Homelessness is not just about living on the streets and just surviving anymore, which most people avoid during their lives. It's about more than just a roof over your head because most homeless people who have been living on the streets for some while form, what some would call small communities with in a community. It's the way homeless people survive the streets, each one looking out for the other. This includes the alcoholics, drug addicts. Its so consuming that it does become away of life. My own life is a prime example. Getting away from that life is a problem within itself. Losing the skills and confidence needed to lead a normal productive life is only the start of the problems homeless people face. Not being accepted, as part of mainstream society is another big problem as peoples perception of homelessness goes on what they see in their city centers and what they hear in the news. The fact that it's a misconception that every homeless person is either mad or addicted to something only clouds the issues. Changing societies thinking was and is always going to be hard because everything is not black and white. Government and local councils must take some of the blame as different governments over the years have dramatically cut funding. Recently this government and various homeless charities have made efforts to tackle the homeless problem but like so many in the past but they have all been short lived due to the lack of continuing funding or other problems associated with homelessness. The problem today is this government seem to be solving the problem of rough sleeping but at the same time creating another, hidden homelessness. (People stuck in temporary accommodation or sleeping on friends floors, b and bs ect) I believe a radical rethink is needed on the real issues of homelessness from prevention, to the housing, to learning and skills and these are only part of the answer.
Housing needs to be seriously looked at.
Drug and alcohol dependency needs to be properly addressed because how can you expect someone to go into a rehab get clean and then re-enter society via the streets again. Its inevitable they will return to their former lives.
Long-term solutions need to be found and funding needs to continue once given. All these issue are relevant to homelessness but while we still try to fix all with just the one solution, then we will always be talking about these issues. Every case of homelessness is different and when we start treating them as such then we might actually see some improvement. You can listen to me rant some more on BBC radio4 at 1230 tomorrow when I interview the hosing minister Yvette cooper.