Asher Wolf spent today walking around the Melbourne CBD talking to homeless people, after the recent spike in attention for this issue. There’s a perception in the media and amongst those privileged enough to have never worked with or had to deal with housing security that homelessness rates have increased: they have and they haven’t.
Cuts to welfare, combine with an economy on the skids and gung-ho useless “law and order” policies have combined to cause a slight increase in the amount of people sleeping rough, but what has caused the recent “spike” is just that a long standing camp has been closed, and consequently people who used that as a base have had to find new spots to sleep rough – more visible spots.
Highly recommend reading the experience of homelessness from those living on our streets.
We need to reconsider how we, as a community, respond to housing insecurity. Demonising people, or treating them as “inconsiderate”, is not constructive. As Kyle told Asher,
… the system is fucked. Things get run by some guy in a suit who’s read a text book and thinks they know better than everyone. The system needs people who can empathise better.