri.