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BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?

Jim Carroll 04 Jan 18 - 10:54 AM
Senoufou 04 Jan 18 - 11:10 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Jan 18 - 11:13 AM
Charmion 04 Jan 18 - 11:19 AM
Senoufou 04 Jan 18 - 11:26 AM
CupOfTea 04 Jan 18 - 11:27 AM
Greg F. 04 Jan 18 - 11:42 AM
Donuel 04 Jan 18 - 04:36 PM
mg 05 Jan 18 - 02:35 AM
Joe Offer 05 Jan 18 - 02:43 AM
mg 05 Jan 18 - 02:56 AM
Senoufou 05 Jan 18 - 03:23 AM
Joe Offer 05 Jan 18 - 03:45 AM
Nigel Parsons 05 Jan 18 - 04:48 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Jan 18 - 04:50 AM
Senoufou 05 Jan 18 - 05:47 AM
Nigel Parsons 05 Jan 18 - 05:57 AM
Dave the Gnome 05 Jan 18 - 06:06 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Jan 18 - 06:42 AM
Senoufou 05 Jan 18 - 07:02 AM
Iains 05 Jan 18 - 07:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 05 Jan 18 - 07:56 AM
ChanteyLass 05 Jan 18 - 09:24 PM
Joe Offer 06 Jan 18 - 12:29 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jan 18 - 05:08 AM
Iains 06 Jan 18 - 05:41 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jan 18 - 06:41 AM
Dave the Gnome 06 Jan 18 - 07:36 AM
DMcG 06 Jan 18 - 08:04 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jan 18 - 08:11 AM
Senoufou 06 Jan 18 - 08:23 AM
Dave the Gnome 06 Jan 18 - 08:35 AM
Dave the Gnome 06 Jan 18 - 08:37 AM
Stanron 06 Jan 18 - 03:49 PM
Iains 06 Jan 18 - 05:17 PM
Dave the Gnome 06 Jan 18 - 06:31 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 18 - 08:25 PM
Jackaroodave 06 Jan 18 - 09:23 PM
Joe Offer 06 Jan 18 - 11:54 PM
mg 07 Jan 18 - 12:07 AM
mg 07 Jan 18 - 01:28 AM
Jackaroodave 07 Jan 18 - 01:56 AM
DMcG 07 Jan 18 - 02:20 AM
Senoufou 07 Jan 18 - 04:26 AM
Iains 07 Jan 18 - 05:05 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jan 18 - 05:25 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jan 18 - 05:31 AM
Iains 07 Jan 18 - 05:51 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Jan 18 - 05:58 AM
Iains 07 Jan 18 - 06:32 AM
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Subject: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jan 18 - 10:54 AM

Homeless to be cleared off the streetts for the Royal Wedding
Wonder how that fits in with his brother's charity activities?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Senoufou
Date: 04 Jan 18 - 11:10 AM

I saw that in the paper today Jim, and it made my blood boil.
How untidy of the suffering homeless to litter the pavements like that and spoil the wedding! And it's all their own fault; they actually love being half-frozen in the bitter weather and having to beg, getting spat on and attacked. They probably do it just to annoy us.

'The Homeless' are not a homogeneous set of folk. They have a myriad problems and dozens of reasons for their predicament. Some are mentally ill, others are addicts, some are migrants, others prostitutes, some are youngsters chucked out of their 'homes'. They can be difficult to deal with, and wary of officialdom. The Salvation Army does quite a bit to give them some basic comforts. But this Victorian attitude of 'moving them on' because the sight of them offends....well!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jan 18 - 11:13 AM

I was heartened (if not a little surprised) that Theresa May has expressed her opposition to the decision
It will be interesting to se if the Royals who are involved in these charities boycott the wedding!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Charmion
Date: 04 Jan 18 - 11:19 AM

The city of Vancouver went to extraordinary lengths to clear its streets of homeless people before the Olympic Games in 2010. The "downtown Eastside" neighbourhood, notorious across Canada for its drug problems, was the main target even though hardly anyone could imagine Olympic ticket-holders wandering into its blighted streets. Nobody with the brains God gave a goose had any trouble breaking the code.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Senoufou
Date: 04 Jan 18 - 11:26 AM

I do see that, when trying to ensure security is as tight as possible, the Police are concerned that a terrorist could easily pretend to be homeless and have a bomb hidden in his sleeping bag. But a 'respectable-looking' old lady could have a bomb hidden in her capacious handbag. It merely requires searches and vigilance.

The only way to ensure the absolute safety of the Royals is to clear the streets completely of any persons at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: CupOfTea
Date: 04 Jan 18 - 11:27 AM

I can remember one city rounding up the homeless and busing them to another city just before the Olympics were held, to "clean up the city." The dump-ee city was furious. So where are they going to PUT these folks (and their stash of meager belongings)? It is a grand opportunity to try some housing solutions for the homeless. Even the best re-housing scheme certainly won't take care of everyone, sadly.

