A peaceful protest against homelessness blog
On Sunday the 16th December, staff and committee members from BASW Cymru stood alongside the volunteers from Left Outside Alone for the second year running, in a peaceful protest, against homelessness.
Across Wales at least 25,937 people - equal to the population of Penarth - experienced homelessness in 2017/18, which was a three per cent rise on the year before. In Cardiff, alone, there were an estimated 4,547 people affected by homelessness in the same period. The statistics become a harsh and sober reality as you walk the streets of Cardiff, with homeless people living in tents, on the Capital’s busiest street.
Left Outside Alone are a husband and wife team - Chris and Kelly, who highlight the problems of homelessness in Cardiff, as well as handing out warm clothes, sleeping bags and food. Perhaps more importantly, Chris and Kelly give conversation, a listening ear and love to people who are so often denied these basic human needs.
At the protest was veteran social work activist and folk singer Frankie Armstrong. Frankie worked for many years supporting the homeless and performed a song she had written several years ago, which is sadly, no less relevant today.
We were also blessed to be accompanied by Angi Naylor, boot-out-austerity walker, who had travelled to stand in solidarity with Chris and Left Outside Alone. This was also Angi’s second year standing alongside us. The previous year, Angi had performed a song she’d composed following the death of a young woman, in a park, in the centre of Cardiff. Once again, another homeless person had died in the centre of Cardiff, in the days before the protest.
It was a sombre and powerful protest in the rain and cold, which served to reinforce the horror of being homeless, especially during the Winter period. Sheila Jones a local poet, took to the microphone and told the crowd that she was one month away from being made homeless herself and proceeded to read one of her poems, written many years previously, still relevant, a sickening theme emerging of nothing much having really changed.
Our protest received international support on social media, including support from Silvana Martinez, Global President of the IFSW. Social work is, at its heart, a human rights profession based on innate human dignity, one that strives to create a just and equal society for all. There is no dignity or justice in being homeless.
BASW Cymru felt compelled to attend the peaceful protest. Anyone bearing witness to the reality and visibility of homelessness in the UK in 2018, must surely feel the same?
Deputy National Director