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Showing posts from March, 2012

Drear days: No return to cardboard city

It’s been a bitter February. The outreach teams have been out in force across Britain’s cities assisting rough sleepers to come inside. Bizarrely, even in -5 degrees some people remain implacable in their determination to stay in the shop doorway.  According to some observers this is a ‘lifestyle choice’ though I tend to agree with @aibaihe, a particularly insightful tweeter who, after almost two constant years of rough sleeping, reflected recently: ‘I have never met anyone on the street who didn’t want to live inside’. Thankfully hundreds of rough sleepers did escape the streets during the cold patch as Severe Weather Emergency Protocols or SWEP were triggered and additional beds made available. 
Despite this monumental effort there exists a corrosive cynicism about the work undertaken with rough sleepers by outreach teams. They are sometimes called ‘government funded’ outreach teams, this being a pejorative term. I remember how, in the 1980s, we tirelessly campaigned to force gove…