In Cleveland, which is undergoing a large surge in trendy, upscale living, the court has JUST thrown out a city anti-panhandling law as unconstitutional. As someone who works in a downtown area, and deals with social services for homeless regularly, one of the things I see with those who are new to the city, or visiting from the suburbs and outlying areas (as I suspect many of those viewing a royal wedding might be) is the surprise, disgust, and disbelief in encountering the homeless, particularly the mentally ill. Not wanting to offend the moneyed class with those who are abjectly poor is a significant marker of how out of kilter our civic priorities are.

Joanne in the lovely suburb of Siberia on the Heights


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Greg F.
Date: 04 Jan 18 - 11:42 AM

Maybe the Royals could put Rudy Giuliani in charge of clearing the streets.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Donuel
Date: 04 Jan 18 - 04:36 PM

CupOfTea good Op Ed. Good luck doing the good work.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: mg
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 02:35 AM

no, i think it is rarely a personal choice, although a series of bad choices could lead to it. there are a large number of people who can not navigate the complexities of society but who could do fairly well in a more structured environment, where they were expected to work to the extent of their health and abilities, leaving time for family, recreation etc. but not much for lounging. i personally fall into this category. they should be fairly easy to provide for.

they need to be sorted out and triaged. the police or some sort of security operation need to be handed the violent criminals and those heavy into some drugs and alcohol. the violent, criminally insane ones can not be handled without strong security. they can not be handled by church groups, garden societies etc. once they are out of the picture, the rest, even those with non-violent mental illnesses, are not that hard, unless they are contagious with tb etc.

a small community can not provide very nice shelters because they will be flooded from afar. it needs to be national.

everyone will say studies prove people do best with housing. well, of course they do. what do you do in the meantime? a tent in an enclosed area, with a storm shelter, with showers and toilets, and security cameras and security guards would suffice in a number of places for a number of people, on a temporary basis. it is easy to get food in..think of the school lunches thrown out each day. problem is always plumbing, but with creative composting, filtered burning, things become possible. if we can put a woman on the moon we can figure this out. some tent encampments do quite well policing themselves etc. many veterans would find this a familiar lifestyle. you need shelter from extreme cold and heat and storms. you need protection from vermin, wild animals and human creeps.

if people were screened as to violence, contagion, drug and alcohol use, you could house many of the non-violent in national parks. they always need to be supervised, inspected, removed into more security situations as needed. there are county fairgrounds. there are unused schools and dying strip malls.

i wish we worked on this instead of getting a tax break.

my bottom line....keep working toward good housing for all. in the meantime, get them out of the doorways, out of the rain, into something. guarantee everyone enough food and shelter so they do not have to steal etc. to stay alive. expect that the able-bodied will work at something, parks, painting properties, cooking for each other etc. and adjust their benefits accordingly..again, if they are able.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 02:43 AM

Regarding the question of whether homelessness is a personal choice: from my observations, it does seem to sometimes be the case. For a variety of reasons, some people just can't handle living in a shelter, or in an house or apartment - so, some of them choose to live on the streets, even though they may be miserable at times. That's just the way they are. A lot of times, that's due to mental illness.
As communities, it's up to us to deal with that reality. We're always going to have some people who are going to live on the streets. They're citizens, too - and they have all the rights that the rest of us have. In most nations, that means that they are entitled to a significant amount of personal freedom and dignity.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: mg
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 02:56 AM

i think there have to be limits...for public safety and hygiene, for the rights of businesses to conduct business without people sleeping in their doorways. there could be more open space safe places to sleep. we have a public health nightmare looming and we have to look at the rights of the homeless vs. the rights of all. some of people's concerns about sleeping in shelters is quite justified. they can get robbed, assaulted etc. good cameras, good screening and sorting of who goes where can help. but you can;'t encourage a major epidemic because of what people prefer.

i think at least an intermediate, and qed solution is using vans, five wheelers, trailers etc. they don't have to have working motors. they could be towed. the population could be trained to fix them, take care of each other, cook, take care of grounds etc. there is a lot of land in america, and there are a lot of old trailers that can be acquired for free or almost nothing. again, i am always implying that people need to be sorted out and criminals and violent and scarey people need to be treated, decently but assuredly, by law enforcement.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Senoufou
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 03:23 AM

