Last night (January 30), Vox Political had reason to thank its readers on Facebook after that page’s weekly reach topped one million readers – that’s a lot of people. Now it’s time to see if we can all achieve something together.
This site was contacted yesterday by a reader who wanted to highlight the plight of Dean. He’s a 25-year-old man who has cerebral palsy and – here’s where the system has failed him – is homeless.
She wrote: “The week before Christmas, my Mum, myself and twin 10 year old nephew and niece, took Christmas presents around the Charring Cross area to give to the homeless.
“It was while doing this that we came across a young homeless man, and while no one should be homeless in this day and age, as the kids gave him his present it became clear that something was very, very wrong. He could barely speak, the thin red top he was wearing was covered in stains, he was sitting all by himself with a sleeping bag that someone must have given him at some point.
“He wasn’t interested in the present at all, just kept hand signalling that he was hungry and my Mum went straight to buy him some extra food and drinks from the little kiosk that was close by while the kids helped him to open the parcel so that he could at least start with the chocolate bar inside. He had trouble opening it, as well as the drink so we loosened the cap for him and put all his things together in a bag and stayed trying to talk to him, trying to find out if he was lost but the only answers he was giving to anything was ‘no…’
“This guy should not ever have been on the streets and we were truly worried that he wasn’t going to survive [bolding mine].”
It turned out that his name was Dean and he had cerebral palsy – and really should not be on the streets. But he had been there for five years because, as another concerned person (who had taken him to a street kitchen) explained, none of the homelessness charities would help.
Shortly after that, our correspondent’s mother found a picture of Dean on the campaigning site IndieGoGo. It seems that another person, Vanessa Threadgold, had set up the page as a fundraiser to keep Dean off the streets, and had also found a legal aid solicitor to take on Dean’s case and get him the help he should have had all along.
“Watch this video and you will see for yourself why I am so incredibly angered by our not failing, but failed system, and if anyone can contribute to help Dean in any way possible… you will not only be helping Dean himself, but also to highlight how this treatment of the most vulnerable just simply cannot be allowed to continue any longer,” wrote our original correspondent. “It is the most appalling sign of the times.”
Here’s the video:
The IndieGoGo site adds the following: “Dean will eventually be supported and funded by the the government which is exactly what we pay our taxes for.. To help genuinely vulnerable people. However it will still take a few months to get something into place.
“We are hoping to get a short term let that is suitable for Dean’s needs and then we will be able to slowly introduce him into his own place with around the clock support. This will be the quickest way for his housing and care to be sorted and it means no government funding will be available until he has been assessed by the last council whose care he was under.
“There are huge flaws in homelessness laws. These are even more evident in situations like Dean’s. He should never have been on the street in the first instance, let alone have to wait now that he is having help to get into a home.”
The IndieGoGo appeal metre shows that it has passed its target, but it seems likely that this is because the target was set too low. More is needed.
If all of the one million people reached by the Vox Political Facebook page contributed a little towards the IndieGoGo appeal, Dean would be set up for life – but we know that’s not going to happen; not everybody who reads these stories actually does anything about them.
This writer knows there are plenty of you, reading this, who are willing to help, and who will contribute. If just one per cent of the one million people who read VP material on Facebook contributed, Dean would have support – hopefully – for as long as it takes to get him off the streets forever.
I’m sick and tired of writing stories about people who have lost their lives because the authorities who should have helped, using public money – our money – couldn’t be bothered.
I’d like to see if Vox Political can help make a difference – even if only to one life – and shame the government – local and national – and the charities, who should be carrying out this work in our name.
I can put a fiver to that cause quite happily. Will you help, too?
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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