Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Homeless Clients and Dogs

For many rough sleepers parting with a dog is inconceivable. We know that the relationship between an owner and a dog can be a strong one, providing an emotional bond, personal safety and security, it can alleviate loneliness and even raise self esteem. There are some very good services which support homeless clients to look after their pets, such as The Dogs Trust with their Freedom Project and Hope Project (www.dogstrust.org.uk).
So many hostels still refuse clients with pets, while those that do, have waiting lists.

However there is always more than one side of the story. What about those that have dogs, yet show them very little affection and care? Or clients that are struggling to look after themselves, let alone another being.
Should we be calling the RSPCA or the Dog Warden and what can they actually do? Or should we take matters into our own hands?

(picture by Matthew Halstead http://matthewhalstead.com/ )

Monday, 23 August 2010

Benefit cuts to those refusing to engage with alcohol or drug treatments.

Would proposals to cut benefits to those addicted to alcohol or drugs, and refuse to enter into treatment have the desired effect of encouraging them to 'kick' the habit? Or, would a cut in benefits lead users to commit crime to further fund habits, thereby increasing conviction rates and prison numbers?

People can not be forced into quitting an addiction, they have to want to do it for themselves and not because the government or a judge say they should. Personal determination is the key to their strength.
For anyone not ready to make the change, I doubt that the threat of loosing benefits has an impact. Some addicts, may have either committed a crime or thought about committing a crime in order to fund their habit and supplement their primary income.
By removing benefits, addicts will surely be forced to find ever more activities to fund habits. I wonder what is more cost effective, paying benefits to an individual, drug treatment services for those that want to change or paying for extra police time, as well as courts and prison costs.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Mental Health Services and Chaotic Rough Sleepers

Chaotic and entrenched rough sleepers can be hard to track down by even the most experienced of outreach and front line workers. Can we really say they that their needs are being fully met? Are mental and physical health services willing to go a step further or do we have to wait for them to become so unwell they 'become a danger to themselves or others'?

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Busking is more acceptable than begging.

Many of our cities seem to be trying to tackle begging by encouraging busking. But is this really dealing with the issue, or are they just making it a legitimate form of begging and therefore more socially acceptable?

Sunday, 1 August 2010

The impact of Government spending cuts

Given that Government spending cuts will potentially affect front line services, is Britain facing a new homelessness crisis?