November 18, 2008

Street sweeping

The government’s pledged to end homelessness in London in time for the 2012 Olympics.

I suspect this should be added to a long list of promises that almost certainly won’t be kept.

There’ve been great strides made in getting people off the street over the past ten years – the number of people living rough has dropped by 70% in the last ten years.

But whenever I’ve interviewed homeless people – and those who work with them – they all acknowledge there’s a hardcore who actually prefer life without a roof.

More importantly, they’re not all beggars, drug addicts or troublemakers. Many are the victims of crime themselves as people hurl abuse, or worse, at them on a Friday night.

This bid to ‘clear the streets’ is a noble aim, but it’s futile. And more than that, a little bit of London might be lost if this crackdown becomes too severe.

One of my former colleagues, Emily Tolloczko, did a really good piece on homelessness which you can hear here:

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