The ideas suggested here for America are probably good ones, but the controversy was begun by Police being concerned about security around the Royal Wedding next year in Windsor UK.
It would be a bit difficult to provide large areas of open-air or trailer-type accommodation for rough sleepers in UK cities, due to lack of space, cost of facilities etc. But triage for them might be a possibility, to sort through their many problems and difficulties and address each individual's needs. Addictions and mental/physical ill-health could be treated. But no-one could physically force them to attend or participate, unless rather overbearing legislation was brought into force.
I agree wholeheartedly with Joe regarding respecting their personal dignity.
It wrings my heart when we go into Norwich and pass quite a few of these poor souls, especially in the freezing weather. We often buy a coffee and a pack of sandwiches for one or two. But it isn't the answer I know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 03:45 AM

My former boss, a nun, has a homeless friend named Kevin that she watches out for. Kevin lives in an illegal tent community beside the American River in Sacramento, and my boss doesn't think he'd be able to calm down enough to live in a building. But when she was in town, she would pick him up once a week and take him to her home to have a bath and a hot meal. She also helped him manipulate the medical bureaucracy.

My daughter has been homeless once in a while. It's hard for her to live with or around people. Right now, she's living in a room provided by my ex-wife, but she's not very happy there. We're trying to buy a condominium for her, but we're not sure she'll want to live there - or if she'll be able to live with neighbors.

Homelessness is a sad and complex situation. There are no easy answers, and no one-fits-all solutions.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 04:48 AM

It's a difficult question.
There's a lot of homelessness in Cardiff, and the Council have promised to do something about it (finding homes etc.)
But there are some who do not want to be confined to a 'home'.

I do, sometimes give directly to the homeless. But I wonder whether I'm helping, or hindering, the situation.
If no one gave to the homeless, would they be more likely to accept help from the government, or from homeless charities?

I know there have been reports in the papers of situations in London where a non-homeless person arrives daily, complete with the usual paraphernalia of a homeless person, and sets up a space just to live off the charity. Apparently there are some areas of London where it can provide more than the living wage.

As I started, It's a difficult question.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 04:50 AM

"It's a difficult question."
You will never work out the complications of homelessness until everybody has been given the right to choose whether to live in a home or whether to live otherwise - making it "complicated" is the excuse the Establisment gives for not being able or willing to do that
Ireland is now facing a massive rise in homelessness because the wealthy have now realised the profit that is to be made out of property
One of the worst threats to Irish society is 'Vulture Capitalism' in the shape of companies like Goldman Sachs buying up entire estates of rented property, evicting the tenants and 'gentrifying' the houses and reselling them to the better off.
A few years ago there was a superb American film, 'The Big Short', which showed how Vulture Capitalism brought the world to its economic knees - frightening
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Senoufou
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 05:47 AM

I suppose giving the homeless some money might be a bad idea, as they could spend it on drink or drugs. The prisoners I worked with told me that's what the aim was - to beg for enough cash to buy a wrap of heroin.
We think that a hot drink and some food could help them a little, and do no harm, so we do that when we can.
I admire your boss Joe, the nun who took her protege Kevin home for a hot bath and a meal. Very practical Christianity in action! Like the Salvation Army, who do a lot in this field.

I think the most important thing is people's attitude to the homeless and to beggars. Some people attack them, spit on them and shout abuse.
In my view they have enough to suffer without such cruel and uncalled-for behaviour. I sometimes wonder where compassion went...


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 05:57 AM

From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 04:50 AM
"It's a difficult question."
You will never work out the complications of homelessness until everybody has been given the right to choose whether to live in a home or whether to live otherwise - making it "complicated" is the excuse the Establisment gives for not being able or willing to do that


Yes, but by that argument, there are people who wish to live otherwise. It is then very difficult to complain about the problems of homelessness if there is no way for the 'establishment' to distinguish between the two types of homelessness (choice/circumstance).


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 06:06 AM

Eliza - You may be interested in this article from The New Statesman


Entitled "Why you should give money directly and unconditionally to homeless people" it is quite controversial but does provide some balance to the opinion that giving to the homeless may be a bad idea.

Nice to see you back BTW.

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 06:42 AM

"It is then very difficult to complain about the problems of homelessness if there is no way for the 'establishment' to distinguish between the two types of homelessness (choice/circumstance). "
No problem at all Nigel - counting the increasing number of people who have been made homeless for economic reasons might be a good start
You can start with Thatcher's campaign to turn homes into investments with that one
This is a disgusting poloy by the right to wash its hands of the problems that are being caused by a failing, greed-based system
The blaming of the victims has now had a gruesome new aspect added to it, the girlfriend of the Ukip leader has described Grenfell Tower as "a nest of illegal immigrants"
Now your political football is really on the field.
The next logical step is to describe the growing hospital crisis as being 'a life choice' caused by bad diets and smoking (two of the mainstays of our economy - fatty foods and tobacco).
Jim Caarroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Senoufou
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 07:02 AM

Oh Dave, that article expresses what I have always felt deep down. My sister has always nagged me about NOT giving them any money, but as the article says, they have the right to decide what to do with it, and who are we to dictate to them about their choices? Forcing them to 'hit rock bottom' seems terribly cruel.

