There has been lots of talk recently about how you can actually help the homeless.
I don’t think motivation is a problem. People usually want to see an end to rough sleeping, and they generally want to live in a society where people have homes to go to. It is still recognised as a basic right.
But what can we do to help homeless people?
One London Borough tried to make rough sleeping illegal. Following the principle that if you outlaw it then you solve it, they legislated to make it against the law to sleep on the street. As you would expect they were roundly condemned and made a swift u turn. You can read more here https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-london-borough-that-h…
Other people have tried to design out rough sleeping and various stores or housing blocks have put spikes in their doorways to discourage people sleeping there. This is a bit like putting wire under bridges to stop pigeons. And probably as unsuccessful. Again, this kind of approach just makes a symptom of a disease harder to manage rather than looking to stop the disease. The Mayor spoke out against this and you can read more here https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2652432/Anger-spikes-stop-rough-…
But what about more positive plans? I read recently of someone being refused service in a MacDonalds as they were buying food for a homeless person. MacDonalds apologised and said it was a communication error but the AOL website seemed to have found more evidence of similar behaviour from the fast food chain.
So what is the best way to help the homeless? (As the Telegraph asked recentlyhttps://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11620159/Whats-the-best-way-to-he…).
At the London Housing Foundation we believe in being radical, innovative, long term and targeted. We will fund ideas that try to help homeless people. Ideas that look at the source of the problem rather than just skim over the symptoms; ideas that are sustainable and will have a long term impact; ideas that might not work immediately but are worth a try. In the past we have funded lots of projects – £15m worth over the last decade or so – from big small and medium organisations. Most have worked, some have failed, but all were worth a go.
So how do we help the homeless? You tell us. And if we like your idea, we’ll fund it!