By LCEH Volunteers Endryu Kainã Pinheiro De Villa & Alesandra Patricia Pinheiro De Villa
Homelessness is present in every single country in the world. The demand for housing usually results in physiological distress as low-wage workers aren’t able to pay their rent. Other factors such as drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, and job losses contribute to the problem.
In Brazil, 7.9 million people live in slums known as favelas, with many of these victims children. Think about that for a second. There are almost as many homeless people in Brazil as there are people with homes in London.
Every year there’s a global rise in homelessness and, in Brazil, these people have nothing apart from the angels* who offer a helping hand and a bit of comfort to those in need. They do this with simple things such as a plate of food or warm clothes.
We have lived in London for the past 8 years. Since then we’ve seen a dramatic rise in homelessness. However, unlike Brazil, London is supposedly trying to tackle the situation by providing housing (or at least emergency housing) for those who don’t have a home.Yet the rise in demand for housing is so great that demand is outstripping supply.
And every day that we walk by London’s rough sleepers, wefeel immense sadness – so much so that my heart aches to see them there. I feel the need to help them. That is why we joined The Labour Campaign to End Homelessness.
On our first outreach, we saw a man in a tiger costume. The reason for he had become homeless was thathe came to this country to with a promise of work. He was promised shelter, food and a job. Yet as soon as he arrived he was put on a slave wage and as soon as he was no more use to his ’employer’, he was thrown out of his accomoodation. His employer took possession of his documents and all of his belongings; he couldn’t plea for help as he didn’t speak English.
On our second outreach, we saw an old man who wore a red rosary; he had been made homeless due to alocholism. After we’d helped him, he took our hand and began to pray for us and thanked us.
Sometimes we walk by these people without even looking at them as if they were insignificant human beings. We forget that anyone can end up becoming homeless – even me and you. It is easier than most people think to fall into the homelessness trap.
The homelessness crisis in the UK is bleak. It is even bleaker in our home country of Brazil. Yet there is every danger that the Government’s disregard for those without a home will mean that the UK ends up with a homelessness crisis as bad as Brazil’s.
So we need to take action. Fast. Or even the angels in the night will not be enough to keep the flame of hope alive.
*”Angels” is referring to a Brazilian organisation called ‘Angels Of The Night’.