03 April, 2005


Throughout the ages homelessness in this country has always been a grave problem. In the seventeenth and eighteenth century work houses and orphanages housed some of the poor and destitute, as do some of the charities today. (At least conditions are much better.) It was on the streets of our major cities that held the vast majority of its homeless. Yet still in this the twentieth century we still have the same problem.
The present government has tried in its own naive way to solve this problem, but have only succeeded in making homelessness invisible ( by which I mean that some of the homeless are now in hostels, hotels and in the winter night shelters run by charities. Some have taken to sleeping in the back streets of our cities. Keeping out of sight so they wont be moved on.)
Emergency accommodation is now rare. Most hostels are full all year round. If you are on the streets tonight, it may take weeks or even a few months to get a bed in a hostel.
The myth that people prefer to be on the streets is quite wrong. Only a handful in the thousands prefer it. Most want the chance to have a base so their lives can change.
Has the problem of homelessness been caused because of previous governments inapt performances to combat the issues of mental health, drugs, drink and homelessness?
Because now all four of our major problems have become linked to one another
Is this why we still have people sleeping on the streets?
Are we now so used to seeing it in our daily lives we have become immune to the suffering we see daily on our journeys to and from work?
The people of Britain are a very charitable nation. Who will reach into its pockets to help the homeless and needy of other countries in their hours of need and the government gives millions. Yes, their plight is much worse than ours, but if we are not careful our own homeless crisis along with its mental health, drink and drug problems could become more than major problem. We live in a society where drugs and drink are ruining the lives of the young and vunerable.
What can be done?
Could we actually relive the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries again? (in a modern day sense.) Is it possible that we could live the Oliver Twist years again?
I think we as a whole nation must instruct our government to act on our behalf. We should not be dependent on charitable organizations. Who recognize the problems. It should not left to them to point out that in today's society homelessness should have been eradicated a long time ago and that we are in fact taking backward steps.

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