[Hpn] UK Homelessness Tsar appalls clients & charity workers (fwd)

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sun, 7 Jan 2001 12:10:41 -0800 (PST)

UK `Homelessness Tsarina' appalls clients & charity workers (fwd) FWD - UK DOWN THESE MEAN STREETS A MAN MUST NOT GO Nick Cohen Sunday December 3, 2000 The Observer (London) Many of our homeless customers will be picking up today's Observer in the hope that it is a good duvet as well as a good read. For while the rain tips down in the wettest autumn on record, there's not a bed to be had in central London. Centrepoint, St Mungos, the Bridge Project...all those charitable hostels have spare places - one St Mungos' shelter had 19 free places last week - it's just that they're refusing to give them to the indigent. Louise Casey, the Prime Minister's Homeless Tsarina, has demanded a freeze. And the charities, which have allowed themselves to become dependent on Government grants, have obeyed her orders. They knew the price of defiance would be high. 'If you're taking taxpayers' money, you have to buy into the Prime Minister's strategy,' explained Casey in October. Charity workers are appalled by the Tsarina and their supine managements in equal measure. 'Clients are pissed off and are taking it out on us,' said one. 'They're out there in pneumonia weather. Their lives are at risk. This is a cynical, disgusting policy to make Casey smell of roses; you couldn't do it worse if you sat down and tried.' The alleged cynicism works as follows. On 11 December, Casey's Rough Sleepers Unit will have a count of people sleeping on the streets to see if it is hitting the Government's targets to reduce begging. What matters most to journalists and politicians in over-centralised Britain is how many bodies are found curled up in the doorways of central London . In all likelihood, they will discover that a miracle has occurred and the streets have been cleared. The homeless, who have pricked what is left of the capital's conscience for two decades, will have disappeared into the beds Casey has put to one side. Can you imagine a sweeter Christmas story? A spokeswoman for the Rough Sleepers Unit replied that it was filled with altruists rather than opportunists. The Tsarina had saved up beds so places could be found for the hardest cases who have resisted all previous attempts to coax them into hostels, she said. What was wrong with that? But as workers with the homeless are asking, why is the sweep of the streets being made just before Christmas and the official count of rough sleepers? 'They'll be back again soon enough,' said one. 'These are people with dogs or girlfriends or boyfriends on the streets; they never stay in hostels for long.' A few weeks ago, Casey announced that we must suppress all civilised instincts and give money to charities rather than beggars. If homeless charities aren't robust, independent organisations but Casey's creatures, why should anyone waste a penny on them? END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** For constantly updating news coverage by and about homeless people, BOOKMARK HPN "Year 2000" Archives URL below: ************************************************************ 9000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ************************************************************