|You will probably be reading this
sitting comfortably and warm in the knowledge that
rain will not fall over your most prized possessions
if the skys decide to open. But spare a thought
for some of Britains most desperate citizens. At
last count over 250,000 people were homeless according
to the homeless charity Shelter. This figure continues
to rise despite the UK being the seventh largest
economy in the world.
On a recent trip to town, I happened to bump into
a man cold and forgotten by everyone. A conversation
revealed he'd spent his previous night at a shelter
provided by a local charity that could not put him
up any longer due to lack of funds. "Two weeks
here, a couple of day there then back on the streets,
behind B and Q, in shop doorways. Anywhere that
provides me cover from this freezing cold."
The overwhelming feeling after leaving him the only
change I had on me was anger.
The gritters were out and the temperature on this
day had fallen to below 0. Offers of a free festive
dinner may now be over but as the saying goes charity
is not just for Christmas.
For many, such as the unidentified stranger I encountered,
its now back to the streets. And for a moment I
did imagine myself setting down for the night in
the back of some bins or a secluded alley way. But
it just seems unbearable, and while there are organisations
out there that can help, the homeless gentleman
explained "without any formal paperwork or
an address, the nobody is willing to help you".
Add to this the squeeze facing public services and
the outlook is bleak for thousands of people, for
who the harsh reality may mean eventual death in
this Februarys cold. This cannot be fair.
We call on the government to do more. There should
not be a single person in this country that must
resort to sleeping rough due to their circumstances.
Millions are squandered on wars, thousands go abroad
to alleviate poverty in the third world, but charity
has to begin at home.
Published: February 2018
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