Becoming homeless can happen to any one of us

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Mo Farrah after missing out on a gold medal
				 Picture: Adam Davy

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Stop for a moment, and take a look at the faceless, homeless person pictured above.

Just for a minute or two, try to imagine how you might feel if that person was you.

For as today’s Agenda feature shows, becoming homeless is a travesty that can happen to anyone.

Father-of-two Andy Hale, 50, had a good career at Fareham Borough Council as an enforcement officer.

But an accident during which he injured his back and neck sent his life into a terrifying downward spiral.

He went from having a roof over his head, a job and hope for the future to overnight being left with nowhere to go.

Petrified, desperately ill and alone, it seems Andy had all but given up hope.

But then his life started to turn back around.

People Andy didn’t even know offered him messages of support on a Facebook page.

A friend helped him find a home, and the council’s housing officer went beyond the call of duty.

Then there was the family who offered him their Scout hut to stay in after he helped out their sick relative when they were both in hospital.

But what is painfully apparent from Andy’s story is that council housing waiting lists are overflowing, and that people like him can slip through the net.

Yet some private landlords are reluctant to rent to people on benefits.

Councils are under increasing pressure to cut costs. But the very fact that some people are effectively forced into homelessness because they can’t get help earlier when they need it, means their situation could end up costing local authorities even more cash – and leave them and the people involved worse off when they most need help.

Andy was not alone in his plight.

His situation could happen to anyone. It could happen to you.

So back to the photograph above. Perhaps it’s not just down to one person or organisation. Perhaps the responsibility lies with us all to help each other. One day we might need help too.

To read the full story click here.