It’s #WorldHomelessnessDay 2018. It’s an appropriate moment to think about the rights of homeless people and services on offer.
Across the globe, the rights to proper housing and the right to support on the street have been eroded and downgraded, the housing crisis has intensified and increasingly punitive approaches are in place. For example, this month, in Hungary, homelessness is now illegal, and therefore criminalised.
This is victim blaming: twisting the narrative to say that homeless people are not in need, but brought it on themselves. This twisted version of ‘truth’ is found everywhere now, anywhere politicians say homelessness is ‘a lifestyle choice’, that the reason they remain homeless is because they won’t ‘engage’, try to get them deported to countries like Hungary, when the reality is that if there was adequate housing, effective drug and alcohol treatment, better mental health services (it is also world mental health day), and caring responses to homelessness, they would not be on the street. Street homelessness is just the visible sign of a rotten social and housing system: the tip of an iceberg of need.
Hope fights this false narrative of homelessness: challenges the lie. We do so whilst offering caring, compassionate services that meet the needs of homeless people in a pragmatic, caring, compassionate way, alongside striving to help them get off the street. Please help us to do so.