NEWS COMMENT: Wild campers in car park might make a difference

Tents in the Isambard Brunel car park in Portsmouth
Tents in the Isambard Brunel car park in Portsmouth
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It would be satisfying to know if the tents currently adorning a Portsmouth multi-storey car park were a gift to a homeless charity from the Glastonbury Festival organisers – just two of the thousands abandoned by those lucky enough to have the cash to afford tickets for that jamboree.

In itself that would be symbolic enough, but you have to take your hat off to the pair of homeless people who are temporarily calling the sixth level of the Isambard Brunel car park, home.

From a practical point of view at least they have found somewhere to keep off the rain, if not the autumnal chill.

But whether they intended to or not, the duo could hardly have selected a better place in which to raise one of the most burning issues in the city at the moment.

For the thousands of motorists who use that car park each day, their little camp will serve as a poignant reminder of how lucky most of us are.

We have become used – perhaps somewhat blasé – about seeing bundles in shop doorways shrouding those desperately unfortunate members of society who do not have a permanent roof over their heads.

But this little encampment should make people, those fortunate enough to be able to afford a car and the means to pay to park it, think twice, perhaps three times, about this problem.

Tackling homelessness is not just about getting people off our streets.

It is also about finding lasting solutions to stop people becoming homeless in the first place.

As we highlight the problem yet again, it is interesting to note that today a meeting is being held in the city between charities and organisations which support the homeless in a bid to help the growing number of rough sleepers in Portsmouth.

We accept there will be no overnight solution.

However, if more immediate temporary accommodation can be found in this city, then perhaps the plight of the two wild campers in the car park might have done some good.