One of our longest standing volunteers knows the homeless industry inside out having worked alongside the policy makers and people on the ground. He is bringing his unique perspective to these pages with the occasional blog. Here is his first instalment on the announcement by a new homeless alliance that they intend to end homelessness:
Spare us your End Homelessness sound-bite and help those in need now!
After noting, with great personal confusion, our governments at both local and national level trumpeting their big conversation on homelessness I let out a knowing sigh. The Alliance I believe they’re calling this latest cobbled together approach to “ending homelessness”. I challenge any person or agency to advise me as to how they will Implement this ridiculous statement?
Can they, in a timely manner, for example, help someone fleeing a violent relationship and provide a tenancy for her and the kids? What about young person leaving care or even prison?
A sleeping bag from our crisis agency is not the answer. In fact there is no perfect answer, no one size saves all package. Sound bites and bluster are not required here. Realistic, honest and practicable suggestions from everyone are.
See we’ve been here before. I’ve shaken the hands of the grey suited politricksians as they smugly pontificated on the solutions they dreamt up how they could ‘fix it’. Call me cynical but I didn’t buy it.
The Homelessness (Scotland) Act 2003 became law back then with a typical political get out clause. This Act stated clearly and without any misunderstanding that all ‘unintentionally’ homeless people were entitled to settled accommodation by 2012. But is it clear? I thought at the time it was a fudge and I still think the same. Why? Who defines the intention?
Law to ‘end’ homelessness indeed. What did this mean? Can law end the personal suffering when ‘ homeless’ people are living under curfew in private B&Bs? Can law end the fear or terror of living in private hostels?
What about those dumped into a Temporary Furnished Flat without support. The law in it’s broad strokes provides a roof in these cases, not much else. If as a society we’re going to have a conversation about homelessness then let’s bin the BS and start with meaningful goals.
I was born on the banks of the Clyde, a son of Mother Glasgow. We have rarely sat back and accepted Injustice. Stand up people, we must look after each other.
Why create false impressions in such an emotive area of real suffering?
How many people with lived homelessness were involved in The Alliance and it’s conversations?
And what on Earth happened to us?