For your Lenten practice. Could you take a little time out to view the YouTube below. It is a powerful BBC documentary on the experience of being homeless in Manchester.
Manchester could be anywhere. It could be Dublin, Belfast, Salford, or London.
No one seeks to be homelessness. Many people in our society are only one pay cheque away from being homeless.
One of the points made in the video is that family breakdown is (in Western countries) one of the major contributory factors to homelessness. Yet no one speaks about this.
Since the 1970s there has been a shift in public policy away from supporting families to supporting individuals. Both dimensions of support are essential. Blame the poet Philip Larkin. He was one of the first to articulate the view that families are ‘bad news’. Ever since, a suspicion of the family as an institution has become endemic among shapers of public polity.
Read the following review of Robert Putnam’s Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis in First Things. It is highly instructive on the correlation between family breakdown and social breakdown.
Two solutions are needed for homelessness:
- More social housing for all who need it
- Support for families in all their expressions