Sunday, 10 October 2010

“People who are homeless are not social inadequates. They are people without homes.”

Well my last offering seems such a log time ago now; and so much has happened in the intervening time. 

Where on earth do I start?

The Tory conference, the elections to Ed Miliband’s first shadow cabinet, or the fast approaching government cuts. On the 20 October George Osborne will reveal his £82bn worth of public spending cuts. Think the Thatcher years were bad? You ain't seen anything yet, and that reminds me we in Newham we have a public meeting scheduled for this coming week, which I am really looking forward too, and will do my best to post a report.

Last week my gas boiler packed-up, and subsequently I had to have it replaced including the instillation of new radiators throughout the flat, so my flat now looks like it’s been in a battle. I have much more decorating to do now, because the new radiators are much smaller than the old ones, but they tell me, the work men that is; that the new boiler is much more efficient and not as much energy gets wasted, which I am informed used to disappear out through the flue or conduit on the outside wall. However I just can’t stop thinking how hard this winter will prove to be for those on low incomes or benefits and for pensioners in particular. Wherever I go there is an air of desperation that lingers around the east end these days. What with Christmas just around the corner; I really do think that this will be a tough one somehow for parents and children alike.

I was fortunate enough this week to have a peek into the daily struggle, nay, weekly and indeed yearly struggle of a mature single mum trying her hardest to bring up a 12 year old boy, who I must say really is a credit to his mother, always polite whenever I see and talk to him. They live on benefits in a one-up two bedroom maisonette, and she tells me that she hates this time of the year, because the cost of keeping the home warm is a nightmare, and then keeping her son clothed and fed adequately is like stretching a narrow rubber band that’s about to snap. School dinners cost £4 a day, because her son says that those who get free meals are bullied by other children, and the same goes for clothing; it seems today kids have to have the labelled outfits or they are in trouble – well all I can say that things have certainly changed since I was at school, and just look at the way that modern consumerism has a hold on the kids?

Well I intend to have a look a bit closer in the next few weeks, at just how people are managing to keep body and soul together in these very difficult times.

Just one other item that I wish to raise and that's today is National Homeless Day, and although it was my intension to wright a great deal more on this subject if it hadn’t been for the unforeseen topsy-turvydom and chaos of the last week. Oh well never mind let me leave you with this wonderful quotation from a friend and former Director of Shelter, the late Sheila McKechnie.  “People who are homeless are not social inadequates. They are people without homes.”

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