Homeless Alone

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Once again, we are left confused, frustrated and angry by just how out of touch our government really is. Of all the things to see as an urgent priority now, it just should not be policing against homelessness.

It wasn’t long ago that we covered the outrageous comments and plans the government, more specifically Suella Braverman, had for dealing with homelessness. To remind ourselves, Braverman boldly and foolishly called homelessness a ‘lifestyle choice’ and announced there would be a large removal of tents on the streets. Inevitably, she was sacked from her role as home secretary, but clearly, her ideas did not leave with her.

As of early April, police in England and Wales will be given the power to either fine or move on rough sleepers deemed a ‘nuisance’. That statement alone shows the out of touch nature our political leaders have – instead of offering support or helpful solutions, people are being punished for their struggles. Albeit we cannot bash or blame everybody in the Tory party as it has naturally infuriated many – much like Braverman’s comments which caused uproar in the party with current and former MPs.

The new bill being passed by the government sees the first decriminalisation of rough sleeping in 200 years, but the new law deceives us by having much stricter and unfair policing as the replacement.

The conversation around homelessness is quite often one that gets left behind in the UK, but it was interesting to me just how bad the homelessness crisis is in the US too. There was recently a project carried out by Times Opinion that brought light to the unfortunate living circumstance in a fascinating way. The project included homeless people documenting their lives through disposable cameras, sharing personal stories and experiences, as well as giving a first-hand understanding of how tough it can be for homeless people. Times Opinion tackled the issue by putting those experiencing homelessness first – they listened to and documented what rough sleepers need, want and experience. It wasn’t just about discussing the crisis, but how we support those that need it the most.

The full project is certainly one that everyone can learn from. It was just last week that we celebrated the record setting numbers for charitable donations by the British public – to no surprise, we are once again calling for those with the most, to give a little more and offer better support.

A key part of the project that stuck with me was the inclusion carried out by Times Opinion as they wanted to know what homeless people themselves need. I think it is something we don’t tend to think about when having this discussion. The assumption is obviously somewhere to stay, a shelter for as long as possible, but sometimes it can be much simpler than that. Maybe it’s a hot meal, a better sleeping bag or some warmer clothes – we will never know unless we try to understand it from their perspective.

I’ll refer to my point earlier about homelessness being punished instead of supported. Those who are different and excluded do not deserve to be stripped of their humanity by suffering more. Our political leaders should know better, but unfortunately the homogeneity within the party creates a lack of empathy and understanding of what it is like to be in such a damaging situation.

By no means will these issues be solved overnight, nor is anyone asking for that to be the case, but suffering should never be punished or shamed. In times like this it is very much a reminder to support and applause the charities and organisations making a difference and trying to have a positive impact on the world – they’re setting the example for us to follow. The priorities of our government seem to be lost, and it’s becoming obvious to the British public that we need to band together in times of need.

It’s never easy to discuss such negativity, but as we stated last week, there isn’t often a lot to be positive or shout about. Leaders across the world can set an example of how to tackle similar issues, but the choice of doing so is down to the humility of the individual.

Together, we can change the world.

Thought for the week:

Unity is strength.

Tips for becoming an A player:

  • Push for more inclusion today
  • When you rise, learn to lift others with you
  • Surround yourself with those who are different to you
  • Never stop trying, and you’ll never stop learning
  • Take on every challenge with a smile



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