Sleeping pods for displaced people in Newport have been praised as an emergency lifeline for rough sleepers and welcomed by residents across the capital.
Charity Amazing Grace Spaces first unveiled the pods in October 2018, having recorded a rise in the number of rough sleepers in many cities. The charity arranged for two pods to be sited in the city centre after a businessman gave consent for them to be located on land at the rear of his site.
The pods which cost between five to six thousand pounds each were currently occupied by two rough sleepers, who had access to a bed, light, toilet and phone charger, and the Newport residents have embraced the arrival of the pods, with one rough sleeper stating that the project had stopped him committing crime just to have access to a warm prison cell.
This is excellent work from the charity and those who have served to make it possible, and anything that benefits people without a home can only be a good thing, and it gives an emergency lifeline to rough sleepers, and rather than fight the cold, they can now be inside one of these great pods.
There are far too many homeless people out there, and if homeless people are using these pods, then they must be working, and this could save lives.
Let’s pray that they work because there shouldn’t be anyone in 21st century Britain who is homeless, and let’s hope that these pods can turn people’s lives around. However, one person expressed his reservations, saying that he didn’t think that it would make a difference.
These pods supposedly only give interim settlement, so how will this all work in the long run? Of course, rough sleepers require help but will it actually work and to what degree? And there is the off chance that they might get vandalised.
But rough sleepers need the right help, integrated support and mental health triage needed with more supervised emergency accommodation. But of course, the concern of this person should be noted, but we must also have more compassion for the homeless, and maybe we can find suitable places for these pods or similar.
It would be nice to see some wasteland that has been fenced up and unused finally put to some use, maybe build a bit of a community for the homeless with shower blocks, and they should be put first in regards to providing homes for them so that they can be put back into society and to help them find help with alcohol or drug abuse et cetera.
And even though this is all quite well-meaning, we shouldn’t be condemning these people to ghettos when there’s enough land to build houses and enough investment out there to do so.
The pods are a very good idea, but not on a permanent basis because then we would end up with ghettos for the homeless. The money has to come from somewhere to build these houses, and there are families out there with children that are presently in dire straights as these rough sleepers who should have a preference.
This is a well-intentioned but perhaps flawed in thinking, and perhaps it might only be a matter of time before a body is found inside one of these pods because there is a drugs problem with some of the homeless, but these pods should be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
This is a homeless problem, and giving people someplace to stay, even just for a night is helping a few, or if these pods take off, then more than a few, and it might not be addressing the cause but at least it’s putting a roof over their heads and out of the cold so that they don’t die on the streets.
It’s not the case of funding their addictions, it’s the fact that these are human beings, and whether they have a problem is irrelevant, they warrant the same reverence as your next door neighbour, which we wouldn’t think twice about doing, but a tramp on the streets, well now, that’s another story.
It’s not only drug users that end up on the street homeless, homelessness is created by a mixture of circumstances, both structural, for example, the benefits system, employment rates, and the housing market, and individual addiction problems, mental health, family breakdown and past trauma, and these pods might be a sticking plaster but at least they will benefit a few people a great deal.
We should be very impressed with the work that this Newport charity do and we should feel especially proud of them because they’re doing their bit for the city. Of course, the pods won’t save the plight of homelessness, and the pods aren’t supposed to be a long term thing, but it does give a human being hope for one more night, and that’s how we can transform the world with a bit of hope and progress at a time.
We know that social difficulties like homelessness need a more complex solution for the long-haul, but launching our hands up on the air and saying that it’s pointless, we miss the chance that we have at this moment to do the little things because we’re not powerless to do something, and something is better than nothing, RIGHT?
Each one of us is able to help someone, somehow, right now, at this moment, and if we don’t use that power, we lose it. So, consider for one second and think about the tiny gift of assistance you can give in your life, from holding a door open for someone who’s trying to catch a train, and then reflect on the impact it would have had on that person.
Now, examine the impact a pod could have in saving a life, and perhaps one of those rough sleepers will cross your path and transform your life in some tiny or vast way that you could never have foreseen, and we should never discourage anyone from putting their time, strength and heart into something that can improve the environment that we live in.