zero is a magic number – homelessness in Devon

In a lockdown environment, much like any other domestic crisis, it is the unrepresented that bear the residue of whatever action the government takes.  In this case it is the homeless population of Exeter.

Since the lockdown an encampment of rough sleepers have congregated outside the high street town hall with tents to shelter them whilst public charity and soup runs dry up to make their situation even more distressing.

Police as a response say, ‘there is little they can do’ even when breaking social distancing standards because ‘the street is technically their home’.

So whilst the police do nothing to sate the situations of the most vulnerable the city council states they are working around the clock finding accommodation for rough sleepers in hotels and hostels for the next 12 weeks to avoid contracting or spreading Covid-19.  But while the encampment exists the vulnerable see little sign of their conditions being sated anytime soon.

The councils are needing to act hurriedly and police engage more to protect the most vulnerable, but many are sceptical what happens once the pandemic has waned.  What liberal minded society would accept hearing a government say, ‘we have the homeless figures to an acceptable level’ when the numbers aren’t reduced to zero?

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