Make homeless people visible all the year round and eradicate homelessness altogether

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YoungMel Every year in the two week run up to Christmas, homelessness becomes an issue. Homeless charities will report a significant increase in donations and the media will highlight the plight of homeless people. If it gets cold and it snows, the issue is heightened even more.

So, right now in the Western World, there is some concern about homelessness. People are prepared to think about homelessness in the context of the Christmas message of “sharing”. There is a dreadful Christmas song which is trotted out every year which includes the line “Why can’t it be Christmas every day”?

I think the idea behind the lyric is for us to imagine a sentimental image of jingle bells and snow plus lots of over-indulgence. I have a slightly different take on this. Why can’t it be Christmas every day for homeless people? From 26th December onwards, homelessness becomes forgotten for the next 51 weeks of the year until people notice them again in the run to next year’s Christmas. If we can care for one week of the year, why can’t we care for 52 weeks?

According to UN figures there are one billion people homeless in the world with 100 million classed as “street homeless”. There are 3 million homeless on the streets of the USA. The numbers are increasing all the time. This is a completely unsustainable position for all of us in the world regardless of our housing situation.

Social entrepreneurs who are making practical interventions throughout the world to take homeless people from the streets to join society are beginning to work together. The challenge now is to take these workable ideas to scale around the world so that a really significant change can take place.

Despite the huge numbers, it is possible to create a world where no-one needs to be homeless. It is just a question of carrying out the good ideas which already exist and making them work right across the globe.

Mel Young


Editors Note
Mel Young, President and Chief Executive Officer, Homeless World Cup, United Kingdom;
Social Entrepreneur, Schwab Fellow of the World Economic Forum

70 nations, 40,000 players, 1 goal. The Homeless World Cup is a world-class, international football tournament that uses football to end homelessness. Homeless players represent their country and change their lives forever.

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