Mark McGreevy certainly has a way with images!
“Just imagine that you have an overflowing bathtub, and you’ve got water coming through your ceiling in the living room and you dash upstairs. What would you do first with that situation?
Well, the first thing you would do would be to turn off the water. The second thing you would do is you would reach into the bathtub and pull out the plug to let the water release. And then the third thing that you would do is you would mop up the water that’s there on the floor.
Now let’s imagine that this is the homelessness system, and that the tap (the faucet, the water coming in) is people arriving on the streets.
Let’s pretend that the bathtub itself is where they’re caught: the shelters, the hostels, the night shelters, the services that are delivered for street homeless people. And let’s imagine that the water on the floor is the people that we find on the floors of our city, the homeless people that sleep out on the streets.
What we do when we rush upstairs to deal with this system of homelessness is, we don’t turn off the tap. We don’t empty the bathtub. What we do is we mop up the water. So if you want to resolve street homelessness, you have to think about prevention: how do you turn off the tap?
The second thing you need to think about is the services: is the system working? Can we empty it quickly so that other people can come into it? Can we resolve people’s problems in a fast-track way so that it doesn’t overflow?
And then thirdly we need to think innovatively about those people who do arrive for different reasons on the street.”