Recently, this video (now visually edited) appeared on TV screens across Aberdeen.
I have every sympathy for those that are or once were homeless, but I have to say that I find the "entitled" attitude put across in this video to be alarming.
Here is a man, no longer homeless himself, stating that the Council should be buying empty flats above the shops in the city centre and letting them out to the homeless. In his own words "there wouldn't be any homeless" if only the Council would show some sense.
I have to take issue with this deluded viewpoint.
I don't know where he gets the notion that all the flats above shops are empty. Flats above shops are most definitely not empty, in fact there is a very healthy sales market in refurbished flats above shops in the city centre. These flats cost anywhere between £100,000-250,000 depending on the number of bedrooms. And there are other flats that have been there for decades and inhabited for just as long (it is true though that many Aberdonians are unaware that residents live above city centre streets, particularly Union Street. I can only imagine this is why they think it is acceptable to scream at the top of their voices in the middle of the night at the weekend, or preach their religion outside Marks and Spencers using very loud speakers).
There may be some empty shop storage areas above some shops, but these are definitely not fit for human habitation. Undoubtedly, if the Council allowed homeless into these to get out of the cold, there would immediately be an outcry from the new habitants demanding proper facilities (e.g. toilets, heating, etc.). Not to mention all the urine and faeces that would be deposited in these properties from both the inhabitants and their dogs. There is enough dog faeces on Union Street without spreading it into surrounding properties, especially if there are other private residents there who did pay for their homes. And why should those that paid for their private residences have neighbouring properties turned into affordable homes? It's not on.
He says the Council should "compulsory buy" these alleged empty properties. But hang on, presumably these properties are already owned by someone else. What if they want to keep them? Why should they be stripped of their own property, previously and legally paid for, and rightfully owned? Is it right we should persecute law-abiding owners just because there are homeless people in society? Are honest decent people to be made to pay the penalty for problems that other folk bring upon themselves? There are already plenty Council tax penalties for properties left empty for too long to deter the hoarding of empty properties.
Once compulsory purchased and renovated, he says the Council should "let them to the homeless". Firstly, one wonders what money the homeless have to pay their rent. Presumably if this man is begging despite having a flat, you have to wonder how he pays his rent. Presumably, it is all paid for by the benefits system? And what cost to the Council purse would there be to renovate all these properties above the shops and turn them into homes for the homeless? The Council Tax system is already bleeding most decent working people dry; are we to pay ever more for those that want everything for nothing?
Why should the homeless be given properties right in the heart of Aberdeen city centre? This is surely not the best place for them if we want Aberdeen to be a beautiful city that inspires tourists to visit and want to come back. No, there are plenty other parts of Aberdeen for the homeless. I would love to stay in Rubislaw Den, but hey ho, you live where you can afford to live, and if you don't have the cash, you don't get to stay in the nicest parts.
Does this man need to beg? Has he considered working? I don't know his personal circumstances but I do resent the entitled attitude that it is someone else's problem to provide him with a home.
Enough said. Taking some personal responsibility would go a long way with some of the homeless.