With all the pessimism around contemporary politics it is easy to ignore positive developments, such as a plan by the UK government to end homelessness within nine years. We’ve heard similar statements before but, this time, it offers real hope to 250,000 people currently sleeping on the streets of the world’s 28th richest country. The strategy sets out to tackle the causes of homelessness, including support for those with mental health problems and victims of substance abuse.
Several charities, who spend their time helping the homeless, have welcomed the objectives. That’s critical. No government can expect to solve a problem of this magnitude unless it is prepared to listen to, and collaborate, with others who have the experience. The next stage is to gain public support.
As I write Australia has just finished showing a television series, Filthy, Rich and Homeless about five celebrities who slept rough for ten nights. The most disturbing aspect of their experiences was the complete indifference of most pedestrians.
We cannot rely on the policies of politicians and the work of charities to ensure that everyone has a home. All of us can play a part and we need to ask ourselves if we really want to live in a society that turns a blind eye to the difficulties of our fellow humans.