We do need to bust all the myths about homelessness and rough sleepers - and to do that we need to find the real reason for them being there. That is going to take some work and some understanding.
We need to figure out the combined levels of charity that are given, to ensure that what is being given, is in fact the right form of charity, and that it is getting to the right people.
The reason for this is because those with genuine need may not be comfortable with all the begging and asking - so they never actually receive any help.
Whatever the solutions are, we need to ensure all of the entities on the front line are working in unison and fully understand the needs of each case.
Providing more bulk temporary hostel or housing situations is a must, but, for that to work we need to ensure they are safe places to be. They need to be managed by the right people, and free of any occupier attitudes and problems. This is because there are those with genuine mental health issues who struggle to fit within societies general population, and we could be making things worse for them.
In saying this, I strongly suspect that temporary hostels don’t provide an ongoing solution to end the rough sleeping cycle, it just gives them a warm dry place to sleep for a night.
We also need to address the controversial issue of “professional begging” as this is undertaken by many to support their substance abuse.
In saying all this, as soon as the rough sleepers are interfering with businesses, or with people going about their daily lives, they need ushering along - somewhere yet to be sorted.
There are many experts out there already on the case. But we need to be assured that these agencies, voluntary groups, and individuals who want to help, and do help, are on the same strategy with the same end result in mind - to remove the original reason for rough sleeping, rather than just move the rough sleepers on.
I'm happy and willing to get involved.
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