How can we be a civilised society while allowing homelessness to fester?

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Homelessness is all our problem, it is an issue that effects us all. Whether directly through being on the streets ourselves, or indirectly through the society which we call our own.

You would think a problem of this magnitude would require a society wide effort to solve. Yet time and again we have been left wanting, and for those suffering this societal blight, it just isn’t good enough.

Make no mistake homelessness is a dirty stain on our society, we can not call ourselves civilised while we have people struggling for the basic necessities of survival, we cannot call ourselves a civilised society and turn a blind eye to the suffering of those we see on the streets every day.

I wish I could say I was shocked at the news by Crisis which reported that homelessness is set to reach over half a million by 2041, but the writing has been on the wall for a long time. The government has failed, is failing, and will continue to fail when it comes to homelessness, and it can be for only one reason – they simply don’t care enough. Time and again charities and community groups are picking up the slack, frantically trying to put a plaster on a problem that has been festering for too long.

It is extremely hard to get accurate data on homelessness, it wouldn’t be surprising if this number was a rather conservative estimate. Regardless of the exact figures the trajectory is clear – homelessness is going to continue to rise. We can and do need to do more, it is an indictment of the failure of our society.

It is easy to think it could not happen to me, or it is not my problem but eight million people are only a pay day away from being on the street and unless you have a crystal ball that can see the future, you don’t know what is around the corner.

It is clear the government will not act on this issue, not unless we force them. There should be national outrage over this, our governments continue to fail the people in their care yet again.

How many groups of people can the Tories betray, how many people in our society have to be cruel victims of their heartless policies before enough is enough? One person suffering on the streets is too many and one thing is abundantly clear, if we do not take action now, hundreds of thousands of people are going to be suffering in the future.

Kindness doesn’t kill, cuts do!

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A campaign recently launched in Northampton called “Kill with Kindness” (yes that is its real name), has the aim of encouraging people not to be kind to homeless people.

It declares that homeless people are drunks and drug addicts and by giving them money you are therefore feeding their habits and killing them.

It declares that you should instead give your money to charity which has already been butchered in this county, maybe its time the council supported its services properly, so we didn’t have to prop them up!

This campaign is dehumanising, demonising and degrading and feeds into the myth that homeless people are to blame for their situation.

Not all homeless people are drunks, and not all of them are drug addicts and any campaign which starts off with this assumption is very insulting and damaging.

Instead of attacking the powerless, vulnerable and poor, they should run a campaign that tackles the root causes. Why not have a campaign called “help the homeless” or “home the homeless” – why run a campaign that sends the message that homeless are undeserving of kindness?

This campaign takes place within a backdrop of our county council butchering its services, meaning more adults are going to be vulnerable, and ultimately thrown on the scrapheap.

When are they going to tackle the underlying problems and come up with proper solutions to these problems? Homelessness, addiction – they take away our support network and then have the cheek to say we’re less than human (not worthy of kindness).

Social housing programs are few and far between not only in Northampton but the whole country, social enterprises and charities have had their funding cut and removed by local government, meaning less services and support for the homeless.

Homeless people are wait for it – people too. If a homeless person spends a couple of quid on alcohol, then who are we stop them? Would it be better if they drunk a bottle of wine a day?

What are the underlying causes of homelessness addiction? I don’t think the cause of these problems are created by the kindness of strangers, or by homeless people getting a few quid begging.

More than likely the causes of these problems relate to where they find themselves I.e on the streets, mental health related, there are a myriad of reasons why a homeless person may drink but one thing we can be certain of it definitely isn’t kindness that is killing them.

[each week I will pick a local news story and cover it with my own opinion, the news article this blog is in relation to can be found here: http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/local/shoppers-in-northampton-urged-not-to-give-money-to-beggars-in-the-town-centre-1-6600489%5D