More than a billion people are homeless or live in slums in the world today. The figure is continually rising as around 50 million people migrate to the major cities every year. Slum dwellings have poor structural quality, insufficient living areas, overcrowding, lack of any secure tenure and limited access to water and sanitation. In fact, contaminated water supplies, bad hygiene and a lack of decent toilets and sewerage claim the lives of millions of slum dwellers every year through the increase and spread of deadly diseases.
Slums built on marginal land are prone to disasters like flooding and pose a high risk for residents. Those living beside busy city roads and railways, on shorelines, river banks and on and around rubbish dumps feel the constant dangers of these unsafe environments. With no legal rights to land, trespassers face the threat of eviction and find it impossible to secure a job or obtain credit and finance. Not having a formal, legal address also prevents people from accessing services like healthcare, education, water and electricity.
In these times of extreme greed and corruption, being poor and homeless is a crime and many vagrants end up in prison. The problem is not limited to third world countries. It occurs in every rich society where the poor are made 'invisible' so as not to upset the well off. The situation is accepted as a necessary evil. It is a simple mathematical equation - if someone is rich, then many more must be desperately poor. It's an economic balancing act. We must face the fact that in this heap of humanity, there must be people at the bottom of the pile. It can never be any different. Not until every nation has a fair and equal economic, social and cultural policy. That's never going to happen. No point in dreaming.
No Point In Dreaming Copyright (c) Steve Nielson All Rights Reserved