These are the words of a rough sleeper in Windsor imploring for the council to retract their comments and their call for the police to remove rough sleepers from the streets in the run up to the Royal Wedding.
I’m not exactly a Royalist myself, I have nothing against the family as they know nothing else than being the royals, the younger generation have done a lot for many different charities already, including mental health charities. Yet I would like to humour Ms Wood and her comment at calling the Queen “Mrs Windsor,” it was quite funny.
Anyway to come back on track with this blog. I was planning on doing a piece about how we should make the link between Young’s advocacy for Free Schools and his backwards, misogynistic and homophobic remarks, however joining the band wagon and all that. Plus there is something more important than a middle class boys anger at how totally shit non-state schools are; homelessness. I know it is a massive topic but I will mainly be looking at rough sleepers.
I was absolutely ‘triggered’ to hear over Christmas my parents recognising the ever growing amount of homeless, rough-sleepers on the streets of sunny Bury St Edmunds, and how they were deeply saddened. Of course I wasn’t surprised at their caring as they are naturally caring people, it was the fact that anyone else noticed this. Coming back from Swansea I was surprised to see any rough sleepers in my hometown, let alone the same amount. (Not a read on either place). The first time I had taken this ever growing indication of a broken economic policy was visiting Cardiff. I, alongside the other half, have kept up-to-date watching the Cardiff based ‘Living on the streets’ documentary. We regularly see the documented rough sleepers from the show still on the streets in the city and then some. Recent counts by the city council have put the number of rough sleepers at 74 (November 2017) which is inevitably on the rise. Likewise 2,000 people are in temporary accommodation just in the city. Whereas around 7,200 houses were threatened with homelessness in 2016, a total of 313 rough sleepers and a rise of 63% of seeking emergency bedding in Wales alone. ‘Shelter Cymru’ state that austerity and benefits cuts have taken effect, yet claim that mental illness and substance abuse are the main two factors as to understand why people become homeless. YET, there is a direct link between austerity, mental illness and substance abuse, consequently homelessness also.
In terms of the hometown I did some research looking at the two main local newspapers and can I say what a fucking load of disgusting they were!
The East Anglian Daily Times ran with the headline ‘Volunteers help rough sleepers on their turf in BSE.’ ‘Their turf’ supposing these people were intruding and should be helped to fuck off. One of the volunteers stated that “I think we stop people from begging on the street at least a few days a week” which is fantastic, of course it is, anyone with a right mind would agree, yet it is the tone of the article as a whole which suggests that it eradicates a nuisance more than making sure people don’t have to go through the utter humiliation of having to beg.
The Bury Free Press is hardly better. The larger of the two ran with this subtitle: ‘A new council officer is helping ease the plight of growing rough sleepers in BSE.’ The plight. The plight. To give you the definite definition of the word ‘a dangerous, difficult, or otherwise unfortunate situation.’ One could argue that the newspaper is stating that anyone in this situation is unfortunate. But again the tone of the rest of the column makes it abundantly clear this is not the case. In addition it could have been worded completely different to suggest that the newspaper or council had any sympathy for these people. The report also states that there are ‘24 rough sleepers in Bury St Edmunds alone.’ When seeing this statistic I immediately thought that 24 out of 30,000 is firstly abhorred to have any rough sleepers, but nowhere near as many as Cardiff; a population of 361,000. Unfortunately with the statistics previously touched upon, Cardiff’s City Council estimates 74, just 50 more than suburban Bury.
Of course I could keep writing about how austerity is the sole and overriding factor as to why so many people are homeless or rough sleepers, yet there is a much greater message to remember here. These rough sleepers are people. They are human. And there are going to be more people displaced and forced to live on the streets so there is another thing to keep in mind. Keep arguing why they ended up there, but more importantly KEEP HELPING THEM. Food, warm drinks, blankets even if nothing else change in your pocket. I’ve seen recently the media saying ‘beware of the criminal gangs imposing that they are homeless to get money off you.’ But seriously, the reason that people are forced to act like a rough sleeper is the same reason there are rough sleepers; lack of money. No one will ever be able to tell the difference unless that homeless person finishes up for the day, pulls out their car keys and drives off in a 17 plate. Just give, and remember how lucky you are to read this article on your laptop or tablet.