But who should be responsible for it?
There are an estimated five thousand (BBC) homeless people in the UK, just over three thousand of whom have found themselves under a roof during lockdown (BBC) taking advantage of empty hotel and B&B rooms up and down the country.
With restrictions on the hospitality industry being lifted, we conducted a Speedy Poll to see what the British public thought about what should happen to those homeless who look like they’ll suddenly find themselves back on the street.
Despite everything that is going on in the country at the moment, it was almost a pleasant surprise to see that nearly two-thirds of those polled actually thought it was the right thing to do rehousing those that are going to be back on the streets again.
It should be noted however that quite a few of you mentioned that not everyone wants to be rehoused, Donna offered this insight:
A lot of homeless people do not want to be housed or helped.They like living on the streets even when there is offers of help. I do believe the ones who want to be helped and rehoused should be but we can’t make people take the help offered to them.
We’ve all been there, walking down the street and that awkward moment when eyes meet and we pretend to not notice. Nearly 90% of people we asked admitted that they give nothing to those on the streets with money being favoured over food & drink by those that do.
Nigel from Glasgow said: I try to do my bit, generally though I prefer to give food and will often buy an extra one on my lunch break for the guy sitting outside Pret.
Sharon from Birmingham said: I would love to help more but I’m not convinced any money I give won’t go towards drugs and I can’t bring myself to do that. It’s tough to know how to help.
Similarly to those who give to the homeless, 91% also said they never buy a copy of the Big Issue, with 6% saying they occasionally do.
Jon from Dorset: I always buy my weekly big issue from the lady just down the road from my office, weirdly one thing I have felt guilty about during lockdown is my inability to now do this. I will do what I can to rectify this when I am back to office working.
Over half of us think that homelessness is the responsibility of politicians, either centrally or locally with charities coming in third. 13% of respondents think that it is down to the homeless themselves to tackle this issue but as we mentioned earlier maybe they don’t see it as an issue?
Are the public right?
Looking through the comments on this Speedy Poll it is very clear that whilst many of us want/try to do the right thing, there is a lot that still needs to be done and thought about before we see mass evictions and the homeless are sent back to square one.
Admittedly as many pointed out, this is exactly what many homeless want and lockdown was just a brief reprieve before going back to their normal but should we be doing more for those who don’t want to be on the streets?
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The survey was conducted on eOpinion.org with 2,008 people on 23 – 26 June 2020. The results are from this individual eOpinion Speedy Poll alone and are not nationally representative.
The eOpinions expressed here are those of the respondents to the Speedy Poll: “Thoughts Around Homelessness”. They do not to reflect the views of Hutch Media Group Ltd t/a eOpinion itself.
Image Attribution: Photo by Ev
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