Perceptions of the homeless

With three half-finished posts waiting for a pre-release polish, I’ll keep this one brief.

Homelessness has been getting a bit of media attention over the last week, largely due to Tony Abbott’s comments indicating that he believed that homelessness could not be solved because it was a lifestyle choice. Mark at Larvatus Prodeo provides a few good links, including the ever impressive John Falzon.

Also doing the rounds is Peter Hayward’s adventure at living homeless for a month, with thanks to Hoyden About Town.

How in the abstract being’s name can a white, mentally healthy young man believe that sleeping rough for a short while, always with the option of going home and leaning on support networks and all the while blogging, can give an insight into homelessness? Perhaps he’ll discover what it’s like to be hungry and cold at night, but what about the social isolation of acute mental illness often associated with homelessness, or the desperate feeling of having few other options and lack of community support.

Grrrrrrr.

The streets, and too a lesser but still significant extent gaols, are society’s dumping ground for individuals who have fallen through the large gaps in our system of community care. No-one knows the ultimate answer, but that is no excuse to under-resource and not to try.

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