Tuesday 23 January 2007 8.03am
I understand your concerns, though as someone who has worked in the homelessness sector and continues to work in a similar sector, I believe it will take an extreme shift in mindset (and the legal framework) by the government and local authorities, and particularly the general public to create any kind of longer term solution for homeless people. Charities and other agencies do what they can with limited resources, but the issue is systemic: insufficient long term accommodation to help homeless people out of their situations (not to mention communities who would rather that such help wasn't in their area thank you very much), over-subscribed and often shabby short-term accommodation includign hostels and bedsits, insufficient psychiatric and other forms of care programmes, lack of programmes to develop life skills...you name it, it's lacking.
Of course, all of this requires money and most people in this day and age would resent paying more tax for such provision, or to help correct an im Balance
in the housing system, preferring to leave things to the "free market". There is also a limit to how much charities dealing with homelessness can raise. In fact the charity I worked for once joked about setting up a donkey sanctuary as a more attractive way of raising funds for it's core work. The basic fact is people would rather forget about people who are homeless believing that they are all drug riddled and have brought it all upon themselves.
All of that doesn't help your concerns for the area you live in, but perhaps gives a little context as to why the problem isn't going away - despite the fact that street homelessness has actually declined to some degree.
There are, however, more people living in sub-standard temporary or over-crowded accommodation now than there were in the days when homelessness was a much higher profile issue. Of course tis aspect of the problem is easier on people's consciences as it's "out of sight, out of mind".