A week in politics is a very long time. Even as I write this Suella has been sacked because of a different set of comments. However it is still worth looking at this issue. Words are important and I will try to be more careful than Ms Braverman. I don’t pretend to be able to read her mind when using the words “lifestyle choice”.
To begin with it is a sad fact that Britain has a serious housing crisis. Building of new properties is not keeping up with need. Excess demand is inflating the cost of buying and renting. Many people simply have no hope of affording a home.
However, we must add into the equation that many of those whom we serve week by week are hampered by addiction. Many have sadly gone round the loop of accessing emergency accommodation, move on accommodation, probably rehab, and then more permanent housing, only to fail to maintain their tenancy in some way and face eviction.
Perhaps if Suella had said “wrong life choices that people have made”, we might have heard her out! No-one becomes an addict by choice, but they do make choices along the way that ultimately take them there. I have often argued that we don’t so much have a homeless problem as an addiction problem.
And at risk of another “however” we are now seeing significant numbers of migrants being granted leave to stay but with little chance of finding employment and housing, especially not within the few weeks they are given to find somewhere before eviction from their hotel. At ‘FAITH‘ we are working towards setting up a version of “A Bed for the Night” (B4N) to offer short term accommodation for those in this predicament.
As a nation it is admirable to desire to be a place of sanctuary, but we need the infrastructure to facilitate that.
Malcolm Peirce – Communications Officer