Last night on my way home I spotted a homeless chap on the corner of Tonbridge High Street and my street. I was shocked, not because there was a homeless man in Tonbridge as there has been a significant increase over the 10 years i've lived here but because it was actually on my street. It really brought it home.
I give money to homeless people fairly regularly (usually after i'm walking home from a night out), and we donate food to food banks when doing a big shop (although not nearly enough). But this one really got to me.
I got changed out of my work clothes and then thought about what he might need. There was nothing in the fridge so couldn't cook for him. In the end I filled a hot water bottle and emptied my wallet.
The poor lad was a little startled when I woke him up. Wouldn't you be? But he wasn't drunk, just had hit hard times. He was very appreciative but I still feel bad.
I'm very lucky to have a roof over my head and we have more rooms in our house than we know what to do with. Obviously we've got room to put him up but even with the added pressure of having a newborn I don't think inviting a stranger into our house would be the right solution. And then why just him. There are at least another 5 that live opposite the castle.
The tax that we pay as a community and what we do with it should be the solution. Unfortunately everything's been cut back to the bare bones as part of the conservative party's austerity measures. It's certainly not the rich that are effected, it's the poorest in society. I think this is wrong.
What else can I do about it? Not sure yet but am looking into it.