Homelessness is not just for Christmas





Our speaker on Wednesday 4 May 2011 was Belinda Gee of the homelessness charity Crisis. Although it is probably best known by the public under the title “Crisis at Christmas”, the charity operates throughout the year. Belinda started by asking, “What does a homeless person look like?”, and drew upon the answers in her talk. There are estimated to be some 4,000 people in London who are homeless, and although there is a government target to reduce this to zero by the end of 2012, the problem is very difficult to progress. Homeless people have no address where they can be contacted, have no access to a GP, have no free dental care, and cannot apply for a job as they cannot give an address where they can be contacted. If they had a job, they would be able to live somewhere, but they can’t get a job until they live somewhere. Crisis operates four centres for one week over Christmas, principally because the other day centres close for Christmas. A variety of services are offered at each centre including access to a GP, to a dentist, and to a chiropodist. Personal hygiene also features with showers, manicurists, hairdressers and massage therapists. Well done Crisis and thank you Belinda for telling their story in such a straightforward way.

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