Those prisoners used to say that a fiver was always welcome, as a desperate need for a 'fix' causes untold suffering. However, my husband and I haven't too much spare cash, as all our resources go generally to help his huge impoverished family in Ivory Coast (His sister has now contracted TB). A coffee/sandwich isn't a lot to offer, but perhaps £2 would be a small help? I just don't know, but I have to say I have been reduced to tears by the plight of some of these poor folk. And we feel so lucky to have the blessing of a comfortable home, central heating and enough to eat...


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Iains
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 07:47 AM

Homelessness is a complex problem with many causes ranging the entire gamut from mental health issues, poor lifestyle choices,deliberate intent, inability to integrate after being institutionalized (either prison or services), or simply bad luck, to name but a few. Trying to make some sort of political argument out of it does zilch to address the problem. They were once called tramps but now the numbers have swollen and urbanization means they sleep in doorways instead of under hedges.
Did closing the old mental hospitals and moving to care in the community lead to a lack of care as one Labour MP stated?(Denounced as a Victorian relic by no less the the then Minister of Health Enoch Powell)
Does immigration add to the problem?
Is the educational system failing a swathe of vulnerable people?
Did selling off social housing accentuate the problem?
Is enough done to acclimatize prisoners and service personnel to life outside?
Do we require vastly more sheltered housing units?

What is certain is that modern life is increasingly complex and the less able(however you wish to define the demographic) can and do fall through the cracks.

http://www.trueandfairfoundation.com/content/file/feature/review-hornets-nest-report-into-charitable-spending-UK-charities-12-de

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/the-demise-of-the-asylum-and-the-rise-of-care-in-the-community-8352927.html


https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/25/number-of-rough-sleepers-in-england-rises-for-sixth-successive-year

I will cherry pick the above article for the salient point made:
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said the government was investing ?550million to 2020 to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

"Homelessness is more than just a housing issue so we are now funding projects in 225 local authorities to help those people at risk of becoming homeless, already sleeping rough or those with complex needs, to get back on their feet."


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 07:56 AM

The answer is yes to all of those questions, Iains, and there will be other factors we have not even mentioned. It is indeed complex, as in any issue involving people. To put the blame at the door of just one or even a few of the issues is futile and counter productive.

Eliza - Glad you liked it. I thought you would and I had the same reaction when I first saw it. I am lucky enough to be able to spare some cash but even then I cannot give to everyone. When I mentioned this to my lovely, caring daughters the advice they gave was brilliant. Even if we cannot give money, we can always give something. A smile. A word. The gloves you are wearing. Give them anything but your contempt :-)

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 09:24 PM

I've read that there are places in the US where "tiny houses" are being built for homeless people. I wonder how that is working out.

I have a friend who gives gift cards for fast food restaurants to homeless people. I wonder if they use them, sell them, or throw them away. I've also read that some fast food places don't like homeless people to eat there. (Local managers' decisions, not corporate policy, as far as I know.)

I donate to homeless shelters, food banks, etc., and often wonder what else I should/can do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 12:29 AM

I liked the New Statesman article that Dave linked to, also.

Here in the U.S., the standard line is that we should give our donations to charities and not to panhandlers/beggars, because many of the panhandlers are not truly needy and can make up to $300 a day in a good spot. Even people I know who operate facilities for the homeless, encourage people not to give to panhandlers.

But it just doesn't feel right to turn my head the other way and not give anything, so sometimes I do give. I guess I'll always have mixed feelings about it, but I appreciate the New Statesman author who flat-out says to give to beggars and not try to discern whether their need is honest.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 05:08 AM

THe greatest and longest standing cop-out of any government, past and present to explain away their inability or unwillingness to live up to their responsibilities is to describe them as "complicated"
The overwhelming cause of homelessness today is down to the fact that homes have been priced out of the reach of many working and unemployed people
THere really is nothing "complicated" about that
Blaming the homeless for their own plight is inhuman and disgusting
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Iains
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 05:41 AM

"THe greatest and longest standing cop-out of any government, past and present to explain away their inability or unwillingness to live up to their responsibilities is to describe them as "complicated"
Governments are supposed to exhibit fiscal responsibility. Endless borrowing has consequences. There is no magic wand!

"Blaming the homeless for their own plight is inhuman and disgusting"
Who has done that????????????????????????????

