10 March, 2006

It's what I've been saying all along

I have been saying for sometime now that the homeless figure has been rising but no one seemed to be listening. So for a while it's just been my tiny voice shouting. Now it seems I do have an ally, another charity are saying what I am saying and they estimate that the number of homeless is seven times more than the governments figures. So how do the government get their figures. Oh I know, they get councils to go out at night after they have made sure that where they are going to do the count has been cleared of most its rough sleepers. You might think that I am being a bit harsh but its a known fact.
I think the trouble is because homeless people are socially excluded they are always in the back ground in any society rich or poor. I suppose like an artist always draws in the details last. So homelessness wont figure in his picture of city life. Unless it's a picture of homelessness. I think we are all like this artist who doesn't see the full picture. I'm sure even if the government had seen the full picture years ago. We'd still be where we are today regarding homelessness as the problem was so great then and it's not that much better now.
Although rough sleeping is once again on the increase you can see there had been an effort made to reduce the number but this has only caused more problems. All that's happened is one lot of rough sleepers have been taken off the street and lodged in hostels with no hope really of progressing further because this country has an acute shortage of housing.
The greatest problems are sky high rent, delays in benefits and landlords not willing to accept people on benefits. Once we can get a system that does regulate for fairer rents and a system for landlords to accept people on benefits. Then that would be a start but while we have a government set on a course that does not see that not everyone can afford to buy their own houses or Mps that say well you can but to rent then we will always have this situation of the haves and have nots. We will see more and more people stuck in temporary accommodation, in hostels and on the streets. More and more people in run down housing estates. The future doesn't look that rosy for homeless people does it? It doesn't look that rosy for anyone come to think of it.

1 comment:

Abraham said...

Hello Jamie,

I don't mean to sound rude. I hope I don't come across that way, but I've got some questions that I think come from a different perspective than what your post illustrates.

Why are other people besides the homeless people the problem? Your post suggests that governments, the rich, the poor and society as a whole all need to do something to keep people off the streets. You say that high rents and low benefits are the main problems.

I don't get that. Homelessness is an individual human person's problem. How is low rent and higher government paychecks going to help someone who will spend every dime they get on alcohol? I think it will only raise my taxes.

The most recent and thoughtful information I've seen on homelessness was articulated by Malcom Gladwell in a recent NewYorker issue. I suggest you read it if you are interested.

My uncle has a large ranch with 4 great children and he chose to drink alcohol over this. He is now divorced and about to be homeless. He thinks he's a victim. He wants to be homeless. "Nobody wants me, " he says. I say he's the victim of his own choices. He's not facing up to the fact that he is responsible for his actions.

I think when people who want to help the homeless problem think that governments need to solve it and the rich are causing the problems are effectively placing the responsiblity on the wrong people.

It may sound like I'm advocating that people should turn their backs on them, but I am not. What I am advocating is we should expect responsibility from homeless people. I've written a couple of posts on this topic. Here's my latest: http://expertsneeded.blogspot.com/2006/03/scram-homeless-fella.html

Thanks for writing your post!

Abe