Wednesday, 6 July 2011

”They are all hungry and easy to love.”

Plans to make squatting a criminal offence have been branded “absolutely appalling” by a Bournemouth homeless campaigner.
Riiiight. Because it’s always ‘the homeless’ who squat, isn’t it?

Oh, wait, no, it isn't, as David Thompson points out...
John Coulston, a director at Michael House in Boscombe which provides emergency and longer term accommodation for homeless people, said: “This is diabolical; it is just going to add to the misery of these very vulnerable people.

“We are supposed to be a civilised country but this will make life even more difficult for rough sleepers who are already at the bottom of the pile.”
By definition, if they are ‘rough sleepers’ they aren’t squatters, surely?
Crisis points out that almost 40 per cent of homeless people resort to squatting at some point and that of these more than half have been to prison. Twenty per cent are alcohol-dependent and more than a third have mental health problems.
That’s less than half! What about the rest? If they aren’t homeless, what are they?
Winton Salvation Army member Mary Randall, who received an MBE for her services to the homeless, takes a team of volunteers out on to the streets of Bournemouth every Monday night to provide 60 hot meals to rough sleepers, as well as clean clothing.

She told the Daily Echo: “This is desperately sad because these are the poorest people in Bournemouth and need help.

“There are people squatting here every night. This isn’t the way to treat them; we try and treat them with dignity. They are all hungry and easy to love.”
So, they’re ‘squatting’ on the streets, Mary? I think you need to be reminded just what squatting entails, and who it is that usually is behind it.

And I think you'll find that those who really are 'easy to love' are, well, loved. And helped.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The problem here is we need law to prevent private property being raided and trashed by squatters, much as Harold Wilson, no less, promised. So no sign of any of those changes being 'real'. English Law is based on some ancient rot concerning castle sieges.

I have a house vulnerable to this at the moment, so I favour a proper change. I also favour changes to stop slum landlords. And property lying empty for years when people are homeless. I suspect what we'll get will just favour speculators who buy crappy properties and wait for the upturn when they can cash in.
The answer is to be able to turn up with cops and get people thrown out. And for decent property to be easily rented. The problems are the deadbeats on both sides of the matter and the difficulties faced by ordinary decent folk. As ever.

Woodsy42 said...

I wonder if 'squatting' will cover travellers who turn up and occupy a private field?

Chalcedon said...

About time it was a criminal offence.

Captain Haddock said...

“There are people squatting here every night" ...

Makes yer wonder just what Mary is putting in the free grub, eh ? ... ;)

Zaphod said...

I spent a couple of years squatting in Brixton, many years ago. There were literally acres of empty houses, which the council had emptied gradually, waiting til they got around to demolishing them.

The council had no problem about us being there. We had no tenancy rights, (fair enough), and when they were ready to bulldoze they gave us a few weeks notice.

Daily Mail stories do not give an insight into the nature of most squatters.

Admittedly, those who do squat in private property and refuse to move should get street justice. The law is an ass.

Tattyfalarr said...

Hmmm...I wonder...if the thousands of workers involved in homeless charities took one each into their own homes, fed them and clothed them giving a small portion of their own wages for expenses travelling to job interviews etc ....how many homeless people would still be left on the streets.

James Higham said...

Which brings in the question of travellers too.

JuliaM said...

"...much as Harold Wilson, no less, promised."

Who believes a politician's promise?

"I wonder if 'squatting' will cover travellers who turn up and occupy a private field?"

Logically, yes. Watch for the vested interests shouting down any suggestion of this...

"There were literally acres of empty houses, which the council had emptied gradually, waiting til they got around to demolishing them."

And, let me guess, complaining vociferously of a housing shortage all the while?