"The overwhelming cause of homelessness today is down to the fact that homes have been priced out of the reach of many working and unemployed people"
After the credit crunch, house prices in many countries, such as the US and Spain fell dramatically. But, in the UK, the drop in house prices has been more muted. This is because the UK never had a boom in house building like other countries.
Housing completions have fallen close to 100,000 a year ? well below the level (of 250,000) needed to meet the growth in the number of households. Over the last four quarters to Q3 2013, new build starts have averaged just 22,000 per quarter.
Is the above purely due to incompetance/unwillingness etc. of successive governments Labour, conservative coalition.

It is far more complex than that. Take a look at nimbys, lack of incentive for the private sector, sale of public housing, green belt restrictions-the list is endless.

Once again your cheap shots are largely baseless.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 06:41 AM

"Who has done that????????????????????????????"
THe bunch of Tory twats who run Windsor - that is what this discussion is about
Thos TTs here who suggest that the question is complicated (particularly the sicko who mentioned mental health as an issue) are doing exactly the same defending the "nuffin' to do with us" stance of the right.
Since Thatcher turned homes into investments, homelessness became an inevitable nd growing feature of British life - submerging that in a mass of other excuses is defending the predatory nature of a property market
Now we have the classic contradiction of the system we live under - property prices linked directly to employment - where there is work, housing is placed largely out of the reach of the workers - the South East soft underbelly being typical, where the price of accommodation makes living there impossible on today's wages
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 07:36 AM

Lack of affordable housing is only part of it, Jim. If we were to build a million 75000 pound homes tomorrow most of those currently homeless could not afford to rent, let alone buy, one anyway.

In full agreement about the twats at Windsor.


DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: DMcG
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 08:04 AM

Just for comparison: as a result of Brexit my sister and her husband have sold their house a little outside Celle in Germany to move back to the UK. I won't go into details but their history reveals how the difference in housing policies has affected house prices in the two countries. Suffice it to say their 16 room German house is worth less than a very small UK one outside the hotspot regions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 08:11 AM

"Lack of affordable housing is only part of it, Jim"
No argument there Dave
Just looking at the things that are being out of reach of working people - travel by train has just hit the fan, more to come

"They're always ready to receive, but not inclined to give
Very soon they won't allow a working man to live"
As Tommy Armstrong put it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Senoufou
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 08:23 AM

While I agree one can't have too much affordable housing and sensibly-priced rental units etc, there are actually homeless people who really can't seem to cope in any kind of accommodation and either have to be evicted, wander off or start to 'sofa surf' then rough-sleep. I have met some in my contact with prisoners. They maybe mentally ill, or so addicted to alcohol or drugs that they simply can't handle being in a house or flat. They need help, psychologically and socially, in special units where small numbers are guided by a resident mentor. They need compassion, understanding and much patience, not readily found in today's world.
I have also seen in our area groups of people who seem to be in families, and possibly of Romanian, Lithuanian etc origin (certainly Eastern European) who have migrated here to seek their fortune and sleep in odd corners of the parks or under overpasses. They probably aren't eligible for council accommodation, or must go on some sort of waiting list.
It seems inhumane to expect them to 'live' outside like that, but I don't know how one could help them.
One prisoner I tried to mentor was offered a small 'studio' council flat on his release, and promptly turned it into a drug den, invited a whole bunch of rather scary people to kip on his floor and filled the entire place with drug paraphenalia. The endless stream of dealers who traipsed up and down the stairs caused the Police to get involved, and the lad was promptly evicted and ended up homeless once more.
Homelessness isn't a simple problem, but indeed VERY complex.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 08:35 AM

My Dad, rest his soul, used to invite what we then called tramps into the house for a good meal. Often accompanied by a vodka bottle :-) Much to my Mum's chagrin!

Maybe that is the easy European way and perhaps that may help the families you mention, Eliza? Not saying you should personally do that but maybe the local authority could help residents who were willing to do similar?

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 08:37 AM

Easy=east.

I will get used to the vagueries of Android one day soon...


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Stanron
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 03:49 PM

The overwhelming cause of homelessness today is down to the fact that homes have been priced out of the reach of many working and unemployed people
Any one watch 'Homes Under The Hammer' here in the UK? At the beginning and end of each renovation local Estate Agents are called in to assess the value of the proprty. Either for sale or rental. It is not unusual for rental return on the investment to be 8%. My cash ISA returns somewhere about 1% if I'm 'lucky'. It's not surprising that those people with enough money invest in property to rent. Investing in property is too good an opportunity to miss as long as Bank interest rates are kept at such a consistent low. Unfortunately this creates a scarcity of property for sale to first time buyers and pressures rental rates upwards.

When interest rates were significantly higher, like in the 1970s, Saving money brought in higher rates of interest, property investment was less attractive to the average saver and it was easier to rent. Obversely, the value of wages was constantly eroded and the result of that was continuous industrial action for higher wages.

