Homelessness; the undeniable problem

By Matthew Knight

homelessnessA campaigner on homelessness issues is planning to take his Leicester city centre protest camp to other places across the country.

Campaigner James Mclean set up camp in Jubilee Square just before Christmas to raise attention to the ongoing problem of homelessness.

Mr Mclean said: “I came here just before Christmas, I came to highlight the violence that rough sleepers are experiencing – they’re getting urinated on, they’re getting kicked and punched.”

He is from Glasgow but grew up in Leicester, and he and his party want to highlight the quickly growing issue that is homelessness.

He said there are 200 rough sleepers in Leicester alone, and 5,000 in London. This raises the question of, what can be done? Is this the answer to a failed social system? Or is this the answer to poor budget spending by the council?

Mr Mclean added: “There’s a total lack of housing for anyone [in Leicester] nowadays, there were 607 places and they have now cut that to 336.”

He claimed his protest group’s message seemed to be getting across to the authorities, as the council are planning on spending £2.1 million reopening three of the hostels that were shut down two years ago.

The Homeless Party seem to be getting across to the government, that homelessness cannot be brushed under the carpet anymore and that action needs to be taken.

His protest in Leicester has lasted for four weeks but he said he plans to move to another city, adding: “This is a nationwide problem, not just about Leicester.

“I hope to end homelessness all over the UK. This is not just a UK problem, it is an international problem.

“There’s a big problem in Ireland, there’s a big problem all over Spain, Portugal, Greece, obviously.

“But at the moment this was a a local issue that I have now made national, probably going to go to London, to do a similar protest.”

He aims to branch out his political protest group across the UK.

He said: “There are quite a few homelessness groups around the country, as I said, it’s a nationwide problem, my next goal will be to link up with them.”

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