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Homelessness Speech

999 words - 4 pages

Homelessness - Speech

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to begin by telling you a little
story. Everyday, on my way to work, I come across this smart and neat
young man selling the Big Issue. I never pay much attention to him and
in fact would rather he wasn’t there at all making me think about all
those people in the UK who, like him, are homeless. How many of you
have ever felt that same way? Most of us try to ignore these people
living in the streets who are forced to beg for money as if that
solved the problem and made them disappear. But it doesn’t.

So thinking about this, one day, I decided to help this young man and
buy the Big Issue from him. That day I arrived late to work because I
had spent so much time speaking with Matt who turned out to have been
at college with me, we were in the same class! His story after
college, however, was quite different to mine. He told me he had been
living in the streets for five years now and that he had an ex-wife
and 8-year-old son in Wales, where he had been living. He had been
sacked from his job as administrator in a well-known business due to
his frequent hourly absences to find gear. He had found it impossible
to find a job – “nobody wanted a junkie as an employee, even though I
had excellent qualifications” he told me. His wife ended up divorcing
him claiming she was ashamed and felt he would never be able to find a
job and take care of his family.

Matt left home and came to London to find work, detox and start a new
life. However, life in London was much more expensive than he had
thought and Matt found he couldn’t even afford a bed and breakfast. He
didn’t know anyone who could accommodate him or help him find work
either so he was forced to spend the nights at the “Cardboard City”
and the days begging or looking for something to eat that night. Until
he found a job at the Big Issue which was “a ray of hope in the middle
of that dark misery”. As I listened to his story I found myself
wondering how many Matt’s were there in the UK? How many other people
had lost their homes and found themselves begging, selling magazines
or just stumbling from one street corner to the next? How many of them
could be someone like me?

Government statistics talk about hundreds of thousands but in actual
fact, they only include people who have applied to local...

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