You could look at these two examples as extreme swings of an economic pendulum but the financial crash of 2008 was a kind of anomaly that might have thrown a cyclic model completely out of kilter.

The answer to all economic problems is growth. What policies will promote growth?

And don't suggest Keynesianism, Keynes based his ideas on a pre Welfare State Britain. Back then the bulk of Public Spending was to do with defence and administration of the Empire, and that Empire generated revenue. There was the opportunity for the Government to increase it's spending on homeland projects.

Today the bulk of our spending is on ourselves, the NHS, Education and Welfare. There is no spare. We spend more than revenue provides. And forget the mantra that 'borrowing is cheap'. It won't always be cheap as students who are paying off their loans will recently have discovered.

If interest rates went up to just 10% now we could go into a deep and damaging recession. Then we would all know the proper meaning of 'Austerity' as opposed to the 'tough times for some' that we have now.

Back in the 1970s Wilson, Heath and Callahan all knew that wage restraint was not the solution to the inflation / wages rise spiral. All three eventually had to introduce wage restraint and for all three it failed. (More info on this in the 'Turning Points 1979 Election' program). Margret Thatcher had a different plan and, like it or not, it worked (in it's own way).

We need someone with a new plan, not Keynes, not Monetarism but something new. I don't think it will be Corbyn but I have, occasionally, been wrong before.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Iains
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 05:17 PM

"We need someone with a new plan, not Keynes, not Monetarism but something new. I don't think it will be Corbyn but I have, occasionally, been wrong before."

Having a plan is one thing. To bring it to a successful conclusion is another. The major problem is that governments fire fight inherited/developing situations that often negate or radically modify whatever long term plans that they had in their toy box for implementation. Also many of these problems such as homelessness tend to be pushed aside by far more pressing problems. How do you prioritize? Does a homeless family with young children in an emergency shelter have a greater need for rehousing than a tramp dossing under a hedge? Should the public purse pay extortionate rents in central London for people when the same sum could house many more in cheaper areas?
Do defects in the Health Service contribute to homelessness? Should more resources plug that gap?
    There are conversations that we as a society need to have in order to address these problems. Partisan politics merely polarizes and creates further problems. The only way to derive a solution is for society as a whole to decide how to allocate finite resources. Deciding on a mechanism to fully isolate the problem and point out potential solutions is a tricky one. In the UK the closest we come to such an arrangement is the Public Enquiry or more particularly a royal commission. Just how politicians are to be coerced into such an exercise escapes me. Perhaps an online petition?


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 06:31 PM

Partisan politics merely polarizes and creates further problems. The only way to derive a solution is for society as a whole to decide how to allocate finite resources.

I think that is more or less what I said in the Nigel Lawson thread is it not Iains? Glad we agree on it. Maybe some progress can be made even if only here on Mudcat :-)

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 08:25 PM

"The answer to all economic problems is growth."

Well yes, if you're a paid-up member of the capitalist system. But if you're disabled, or a pensioner on the state provision only (just about the worst in Europe, but hey), or unemployed, or homeless, or on zero-hours, or if you can't afford your rent control-free rent, or if you rely on food banks or on selling the Big Issue, economic growth will not give you any answers at all. But, of course, that wouldn't really worry you Tories.

"Today the bulk of our spending is on ourselves, the NHS, Education and Welfare. There is no spare."

Oh, there's plenty of spare. But we choose to give that spare to people who are already as rich as Croesus, the offshore tax-evaders, the non-doms, the shareholders who make money (not earn money) without ever getting off their fat arses and the multinationals who hold us to ransom by demanding low corporation tax. If only we clawed back that spare, we would have tbe best health service and education service and welfare provision on planet Earth. Still, you won't like that. It simply isn't the Tory way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 09:23 PM

Despite the vast difference from the situation in British Isles, perhaps these data from the US may shed some light on the issues of political will, fiscal priorities, and scale of expense in caring for the homeless:

In the States, there are an estimated five hundred thousand homeless.

There are over two million prisoners.

The cost to government of their incarceration is approximately eighty billion dollars. A study by Washington University finds that for every dollar of governmental expense, there is an additional ten dollars in social costs.

Although there is no lack of political will to bear this financial burden, for some unspecified reason the problem of one-quarter that number of homeless people is supposed to be intractible, and it is left up to individual communities to patch solutions together as best they can.

In this context of such national indifference, pondering the details of a treatment plan seems marginally relevant.

In the British Isles things are no doubt very different, but is it really the case that the nations are bound and determined to solve this problem at all costs--if only they were not frustrated by, for example, the uncooperative attitudes of the homeless themselves?


