The Social Impact Bond (SIB), Bed Every Night and now Housing First. The Trinity of actions to tackle homelessness. Each has a different definition, but they are all chasing the same holy grail – to end the need for rough sleeping.
I spent another day shadowing an outreach worker yesterday, calling on 4 people (former rough sleepers) who she has helped into accommodation and enabled the support to keep them there (and resolve the problems that lead to homelessness in the first place).
The challenge is daunting – to set up home, from nothing, having been excluded from society for many years, maybe with a host of personal difficulties. I’d need a lot of help, for sure. Getting a job is generally not an option. Addiction, mental and physical health problems preclude the mantra ‘the best way out of poverty is employment’.
And if you stop to think of the cost to us taxpayers, it will make your eyes water. As I hear about the numerous, basic things that will be funded by local and national government, and the on-going benefits, I can’t help but shudder. I box off that thought because the need to do something for our fellow Mancs overrides it. It gets worse though, some benefits payments will go to drug dealers, that’s life.
Does the cost bother you?
If the cost of this stops us from sanctioning this expense, then we are one step away from the most brutal facism.
The bottom line is that in our society, in our communities we must support each other, whatever the cost.