The Rev Steve On Social Exclusion And The Homeless.

From a speech to the Cramley Board of Trade October 23rd 1998:

'The question of social exclusion is one of the most pressing issues facing us today. There are many who feel alienated from society as they are trapped in a cycle of poverty which politicians of recent years have done little to break. There is also a widening gulf between the generations as the traditional paradigms of respect for the wisdom of our elders
( a tradition as old as civilisation itself) breaks down.

Many younger people also feel excluded, often young men lack the role models which previous generations took for granted and resort to anti social behaviour. It is plain that the continuity of the generations has been interrupted in the post war years.

I'll never be afraid of speaking plainly and the root of the problem is obvious. We all know in our bones that once the family unit breaks down society as a whole starts to fall apart. But we can't go back to those salad days of the 40s and 50s, we must move forward and create new models which includes those who feel excluded. This is where we must way up our rights and our responsibilities. To give unlimited licence to those who feel no stake in society would be folly and to follow the discredited prescription of hand outs will get us nowhere either. Instead we must recognise that a happy creative individual is one who is respected as a mature member of society, a mature member of society who has a stake in the prosperity of that society as a whole. This question goes beyond mere economics and to the root and branch of our society itself.

You may say 'Well, Reverend, this is all very well but what if the balance between an individuals rights and their responsibilities is not even? What if those excluded end up having less rights and more responsibilities than those included?', and that would be a very pertinent question and one that deserves a serious and considered answer.

Previously those marginalised members of society were encouraged to stay on the margins by the way in which they were supported . This is one of the terrible consequences of a political system which took unemployment and homelessness as unavoidable. I don't believe that unemployment or homelessness are inevitible, necessery or tolerible. The belief that they are realities that we must live with created a culture of dependency which grew to be endemic. The phrase 'culture of dependency' has been taken and twisted by politicians in the past who were unable to face their responsibilities to those excluded and used it to marginalise and demonise them further.
I am using it in its true sense.

The CCP is commited to encouraging inclusion through a series of schemes which are based on real incentives. Sometimes the incentive will be a 'carrot' which will bring the excluded into the flow of normal life. On rare occasions, and there is no ducking this issue, it might resemble a 'stick'. Those who refuse to act responsibly will be encouraged to do so through the minimal curtailment of their rights. These schemes are aimed at creating members of society who rejoin the real political life of the community, and lets speak plainly real life resides in our schools, our work place, our places of worship and our homes and not in the crack house or the shop doorway. We owe each other more than a cycle of misery and despair, and there is a great deal at stake, it is an opportunity we can't afford to miss.'

The Homeless.

'There is a saying: 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Give him a fishing rod and he has food for life'
(You see, he can use the fishing rod to catch fish with !). .
My proposed homes for the homeless scheme works in the same way . The homeless are more often than not unemployed and drawing benefit . My scheme is a way of enabling them in a practical way to involve themselves in the economy of the community and to break out of the cycle of enforced indolence and poverty. .
The portocabins used by the crew during the demolition of the Toxicem factory are still on site and the land that the instillation was once on is now freed up to provide prime building land. I propose that the portoloos be used as temporary shelters for a work force of homeless people who will build their own homes on that land. Cramley will provide the timber and corrugated iron for the roofs and the clients of the scheme will be given free access to Cramley quarry. The borough will also provide a team of trained facilitators who will coordinate the operation. Of course the right to ones own home has attendant responsibilities and it is our duty to the scheme's clients that we use their talents to the highest degree possible.
I hope that this and similar schemes will help increase the prosperity and social cohesion which are characteristics of this borough.

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