Wednesday, 9 September 2015

My homeless thoughts...

This has been rattling around in my head for a while now and I haven't posted it before because as usually happens, with facebook especially anything that is a little 'out there' turns into a bun fight...so I respectfully ask...please let's not get political about this and be open to other viewpoints...

My heart goes out to those refugees fleeing war torn areas, it really does and as fellow human beings I believe we should do whatever we can to help (there are links at the bottom of this blog post to charities if you would like to donate).

However what I have a problem with is the media reports - how do we know exactly what to believe? I have seen so many conflicting stories about it all and a lot of them are extremely worrying.

There have been stories ranging from the awful genuine plights, to reports of people just using it as an excuse to get into the UK for the benefits and even suggestions that some of those claiming to be refugees are actually coming over to cause political mayhem and acts of terrorism along with photos of groups of young male adults causing chaos in places that have taken them in.

There have also been some interesting articles that bear thinking about; there was a photo of a bombed out Syrian town shown next to London after bombing in WWII with the caption "we didn't flee we stood and fought for our country" - an interesting comparison, perhaps something that we as British can relate to, we have always stood side by side and supported each other when a crisis has hit us.

Another story asked the question "why are these people not fleeing to the first and closest safe country?  Why are they adding to their dangerous plight by fleeing through safe countries to get to another one?"  Good questions that I don't have an answer to.

Anyway...the point of my blog post today, the article that got me thinking was the one where good ole Boomtown Rats Bob was reported as offering up his home to four refugee families...very noble but...and here's the thing.  This whole horrible, terrifying event has for me anyway highlighted the problem we have on our own doorstep.  If he can offer his home to four families why has he not done so before to UK families that are homeless?

When I looked into the figures for those in the UK that are homeless it is absolutely staggering - the Centrepoint charity website states that 80,000 young people each year in the UK experience homelessness... and that is just the young people, those figures don't include adults, families and war veterans. Obviously they are not fleeing war torn countries but they are homeless for a reason, they might have escaped from abusive relationships or be war veterans or people with disabilities that cannot work and they have fallen through a gap in the system.  Whilst I know a few of them may be addicts of one sort or another they are still human beings that deserve our help.

We have a huge homeless problem in the UK already...how can we expect to give benefits and housing to refugees if we have people here already in this situation?

I don't want to get overly political (because I hate politics and think they are all as bad as each other) but...when the Conservatives were voted to power earlier this year there was a facebook uproar with people genuinely scared about their futures, worried that they would lose their disability benefits and their homes...the government stating that the money wasn't there to fund it all.  This same government is now being shouted at for not providing money and housing to the refugees...much as I hate to side with any government what are they supposed to do?  Who should they give the money and the housing to?  And no I don't believe there is an easy or straightforward answer.

In an ideal world none of this would happen and everyone would be helped and supported but it doesn't happen, we can only do the best that we can.

I am not playing down the plight of the refugees just highlighting a problem that already exists that is far bigger than the number of refugees that the UK is faced with...BOTH groups need and deserve help.

Below is a list of UK homeless charities should you be able to help in any way along with some links for refugee help as well...

Let's all pull together, unite as a people and see what we can do to help everyone.

www.crisis.org.uk
www.shelter.org.uk
www.bigissue.org.uk
www.centrepoint.org.uk

www.veteranscharity.org.uk
www.helpforheroes.org.uk

www.unicef.org.uk
www.rescue.org/crisis-syria
www.redcross.org.uk/Donate-Now/Make-a-single-donation/Europe-Refugee-Crisis-Appeal
www.unrefugees.org/where-we-work/syria

2 comments:

  1. On the politics front its worth noting that they do seem to have lots of money for weapons (Trident is mind bendingly expensive to replace, and they mean to). it should be a case of either/or with our own homeless people (many of whom have been forced onto the streets by recent government policies) or refugees (and let's face it, our arms trade isn't helping, and climate change isn't helping, we're not innocent bystanders here). The idea that there's no money is a myth designed to support an agenda, simply. I've got to the point of not really caring who does what to help whom and why. We're all people. Anyone who can help someone else - all power to them. Whatever you can do. Anything that helps, helps, and there's not much point waiting for those who have the most power to do something because they clearly have the least inclination towards compassion.

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  2. Rachel, thank you for putting into words what I have not had the courage to say myself as I fear the backlash I would receive from "well meaning" friends who all seem to be in favour of open borders. I also agree with Nimue's points above but what I also find a little odd is that people are prepared to open their homes to refugees but not to our own homeless ( as per Bob Geldof). My problem with accepting people en masse is that we cannot possibly know who they all are or what their motives may be - it would be nice to think that every refugee who wants to come here is in fact fleeing for their lives but I am not always convinced that this is the case.

    I can't believe I am going to admit to agreeing with Cameron on this one but I feel that he is right to take those who have not had the physical or financial resources to trek through Europe to pick and choose where they want to apply for asylum as we can be sure they are genuine refugees, although I do think we should try to take more than 20,000 over 5 years. On the News the other night, they showed a 13 year old girl who had been abandoned by her mother in a refugee camp in Lebanon to look after her 5 younger siblings. In my humble opinion, they should be first on the list to come here.


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