Call to tackle roots of homelessness

The Cardinal Hume Centre has stressed the need not only to confront the current homelessness crisis but to tackle it from its roots. 

“I think all of us who live in London especially, are very aware of the increase in people sleeping rough – it’s very hard to ignore, even if you wanted to,” Cathy Corcoran, chief executive of the Cardinal Hume Centre, told The Universe.

“In fact despite all the hard work and investment in various strategies over the years, it does seem like we are returning to the very same situation which inspired Cardinal Hume to found the Centre 30 years ago.”

The Cardinal Hume Centre, based in south Westminster, provides homeless young people, badly housed families and others in need with support to gain the skills to escape homelessness and poverty.

“Whilst we all need to continue to respond to rough sleeping, we also need to look at why it’s happening and why it’s on the increase and tackle the causes as well as dealing with the symptoms,” she added.

She noted that for young people it’s about family breakdown and abuse or fleeing war or persecution overseas, while for others it’s losing their job or having their benefits suspended or as the cost of living spirals, they simply cannot make ends meet any more.

“Any solution has to be one which takes all the factors into account and involves a joined up approach to preventing people being forced on to the streets,” said Ms Corcoran. “That means a massive investment in ensuring there are enough affordable homes available, in providing support and advice to families in difficulties before they hit crisis point.

“Without this investment, which will actually save money in the end, we will undoubtedly see more and more people, young, old, men and women, sleeping on our streets.”

This is an extract from an article in the 6 January 2017 edition of the Catholic Universe by Nick Benson