Move Along There...And Keep Moving?
What about homeless people in Coventry?
While the present government vows to build more new homes and make home-ownership a realistc and more affordable possiblity for the next generation homelessness continues to rise throughout the UK. Homelessness, it seems is one of those perennial social issues that slides down the agenda, in favour of tax-paying young professionals who equally need somewhere to live.
In Coventry, which has seen an increase of almost 50% in the number of homeless people on the streets, a November motion was proposed by the local authority to outlaw busking, begging and skateboarding and other "street" related activites - with the potential threat of a £100 fine - ironic for buskers. While in other cities, defensive furniture, such as anti-rough sleeping spikes, are still being employed, after much outrage and political action several years ago. A new series of spikes were recently removed in Manchester after a local woman kept covering them in cushions.
Meanwhile, there is a proposal to quite literally send to Coventry homeless people from the London borough of Westminster (actually one of the most privileged and most deprived London boroughs - emphasising the frictional divide) as a sort of relocation process.
It's hard to know what to make of the changes and adjustments to homeless people sleeping rough; many of which often seem punitive, and rarely preventative. These are people you find in almost every major or minor city, certainly thoughout the UK, and in Coventry in particular, many homeless people take shelter in the lit subways or in small l gaps underneath the ringroad, a relatively sheltered place where makeshift beds of cardboard and crushed duvets, but these are areas that can also leave people dangerously exposed to abuse; forced to occupy a space between being highly visible, exposed in every sense and a source of shame and guilt between the observed and the spectator, at other times tragically invisible, a blind statistic. With Government cuts going deeper to mainline council services it seems likely the situation will get worse before it gets better. It is not that the Government and many places across the UK have a homeless problem; more often than not, they have a problem with homeless people.
THE CHALK FAIRY
by Thomas McColl
Each night I traipse
the streets of London,
drawing chalk lines
round homeless people
that, even in the early hours
of Christmas Day,
there’s no shortage of bodies
to draw my outlines round:
London’s one big crime scene
every single day of the year.
You can find out more about Tom's collection of poetry and short stories: Being With Me Will Help You Learn - HERE
HOW TO HELP
Coventry Cyrenians are a local charity that do excellent work:
Coventry City Council have advice and information their website:
These are 5 very simple, but effective ways to help: