Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

Op-Ed: Money's too tight to mention - for the homeless, not the banks

By Alexander Baron     Dec 21, 2011 in Politics
London - The BBC news this afternoon revealed that the homeless are dying thirty years prematurely, and that Europe has given half a trillion Euros to the banks.
Although these were presented as two different stories, the connection is not difficult to make. The BBC news interviewed a number of people on the sharp end including a woman, apparently a single mother, who is shortly to be made homeless because the so-called reforms to housing benefit will not cover her rent, and a young girl described as a sofa surfer, who apparently grew up in care having never had a proper home, and as things stand will be unlikely ever to have one.
Like crime, homelessness is not an homogeneous entity; people end up on the street for all manner of reasons. The chronic homeless are those who have mental health problems or who from human frailty have fallen by the wayside. The Blair Administration made serious inroads into tackling the problems they faced, and the number of rough sleepers fell dramatically. Unfortunately, first Operation Desert Fox and then the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11, caused the government of the day to lose its way.
The people alluded to above are not members of the chronic homeless, rather they are victims of circumstance. And the banks?
According to the BBC website: “Eurozone banks have rushed to take out cheap three-year loans offered by the European Central Bank, borrowing 489bn euros ($643bn; £375bn).
The central bank had hoped to lend up to 450bn euros to stop another credit crunch crippling the banking system”.
There has understandably been a big queue for this hand out; according to Auntie Beeb on the same news programme, around 500 banks applied for the money as soon as its availability was announced. This money, which like almost all new money was created out of thin air, has been described as loans; the suggestion has been made by none other than the French President that it could be used to invest in sovereign debt in the Eurozone area. Of course, one possibility is that much of this money will be invested in higher rate funds or used for speculation, as Michael Burns pointed out on PressTV earlier this year in relation to the American Federal Reserve. What is absolutely certain is that whether or not it is used to create more debt, it won't got to the people who really need it, like the homeless.
Keeping people homeless or making them homeless is also a false economy. Homeless people and others at the bottom of society are a drain on us all. The price of keeping them in misery is more money spent on healthcare, more money spent on crime and prisons for those who fall into that downward spiral. More money spent on all the other services that wouldn't be necessary if every homeless person had a roof over his or her head.
It would be must better if instead of giving this money to the banks to lend at interest on their caprice to busineses, it were given - not loaned but given - to the homeless and/or spent on providing them with the resources they need, like affordable accommodation. That though is clearly not what a certain Bob Diamond meant when he asked the rhetorical question: Can banks be good citizens?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Homelessness, banksters, usury
More news from
Latest News
Top News