A woman in a shop told me how she gave some chocolates to a homeless woman on the street who then broke down and cried. She told this story as a wonderful illustration of the meaning of Christmas...
I was a bit horrified by what she was telling me. It was all too 'Charles Dickens' for me.
'and the miserable wretch clutched at her sleeve, and with tears streaming down her face
exclaimed 'Thank you m'lady. God will reward you for your kindness'
There can be something very unequal about 'charity' ...
I have my own guiding beliefs and I respect all religions - but it is surely a retrogressive step to take away justice and try and replace it with charity.
Yet this is the direction the present housing policy - is taking us in - without any accompanying political - or social - analysis.
Remember a time when it was unthinkable that there would be homelessness in Australia ?
It is interesting how things are shifting ... and rapidly too.
A sensible class analysis wouldn't go astray. But that's right. We are a classless society here in Australia we keep telling ourselves ... A fair go for all. Advance Australia fair and all that malarkey.
Another ideologically driven assumption that is being repeated which is worrying is
that somehow homelessness is inevitable, a fact of life, regrettable yes- but nevertheless 'acceptable'.
( Certainly not the responsibility or genuine concern of the government whose role is primarily to support and promote business interests )
Don't believe it for a minute.
Homelessness is a running sore - an indictment on our society.
As is the privatisation ( theft ) of public housing.
There should be no homelessness in a prosperous country like Australia.
Homelessness is an indication of what a selfish society we have become - it's all about money, power, prestige and self-interest. Our values are screwed up. 'Greed is good' never really went out of style...
But I believe it is the political system that is taking us in this direction. It is not the wishes of ordinary people on the street .. But since when did politics truly represent the desires and wishes of the people?
Friends of Public Housing is very happy to work side by side with the Homeless Persons Union of Victoria - HPUV. We share the same analysis of the current situation. We deplore the deliberate neglect and privatisation of public housing. And the demonisation and stereotyping of both public tenants and homeless people.
Having a roof over your head is not a privilege- but a basic human right.