Sputnik: What do you make of the latest figures on homelessness?
Diana Parkinson: It is terrifying isn't it and I wonder how accurate that figure is. I work in London and just traveling to and from work, the number of people I see sleeping rough is shocking. So I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't more.
Sputnik: The government want to end homelessness by 2027, based on their current action, is this achievable?
Diana Parkinson: Well whoever is in power that is quite something to achieve, it could be but it needs a lot of single-mindedness and effort right now to start changing things. Of course, something should happen, it's awful, nobody is going to want to sleep rough, and it's appalling especially during wintertime but whatever the weather it doesn't make a difference.
We need to be looking at ways to provide whether it's temporary or permanent system that allows people a place to sleep, however simple it is, but its clean, its dry, its warm to get people off the streets. People will get awful illnesses and be in a hospital or die on the streets. It doesn't help any of us, none of us benefit, and it's shocking to see in this day on age.
Sputnik: Austerity and affordable housing are being blamed, so how can Britain improve the situation?
Diana Parkinson: Well if we have a system where we get people off the streets, it used to be we had council housing that was provided for people. I know there's lots more people living in the country now. If we can get people off the streets, somewhere that's warm, dry and clean, then their health starts to improve, they have an address so they can get a job, and they can become part of the system, so we know who they are and where they are.
It improves their wellbeing, their self-esteem, their confidence and hopefully they will get work that way because nobody will employ somebody that's sleeping rough on the pavement and hasn't got an address, they haven't got anywhere to wash, they haven't got clothing. There's so much that needs to be done, it shouldn't cost that much and we would all benefit.
The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.