"My involvement in wanting to respond to homelessness began during my first year of University in Sheffield. There was a vast number of individuals who were sleeping rough and with time, I began to learn more about the lives of these individuals and with greater time, they became friends. Hearing how each individual came to be in their situation and the difficulties they had escaping homelessness not only perplexed me, but humbled me. Homelessness could happen to anyone but equally, there seemed to be a certain group of people that were more susceptible to becoming homelessness than others. The safety net to prevent such individuals from becoming homeless was clearly broken and I was intrigued to understand why. Upon volunteering for various homeless charities, completing a Masters in Public Policy, working for the local council in the housing department, and reading the insightful book titled ‘No Fixed Abode’, the belief that homelessness could be eradicated was not only strengthened but my passion to be part of this outcome continued to enhance.
I became involved in the Cardon Banfield Foundation as it is an organisation that is able to contribute to the elimination of the phenomenon that individuals tragically lose their lives whilst sleeping rough. The 5th July marks the 7th Anniversary since Cardon’s body was found and his anniversary epitomises the reality for those who are sleeping rough. Statistics in the UK consistently show that when compared to the general public, those who sleep on the street have a significantly lower life expectancy, are more likely to be victims of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, and are more likely to suffer from mental and physical health conditions. Cardon’s death highlights the importance for us all to work together to respond to homelessness and the work of the Cardon Banfield Foundation shows what is possible through partnership work.
Responding to homelessness is complex. The phenomenon is intertwined with areas such as domestic abuse, imprisonment, and those leaving the care system. Homelessness is complex, the phenomenon is affected by the housing sector whether that be private, temporary, or social housing. Homelessness is complex, it is not simply those who sleep rough but includes those couch surfing, those sleeping in hotels, and those on the precipice of being evicted. Due to the complexity of responding to homelessness, we all have a role to play. Whether that be the role of the general public, charities, faith groups, local authorities, or even the role of the government. Upon reflecting on the complexity of homelessness, I am filled with compassion both for those who are experiencing homelessness as well as those who are responding to the phenomenon however, the anniversary of Cardon’s Death reminds me that although the task is difficult and resources might be scarce, we must all strive to do better and to do better together."