Gillian Brown tackled this complex topic which she presented very clearly, firstly by defining what a homeless person is, i.e as one who has no definite abode and is very dependent on official help. Such persons have a very poor quality of life and many are ex-convicts who live in a world of loneliness in unhygienic and pitiable circumstances. They find it hard to get any work or adequate food, they mix with bad company on the streets and many suffer from mental and physical illness. Some are driven out of their homes by their own partners. The numbers are growing: 80% being in the London area, 14% are women.
We felt it was an impasse, local authorities demand proof of a person’s real condition. Meals are available sometimes. Places to live fall far short of the need. Benefits are being reduced; rents are too high and the rate of new buildings is very low, partly because some owners hold back their land in the expectation of getting higher prices.
Much of the help comes from church organisations and also in Market Harborough street pastors who keep in contact with these lonely persons. Happily, places like ‘The Sugar Loaf’ and taxi -services help in their different ways, though of course there is abuse of the these well-meant provisions.
This was a thoroughly absorbing discussion to which everyone contributed because of their concern.
Next event: our Christmas Lunch on Thursday, December 8 at 12pm at ‘The Angel Hotel’. Tom Gilmore.