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Jan 18 - 11:54 PM

Solving the problem of homelessness is complicated, Jim. Homeless people are individuals, and have individual needs. Many simply can't live in a large dormitory. Some need treatment for mental health issues or addictions. Some just don't know how to live in a rental house, and need some sort of preparation to be responsible renters. Some need institutional care. We just can't build a one-size-fits-all facility and think we've fulfilled our obligation. It takes dedication, hard work, compassion, and good ideas. And then somehow, you have to keep the people in nearby heighborhoods happy - that's the toughest part.

I've been working with others since about 2012 to establish on a homeless shelter for our community. We opened it in 2015 with a capacity of 47, and we were allowed to keep it open from 5 PM to 7 AM. We now have room for 100 people, and they can stay round-the-clock. We have developed programs for treatment of drug and alcohol addiction, and the county provides mental health treatment. We have a class on how to be a responsible renter, and we have a program that places residents in permanent housing. We also offer some job training, but not as much as we'd like. The town has a homeless population of about 250, so a 100-person shelter doesn't fill the need completely.

It has been an interesting challenge, and I've enjoyed it.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: mg
Date: 07 Jan 18 - 12:07 AM

do what you can and do the easiest first. the purse factory folds and google engineers move in. 50 women are homeless. they should not be hard to house. make google pay by the way. set up a dormitory and make it as self-sustaining as possible. many can cook, they can have a greenhouse on the roof perhaps etc.

there are many generally low-iq, low skill set, but basically harmless souls shuffling around. set up a little village in the country. Nice people can run it with almost no security. Volunteers can do a lot. Perhaps they can have a little dairy and milk some goats and make some cheese. Pretty easy.

Keep doing that.

You have violent cannibal rapists. What do you do? Police state has to take care of that group. Volunteers can perhaps help once basic security is set up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: mg
Date: 07 Jan 18 - 01:28 AM

i think a lot of populations could be more or less self sustaining, and could provide benefits for others as well. a lot of them have skills, construction, clerical, cooking. has anyone ever inventoried their skills? A lot have no fixed attachment to any one place (I am guessing) and will go where they think times will be better. Again, first and foremost, sort them out. Set up nicer hostels etc. farther from center of town. They need food and shelter, but it does not need to be on wall street or in front of buckingham palace. make sure they are assigned to an appropriate level of security and give most of them chores in lieux of salary. This does not all have to take a huge lot of money once things are set up. Again I am only referring to the lost their job and can't get back on their feet population, or the low iq never had a job because the factory went away population. You will still have the drug addicts, and can work with those next. Some can't be helped much, although all should be given a chance. A secure place where they can not hurt others with food, shelter, entertainment, and access to legal (or make some of them legal) drugs. It might end up being a hospice, but should be clean and warm and better than what they have now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 07 Jan 18 - 01:56 AM

Bless you for your work, Joe.

Wouldn't it be even more exciting and enjoyable if the government spent, say, half the amount per homeless person as it does per prisoner? With a homeless population of 250 @ $20,000 per person, that would give you five million dollars to work with.

Not to belittle the complications arising from the individual humanity of each homeless person, hospitals, for example, face perhaps a greater variation in individual needs they must serve. And beleaguered as they are, they don't find these vast differences themselves an overwhelming obstacle--because in comparison they have much greater revenues and institutional depth to draw on--insurance, medicare, medicaid, Affordable Care, and so forth.

The plea of scarce government revenues makes me sick: An analysis by Bloomberg estimates the new tax bill will create a one trillion dollar loss in revenue over ten years. If we can throw that much away, couldn't we have held back a hundredth of that for our half million homeless neighbors?

In Maine the death rate per 100,000 is about 10--high in part because Maine's population is relatively old. Point-in-time surveys of Portland Maine's homeless population show about 500 people. In 2017, forty homeless people died in Portland, a death rate 800 times that of the state overall. (And of course the rate is higher compared to their age cohorts, because homeless people die on average 28 years earlier than the general population, so they don't GET to be old.) It's a freaking plague! No, it's not, it's a policy of decimation.

To me it's a national disgrace that agencies serving the homeless have to rely on volunteers and scramble for non-profit donations and what they can get from municipal budgets after operating costs are covered.

I love what you do, Joe, but it's a shame you have to do it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: DMcG
Date: 07 Jan 18 - 02:20 AM

I have suspected for a long time that the reason for the UK low productivity is intimately linked with the high cost of housing. In the one hand so much of what people earn goes to the landlords, and on the other it is normally more profitable and certainly more secure for a wealthy person to be a landlord than to invest in companies to make them more profitable. So I see policies aimed at changing this to be as important as simply.building more houses.


