Homeless in a Hostile City - Part 7

We curse the destitute for urinating in public spaces with no thought about how far the nearest free public toilet might be. We blame them for their poor hygiene without questioning the lack of public facilities for washing.

Wilful misconceptions about homelessness abound. For instance, that shelters are plentiful and sleeping rough is a lifestyle choice. Free shelters, unless one belongs to a particularly vulnerable group, are actually extremely rare. Getting a bed often depends on a referral from a local agency, which, in turn, depends on being able to prove a local connection.

For the majority of homeless people, who have usually graduated from a life as itinerant sofa-surfers, it is impossible to prove.

(Continued in Part 8)