Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

… but SOME homeless are more equal than others

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-18

I won’t criticize efforts to get homeless bushfire victims back into houses, and I certainly think emergency tents are the least we can do… but…

Let’s think about it on the basis of need, and put those with children in first in the queue… fair enough?  I’m sure you’ll agree.

But after those families, what about the "kids on the streets", without adults to care for them?  What do we do with tents vacated by bushfire victims?

Who is in a better position: a person with tent, toilets, water, and reasonable job prospects, or one of the thousands of people wandering the streets who haven’t had a roof in years, many of whom have mental health issues that make getting a job difficult?  Especially if they don’t have access to toilets, showers, and laundries that make it easier to have a successful job interview?  Those who can’t get social welfare easily because they have no address and nowhere to send Centrelink mail?  Those who’d think an unfurnished room with some broken windows and a communal bathroom would the most luxury they’ve had in years?

If we can organize a tent city with water for those displaced by bushfires overnight, then how about those same sites, tents and blankets don’t go back into storage as bushfire victims get other accomodation, but are immediately allocated as soon as they become vacant to those who have been without shelter for months? … especially homeless youth.

Perhaps the vast bulk of the population has a touch of the "Gerry Harveys", believes in the concept of the "undeserving poor", where compassion and action are only needed for fashionable causes.

Does anyone else see the possible double-standards and hypocrisy here?

Spare a thought, and a coin or two, for those who’ve have nothing but the clothes they stand in for ages, those who’d dream of having the problem of a mobile phone in their pocket with no battery charge left.

… and if you think the next beggar on the street will waste the change you give them, if that is your excuse, offer them a few more seconds of your time, offer to buy them the train ticket they say they need, a bottle of milk, some fruit juice, or a healthy muesli bar.


One Response to “… but SOME homeless are more equal than others”

  1. Dave, I’ve been thinking that too – how come it’s so hard to help “ordinary” homeless? I guess people just write them off as total “no hopers” – drug addicts, mentally ill etc, not “just like you and I”.

    I hope that if there’s any stuff left over that other people in need get it too.

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