Tuesday 23 December 2014

No Room At The Inn

Theological differences aside, I want to like the Salvation Army.

Its oldest functioning band on earth is in Consett, and the organisation is very active in St Helena, although extreme poverty such as people sleeping on the streets does not exist there.

But in Britain, the Salvation Army participates in workfare.

And in America, as one of my regular correspondents has informed me, it has done this.

A boy aged between 12 and 16 is not allowed in its hostels, even if he would otherwise be sleeping on the streets, and even if he is accompanied by both parents, a teenage sister, and a brother aged five.

Apparently, he cannot stay with the women (as if he would wish to) in case he rapes them, and he cannot stay with the men in case they rape him. Read that over again, and again, and again, until it sinks in.

This poor boy had some kind of breakdown because he felt that his family's homelessness was therefore his fault, so he was admitted to a psychiatric facility.

At which point, the Salvation Army admitted his family to its hostel, since the problem - him - no longer presented itself.

I am not blaming any one organisation or country for this.

Most British women's refuges (such of them as remain in the midst of the cuts) will not take sons from the age of 12 up, and I believe that it is correct to say that none will take them from 16 up, which is two years below the age of majority, and which will soon be two years below the statutory school leaving age.

Are they supposed to go and live with their violent fathers instead? Is that supposed to be better?

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