LETTER: Homeless are treated worse than farm animals
Well, on December 28 I handed two more sleeping bags I bought to two homeless guys in Chesterfield. They did seem out of it, whether drunk, drugged up, suffering mental health issues or complete despair and dehumanisation, I am not qualified to judge or decide.
The were truly freezing to death with one sleeping bag between them and little outer wear, none of which was suitable,sheltered in a bus stop against a wall.
These were people, with beards, hair, skin, bones and blood. They could talk, even if only to thank me and ask for a few extra quid (which I could not give them). I would have taken a photo of them to show their hardship if I had felt it wouldn’t have stolen the last of their dignity and pride.
These folk are human beings being treated worse than any farm raised cow or sheep. We are all complicit in their plight. Every time we walk past them, decide they don’t deserve our help or manage any pennies we give them, we share society’s blame.
It’s not even the pain and anguish of being cold to their bones, the torture of having no way to warm up, nowhere to say is their space, nor the fear that someone will attack you, urinate on you, rob you of what little you do have, or even set fire to you (all of which have happened here in the wonderful United Kingdom of Great Britain very recently).
It’s the very real and far too common risk you go to sleep you may never awake.
Can you imagine living feral, your only friends people in your own situation that would likely strip your body for their own warmth if you fell ill or died?
Imagine having to go to the toilet in bushes with no toilet paper because the attendants in the all too few public toilets refuse you entrance? Supermarkets turn you away and the other toilets are locked from you.
Your only chance of a bed or shower are if you are locked up. People turning or even running from you if you look in their direction.
We all think we have it bad, that our lot is terrible, but compared to these all too genuinely outcast folk we live like royalty.
Imagine having no way to inform your family that you’re still alive, feeling constantly (usually in truth knowing) no one cares if you are or not.
Imagine this, really imagine it, for I truly hope none of you experience it.
Then remember I am writing this from my warm home, with a mug of tea and a cake. I have not had to sleep out with constant fear of hypothermia or death. I have my friends, including many of you to jolly me along when things get bleak.
These human beings, brothers, sisters, mums, dads, sons and daughters have nothing and no-one.
Their Christmas, if they were lucky, was a hot meal from a street kitchen or someone like me or you giving them an old coat, some sanitary pads or a charity shop sleeping bag.
So, before you spit at them or swear at these people in future, just remember you are possibly no more than two wage packets from their world, that living on the streets is not a choice, a fashion statement nor through laziness or criminal intent. It is our failure, and a direct result of a dying society.
Whether we are the fifth or seventh richest economy in the world it is truly criminal and so very immoral that we have this level of poverty.