25 November, 2005

Cold weather confusion

Last night I went on to the streets in Camden town and the West End of London to talk to and photo people sleeping rough and was shocked by how many people didn't have sleeping bags and blankets. Being an ex-homeless person I found this sight disturbing. Normally homeless people are very resourceful in finding blankets and sleeping bags and things to keep them warm but to see so many without was quite a shock. Now I come into the crisis office this morning and I am told that their is a news clipping from the BBC news about homeless being given travel warrants to go home. The met police said they do issue travel warrants and give out about twenty a month. Since November 7th 21 travel warrants have been given. Steve Barnes of the Simon community claim the issue of the warrants was timed with the headcount of rough sleepers and many of the people that were given these warrants claim they were told they had to leave because there was a head count. The fact that there has been a steady increase in the number rough sleeper should cause the government concern but as usual the government are just saying we are and will keep reducing the number when we can plainly see something is not quiet right. Housing charity shelter dispute the governments claim that the number of homeless has fallen by a fifth. They say that government claims that homelessness has fallen should be taken with a health warning. I myself have been told that the government has reduced the number of people sleeping rough but as I go about the streets at night I see numbers actually increasing and now the weather has been forecast as one of the worst for nearly a decade then think it's time to start thinking about alternatives. An insider for the ODPM said we are looking into the situation of emergency beds because of the bad weather. We intend to provide bed spaces where needed. My answer to that is from another source in the hostel section that said I don't know how the government are going to find all the beds that are needed because most of our hostels around the country are full. So now I am even more confused. Who is right and who is wrong? The big question who will take the intuitive of getting these rough sleepers into some kind shelters.
Surely we can't keep saying hostels.

1 comment:

James Wu said...

It's very depressing to think that those of us in the richest part of the world can't house fellow citizens.