SKIPP press release (23-03-18)
We read with horror in today’s Echo (23rd March) that a man has been found dead in a Southend town centre public toilet. The council, police and press have labelled him as homeless as if he doesn’t matter and is somehow less than human because he had nowhere to shelter apart from a public loo. But he was not just homeless, he was a person, a human being the same as everyone else in our town.
It is to our town’s collective shame that we are seemingly just sitting back and accepting the fact that people in his situation are going to die alone and in squalor in a public bog. This may seem like a harsh statement pointing the figure of blame at the whole town, however, we live in a democracy and it is the people of this town that are responsible for electing and maintaining the current council administration in power. This is the same administration that’s response to the huge homeless situation we face is to spend £75,000 on employing consultants to investigate the situation. Maybe if they were proposing to spend that £75,000 on actually doing something rather than just talking about doing something then it might help to prevent further tragedies.
We are not naive enough to think that a mere £75,000 could solve the homeless problem, however this money could actually be used to help save people’s lives if it was given directly to the homeless shelters, service providers and soup kitchens which are run by people who are actually trying to do something to help, rather than just paying lip service to the problem by “investigating” the situation.
Given the very limited resources that the council are willing to spend to deal with the homeless situation we have to accept that all we can afford is a sticking plaster for the wound rather than a cure for the problem, however, it is no good buying the sticking plaster and then just throwing it in the bin.
Finally please remember, the majority of people living in our town are only a few missed rent or mortgage payments away from being in the same desperate situation as the ever growing number of homeless people in our town.
The SKIPP Committee