We should do more to help the homeless

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Let’s spare a thought for the homeless this winter as we sit comfortably in our homes, a roof over our heads.

Can you imagine how awful it must be to find yourself in this position?

Carol Forster

Carol Forster

I find it shameful, shocking and appalling that in 2015 this problem still exists in our country – supposedly an advanced one.

The real tragedy is that people can distance themselves from this with a smug self-righteousness that it will never happen to them.

How wrong they are. It could happen to anyone – even you.

It’s also a common fallacy that homeless people are all there because of some alcohol or drug dependency.

This is not true as it is often just a series of misfortunes that lead people here; very young people too who have maybe run away from difficult situations at home.

What really struck me about the offers of shelter and help during the recent two-day power cut was the irony that while folk from comfortable homes enjoyed this support, just around the corner only two streets away, homeless people went ignored.

People just walked on by. No-one was rushing to help them.

So why not give a hot drink and some food rather than ignore these vulnerable people and instead of walking on by in your shopping bubble?

Why not take a blanket or a pair of thermal socks?

Can you imagine what it’s like to spend every day (not just 48 hours) trying to seek shelter from the elements and the cold, hard stares of the ‘I’m alright Jack’ brigade?

Let us vow to make 2016 a year when our collective conscience does something about this

There are surely enough empty properties and plenty of people with empty second homes to put homeless people in.

Rather than them having to rely on big city stores to rest in doorways and alcoves, let’s find homes for these people.

And for those who blame people for their misfortunes, I say shame on you for not thinking more deeply and compassionately about it.

If you were in this position, you would want that help and support yourself. The bottom line is simple. Treat others as you’d wish to be treated yourself.