THE headlines in the Andover Advertiser (September 21, page 3) ’Police gain order to move on group from park’ and on the same page, ‘Do not give out change call — Stop giving cash to beggars’, should be considered together.

Cllr Phil Bundy, speaking under the grand title of housing and environmental portfolio holder says, “… Unfortunately, the generosity and goodwill of the public can hamper efforts” (Oh, the irony in the combination of those words) “… to persuade people to move off the streets and come inside.”

As if they chose to become homeless and want to live on the street, or are you inviting them home Phil? Are the council going to provide more affordable single person accommodation?

The Homeless Reduction Act 2017 sounds ominous but is probably well intentioned, but how long must homeless people wait for suitable local housing?

I was born in Andover and have lived here all my life. I started married life in a static caravan locally and have always loved these smaller homes. For the last ten years or so I have lived in a caravan at festivals and shows during the summer and wintered outside my son’s home, still sleeping in the caravan but enjoying the luxury of hot running water, flushing toilets and a shared garden and living space.

I am very low on the housing list points system. I am now a pensioner with no savings but, as my father wouldsay, ‘There but for God go I’. One thing I can give the homeless is the time of day, a smile and to listen.

For those of us who have lived in social housing with family, sometimes nursing parents until they die, will the housing agencies, now owning all the social housing, loosen up on their regulations and allow children (or parents) to be included in the tenancy agreement, therefore not making them become homeless in the first place?

Just a thought.

To scrap an unwanted caravan today will cost homeowners £250, if they take it to a scrap yard.

As a temporary solution to living on the streets I suggest a site to be found so that unwanted holiday homes can help a move towards coming inside for little expenditure.

The fact that council, courts and police have to keep moving ‘travellers’ proves how much alternative solutions are needed.

The whole idea of reporting ‘rough sleepers’ on line, the shock horror of a ‘tramps’ campsite’ outside M&S (closed) and offering tickets out of town, as some councils are, is leading towards a future reminiscent of the recent past that I never want to see happen.

Steve Harrington-Ellsmore BA, Penton Grafton.

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