View from the ground
“Have you ever noticed that the only metaphor we have in our public discourse for solving problems is to declare war on it? We have the war on crime, the war on
cancer, the war on drugs. But did you ever notice that we have no war on homelessness? You know why? Because there’s no money in that problem. No money to be made off of the homeless. If you can find a solution to homelessness where the corporations and politicians can make a few million dollars each, you will see the streets of America begin to clear up pretty damn quick!” – George Carlin
- For America, read the UK, Canada, Australia or any country in the world.
Hi. It’s been a while since my last blog and for this one I’m stepping away from my #TeamDuke theme. That continues to be wonderful. But, away from that microcosm of happiness, I’m angry. Why I can hear you ask, and I’m grateful for your interest. What? You didn’t ask? Mmmmm, sorry – but I am angry.
I’ve just spent 2 days in London. 2 good days in London. The capital of England. A must visit city in the world – after Leeds, of course. What? You’ve not heard of Leeds? Mmmmm, you should come. We’ll welcome you with open arms.
Anyway, enough of this flippancy as this is actually a rant, but I want to use this anger as an energy. Not just my anger, but my mission is to gather a collective anger to convert into a collect energy. Homelessness must stop!!! End of!!!!! I accept that is a general, sweeping, statement but I am so wound up.
As I walked around streets on the edge of the finance centre of one of the richest cities in the world, time and time again I saw someone sitting / laying on the street, with all of their worldly possessions in a bag at the side of them. Most weren’t asking for money. They were just there as if it was so normal.
Time and time again, a well dressed person, with a shopping bag from one of the countless designer shops strolled by. Or, like me, a suited and booted person strode to their next destination. Yes, I’m not suggesting I’m innocent- although I do try and help but this is biggest than one large than average person.
Now, I am not being judgemental, preaching, or suggesting that each of those people haven’t work and earned the right to buy whatever they want. But I am reflecting at how it made me feel seeing people who, I believe, have being dealt a horrible hand in life and find themselves living on the streets. Sliding doors springs to mind. Just one different step and could any one of us have being that person sleeping outside Aldgate East tube station? How many times do you read about someone who missed a flight, and the plane they missed tragically crashed. The same applies for anything in life. As I said, sliding doors.
It really effected me, especially when you also get approached by someone who needed money for food. Okay, you could question was it really for food, but who the hell am I to judge someone who looks sad, disheveled and desperate? Who are any of us to judge someone begging? We don’t know their back story; we don’t know what hell they have been through to end up living on the streets.
So, it’s a call to arms my friends. Who knows someone who can help the homeless and help them to be homed? May be not permanently but at least to provide a roof over their heads whilst something more substantial can be found. What about an empty building or vacated office space? There are so many vacant building – certainly in London – and these could provide shelter, dry shelter, for so many. What about church, synagogue, mosque, chapel, temple community halls? Empty, so many empty. Can’t these be better used?
It doesn’t matter who your god is, surely we all have a collective responsibility to help our fellow human beings?
I know I have written previous blogs about my frustration that people still have to sleep on the street. The reality is, they don’t have to but until those who can do something about it do just that, do something about it, we will continue to see people huddled on the floor. For crying out loud, just to write that feels so wrong. A fellow human being has to sleep outside, on the floor, because we will not provide shelter.
We all read about those who are worth billions etc. Just imagine what 1%, just 1%, of their collective wealth could do. Homelessness would be history. And they could offset that 1% against their tax bill. Tax bill? Let’s not go there.
So, what do we want to do? Do we let this continue or do we propose to make some noise?
Me? Get ready. I’m preparing. This is just the start.
Take care, and thank you for your time. I really do believe, with the right intentions, anger is an energy.