Paper 0: Five theses on homelessness – a view from the street
Cambridge is more and more crowded with people living on the street, people asking for money; London is the same. The number of rough sleepers in the UK has more than doubled since 2010; homelessness in general – which includes people sleeping in hostels and emergency shelters – has risen by at least 30% in the same time. But what are these people doing, really? And how should we treat them?
Building on altogether six years of research with homeless people in London, Cambridge and Paris, Johannes Lenhard (Max Cam Cambridge) will explore five provocative theses on the issue. He will present life stories of homeless people to give insights into what life on the street looks like and clear up some of the misunderstandings.
1. “Many homeless people have chosen to live on the street.” – No, they have ended up on the street for a complex variety of structural – unemployment, poverty – and personal – health, strokes of destiny – reasons.
2. “All rough sleepers are junkies.” – They are often addicted to drugs, yes, but there are rationales for it.
3. “Begging is just hanging out.” – No, begging is structured, reflective emotional and physical labour.
4. “Homeless shelters are terrible places, and definitely not anything like home.” – Many shelters are in fact providing a community as well as a stable place to live – if at times too many rules.
5. “Homeless people are not motivated at all to change.” – To the contrary, they all have dreams and hopes which motivate them on their path away from the street.
*As always our events are Free and Open to All to attend*