Aug. 6th, 2010

solace_aderyn: (Seeking Solace)
Yesterday I call our community management team, who looks after the particular segment of the borough. As I look for the right number on their website, they proudly boast they spray 1.7 million square metres of weeds, and plant 50,000 bulbs, each year. I dial the number in a dim frame of mind, and shamefully, pleasantly surprised by the response.

"Well, you've come through to the right place. I'll chat with my colleagues, and our local enforcement officer, and try and get them moved. Here's my contact details," - and he gives me direct line, email, mobile. "You should get a call by the end of today with an update."

"Thank you! Any help would be welcome."

Today I call to get the catch up I was promised. "What do you mean?" says a different voice.

"I spoke to [name]--"

"What's [name] doing? He shouldn't be doing that. The homeless who you've mentioned need to go to [local housing unit, 5 mins walk away]. You'll need to call the Homeless Team."

"We have," I reply, softly. Numerous times. They've said unless the homeless go directly to them, they can't help, and to try elsewhere. She overrides me.

"You want their direct line?"

I give in. "Yes, please."

"You need to call [council's main switchboard], and ask for the Homeless Team. Goodbye." And then she hangs up.

I'm asked by my boss to call the police instead: "So what if I seem like a cold bitch? I've worked hard to get here. You worked hard to get here. These people, they don't want to. They don't want help." But she's not cold, just angry at feeling helpless. I know she's right. I've been there. She's offered jobs to one or two of the homeless here in the past, but gave up when the ones she approached refused to even hand in a CV, or turn up as they promised.

So I've called the police twice today, including just now, and each time it's gone straight to an answerphone, where a young guy says hesitantly, "The team are off duty. We're back on duty on Friday... 6th August... from 2pm."

People ask me why I was so stubborn when it came to trying to help someone I loved stay in a place even when they hurt me, and, well, this is exactly why. The level of bureaucracy, of mediocrity, is stunning. They are overworked, and not given enough funds. They even say on their website that the large majority of people who come to them will not be offered social housing; you need 800 points and a 5 year wait for a 2 bedroom house. I'm not even homeless, or have the capacity to care about the individuals sleeping and shitting outside where I work past a mass of bodies who need somewhere to go, and I've been bounced between three separate agencies - charity, the police force, and the council - and five subdivisions of these in total.

The level of negative treatment I received from some people also in trouble, in the past, is actually approaching bearable compared to the lack of care and sheer amount of suck I am currently experiencing. At least Things Were Being Done (though having said that I wouldn't tolerate the level of treatment I received from anyone ever again).

I'm out of ideas, past chip, chip away. It feels like I'm only wearing myself down.


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