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Senoufou
Date: 07 Jan 18 - 04:26 AM

Just a few points:-

From my (admittedly limited) experience, the populations of 'Prisoners' and 'The Homeless' are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Sadly, many homeless people have been in prison, and many released prisoners become homeless.

By reducing expenditure on HMP Prisons, one risks security breaches, riots and other mutinous behaviour, and despite their criminality, prisoners have human rights.

I'm a bit wary of Institutions for the homeless. I have studied the history of the Union Workhouses in England, and I have an idea that many homeless folk of today would never consent to reside in buildings run on authoritarian lines. They often prefer their freedom, and would probably drift off back onto the streets rather than be regimented (even in the most benevolent way) Such places by their very nature must have rules, and this is where the difficulties begin.

I suspect that there are indeed some among the homeless who would appreciate a house or flat and cannot afford to rent one. Money would help here. But many have already been housed by Local Authorities and have been unable to sustain the status of tenant.

I do agree with mg above in that one should start by 'sorting' them into various categories, the mentally ill, the addicts etc and have a plan for each type. Many are also in dire need of medical attention.

But one cannot sweep the streets, scoop up the non-conforming Homeless and wheel them away into Systems. That to me has a rather sinister undertone...


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Iains
Date: 07 Jan 18 - 05:05 AM

Senoufou. You rightly highlight again the fact that a "one size fits all" approach is doomed to failure. As many have said, people are on the streets for a variety of reasons therefore it follows that only a multiplicity of approaches will help reduce the problem. Dormitories in a modern day workhouse environment are not going to be any part of the solution, other than a temporary expedient providing shelter from harsh weather. 50 in a room against freezing in the street is a no brainer for all but a hardcore. The closure of many large Victorian asylums(Psychiatristsc hospitals) in the 80's left many exposed vulnerable people, as shown below
"Yet in 21st-century Ireland, one of our worst fears for de-institutionalisation has come to pass ? while inpatient beds have fallen, lack of appropriate accommodation alongside shortages in community-based mental health services have left some people with severe mental health difficulties with nowhere to go for a safe home.

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/homeless-people-with-mental-health-difficulties-need-more-than-key-in-the-door-1.2062351
https://www.salon.com/2013/09/29/ronald_reagans_shameful_legacy_violence_the_homeless_mental_illness/
http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/storage/documents/backgrounders/smi-and-homelessness.pdf
http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/179/5/381


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jan 18 - 05:25 AM

Presenting homelessness as a psychiatric condition really is as low as it gets - beats Windsor's ethnic cleansing for the Royal marriage into a cocked hat
Mental problems are, of course a tine part of the problem as is home abuse forcing children to leave
The overall cause of homelessness is the price of property and the acute shortage of rented accommodation - everything else is an added consideration
Jay- sus
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jan 18 - 05:31 AM

Even if metal problems were an issue, the appalling attitude towards mental health treatment by a government who is happy to stand by and see sufferers locked up as criminals rather than be treated as someone in need of help rather than provide the necessary treatment is as much to blame as anything
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Iains
Date: 07 Jan 18 - 05:51 AM

"As many have said, people are on the streets for a variety of reasons"
"Presenting homelessness as a psychiatric condition really is as low as it gets ? ?   ?    ?    ?   ?"

Jim why do you always pick up the wrong end of the stick. To all but a fool the most vulnerable are those with mental issues. It would seem sensible in a caring world to start with the most needy.
You quote government as the problem.which one Irish, Americam, UK, or the entire UN? It is a social problem and a question of what society is prepared to tolerate. We no longer hang starving people for stealing a loaf of bread- We kid ourselves we are too civilised for that but we quite happily live in a dog eat dog society and cross the road to avoid upsetting our sensibilities.
It requires people to get severely pissed off with the realities before any government will sully their hands with the problem.
Try reading the links!


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Jan 18 - 05:58 AM

No, sorry Jim, but as I said earlier a lack of housing is not the main reason. It is a major factor but if you cannot afford to pay or do not want the responsibility no amount of empty flats will help. Also, mental illness is a factor. I do not think anyone has said it applies to all homeless but some, from experience and other studies, are suffering from various conditions. Again, no amount of property will help them.

We need a proper joined up central policy to address all the issues. Not people trying to make political mileage out of the suffering of others.

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Homelessness a Personal Choice?
From: Iains
Date: 07 Jan 18 - 06:32 AM

We expect them to fight on our behalf and then abandon the most needy.

http://media.britishlegion.org.uk/Media/2283/litrev_ukvetshomelessness.pdf

Enoch Powell's views of many years back.
http://studymore.org.uk/xpowell.htm

" An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders. Approximately 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have ?a recent history? of a mental health condition."

For JIM

https://www.homeless.org.uk/facts/our-research/homelessness-and-health-research


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