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From the editor's desk 25 Aug

The War Cry comments on homelessness

Most people don't understand the impact homelessness can have on a person

THIS summer in the city of Brighton and Hove, 100 single-use cameras were given to people who had experience of homelessness.

A calendar created from the photographs that were taken will be sold to raise funds to help the people who took part in the project. A similar project in London has raised more than £150,000 over the past five years.

Lucy Groenewoud of MyBrighton & Hove, which organised the competition, said: ‘When you have been sleeping rough on the streets of Brighton, you will have a different view. A lot of people won’t have seen the city from the eyes of someone who is homeless.’

The truth is that most people don’t experience homelessness and don’t understand the impact it can have on a person and their life.

Photographer Tony Mallon, though, is providing an opportunity to catch a glimpse of some of the places that offer shelter for those with nowhere else to go. He is staging an exhibition of photographs he has taken of modern-day accommodation for people who are experiencing homelessness, showing them alongside pictures taken from years gone by of Salvation Army centres.

One of the older photographs in the exhibition called Quiet Room dates back 100 years, and, in this week’s War Cry, Tony describes the impact that the exhibition has had on its visitors and on him personally.

Talking about the images on display, he says: ‘They show that, although we wish it was eradicated, homelessness is still here.’

Last week, the government unveiled its strategy to tackle rough sleeping on England’s streets, vowing to make homelessness ‘a thing of the past’.

It’s good that the government wants to focus on this important issue. But there can be no quick fixes for a problem that has developed over centuries. A co-ordinated approach across all of government will be needed for its ambitious target to be met.

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