From: Eric Waters, Ingleside Crescent,Lancing
The reason that they do so is because it has got far more shops than the towns and villages where they live; in other words, the more retail outlets a town has, the more customers it will attract.
The same thing applies when it comes to so-called rough sleeping; the more facilities that a town offers - be it hostels, night shelters, soup runs, the offer of free tents and so on – the more people will be found sleeping, begging and drinking on its streets.
Just look around those fifteen places that appear in Village Voices. How people make their homes on the streets of Beckley, Brede, Catsfield or any of the other dozen or so places that submit their weekly reports? Precious few I would have thought, because these places have precious few, if any, facilities for them.
It should, therefore, not have come as any surprise when Peter Chowney said that 65% of the people who were found rough sleeping in East Sussex last year had been drawn to Hastings. (Observer, Aug 9th).
This is a town that tries to do want it can to help these people out but it can never get on top of the problem; if it thinks up something new it just finishes up with even more.
And just look at Brighton, a city that has between three and four times as many rough sleepers as Hastings. And why? Because it almost certainly has three or four times as many organisations working on behalf of the street community.
So, what is the answer to all of this?
Well, if every county, city, town and village ‘did its bit’, and was able to look after its own, then places like Hastings and Brighton would not find themselves overwhelmed with people sleeping in shop doorways, setting up home on its streets and feeding their addictions in public.
But that it never going to happen because, as far as I can see, the situation is intractable and will simply continue as far into the future as the eye can see.