Derby City Council to provide more help and shelter for the homeless
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It saddens me deeply to walk around Derby City Centre and see so many homeless people.....yet so many empty premises that, with intervention from the council, could easily be used to provide shelter and warmth to those who have next to nothing. This time of year with the temperatures being so cold makes it all the more important that someone at least tries to do something instead of just allowing people to freeze. What prompted me to do this petition is something I saw on the Derby Evening Telegraph website today reporting that a local business had left a rail outside Santander Bank with coats, scarves, hats and gloves on it with the message of "Need one? Take one. Want to help? Leave one.".......such a kind and heartwarming gesture. So it struck me.....if an independent local business can do something as lovely as this to help, why can't the council step in and do something better than they currently do? That's seemingly hardly anything at the moment by the way......
I recall a few years ago finding out that those who have been made homeless or have found themselves homeless would be provided emergency housing in the now closed and boarded up St Peter's Quarter Hotel. Like i say, this is now boarded up and has been for well over 14 months.....so where are these vulnerable people housed now? Seems like no coincidence to me that homelessness appears to have increased since the closure of that hotel, everywhere i look in the centre and the outskirts there is someone cuddled under the thinnest and tiniest of blankets trying to keep warm. "Oh they're all druggies and alcoholics" i hear many people say.......but are they? I'm guessing that those with that opinion think that because it's easier than the possible reality.....maybe the last person you saw was someone who has left the forces and typically had no life to return to, couldn't handle life without a regime, suffers with PTSD and so desperately resorted to trying to forget by finding the bottom of a bottle. Its a vicious downward spiral, trust me, i know. And the reason i know is because i've worked with offenders for just under a decade now and i've heard this downward spiral story so many times, i've heard how ex-forces lads struggle after returning to "Civvy Street", i've heard how trying to drink your money worries away can turn to trying to smoke them away. But typical of society these days, these people are just batted off and labelled as "wasters". Where is the humanity? The people who are cuddled under that thin and tiny blanket are someone's Mum, Dad, Brother, Sister, Son, Daughter.......exactly like every single one of you reading this.....the only difference is that you haven't hit rock bottom, you still have a roof over your head, warmth, clothes, money and some food in your belly......but ask anyone who's actually listened to someone who is or has been at rock bottom.....it can quickly disappear.
As a country, we send so much aid to countries around the world, and i can honestly say that i'm proud to be part of that.....but isn't charity supposed to begin at home? Realistically, how much would it take for local councils to help a bit more? Derby City Council have recently spent £50.000 on a sculpture of four rings that each weigh about a tonne at a sight near to The Spot in the city centre, this massively divided opinion with many branding it "an eyesore" and "a waste of money". Some small minded people say that a homeless person sleeping in a doorway is "an eyesore"......so why not spend some of the taxpayers money in taking on the lease of St Peter's Quarter Hotel and providing shelter, care and a second chance to the people who freeze on the streets of Derby every single night?
So, to end, i call on the UK Parliament to debate this proposal and instruct Derby City Council to take control of some of the empty buildings in Derby, particularly considering the former St Peter's Quarter Hotel, to provide shelter, care and support to the city's homeless......and to help make a positive difference to people's lives and stop another death caused by the cold weather.
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