I HAVE followed the homeless issue in our towns for many years.

I notice how the language has changed. Where once we referred to the homeless now we are more likely to hear about rough sleepers, vagrants, and beggars.

Language, of course, makes a huge difference to how we feel about people and how we treat them.

Homeless we think of as needing help. But then referred to as "beggars" we think of some sort of outcast.

I think it is pretty terrible.

I note in national press reports that "700,000 renters have been hit by eviction notices during the pandemic." That is astonishing when in the first stages of the pandemic at least there were supposed to be no evictions.

But then there are "Section 21 no fault evictions" when a landlord simply demands end of tenancy and return of their property.

Taking it in the round, with rising unemployment through Covid, no wonder we have so many in our towns who are homeless.

And lets face it the track record of our council is dreadful.

Over the years Bournemouth playing loud bagpipe music to drive homeless sleepers out of the Travel Exchange, and then the bars on benches to stop people sleeping on them.

And I don't forget in 2012 Bournemouth council removing "5,000" from housing waiting lists as they would have "no realistic chance of being housed".

Being homeless myself forty years ago I know how people feel.

I approached council and as a single man they didn't want to know.

I only survived as relatives in the end took me in and I was able to get back on my feet.

As Joan Baez sang long ago in the '60s, There but for fortune ...


Alexandra Road