Isle of Man/Mannin - much needed honeless shelter exposes manx social deficiencies
CelticNews | June 6, 2008 at 05:05 amby
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There is little doubt that the Isle of Man on 'accepted tests' of
economic performance has performed commendably in the past two decades.
Government frequently points to the achievement of new standards and
benchmarks to highlight their achievements.
There was however one 'benchmark' achieved this week which was launched
with little fanfare and would perhaps have been completely buried
by the annual obsession with the TT motorcycle races were it not for
the voices of the critics.
The first government commissioned temporary homeless shelter which
is set to open this winter was given the 'green light'. The shelter
providing a number of bed spaces in will be in a disused former drug
and alcohol day centre and clinic. The temporary shelter will have
a maximum of eight beds plus a staff bed, initially for a six month
period. It will complement work already being undertaken by charitable
groups. However there are already suggestions that the facility will
Those who use the facility (and indeed on predictions those who are
turned away) are at the base of a social problem over accommodation
and housing which goes much further than many appreciate.
Despite the Islands proud record of economic progress and in part
because of its growth a housing and accommodation 'time-bomb' is ticking
away. A problem paradoxically which may only be solved if the Island
experiences a similar economic downturn to those being felt elsewhere
- an event which will in turn throw up its own problems.
Growth has been allowed to proceed apace with little thought to housing
needs and the growth in incomes ironically is swallowed up by the
increases in rental charges or mortgage repayments of a well-fuelled
house purchase market.
In 2005 almost 1000 people were aspiring first time buyers (i.e. listed
by government as such) two years later despite programmes initiated
earlier the level had increased.
The fact that the Isle of Man which is well into its second decade
of unprecedented growth needs to open shelters for the homeless speaks
volumes about the credibility of Manx government social policy. Clearly
the shelter is needed and may yet need to be complemented by others
but what is also needed is a clear commitment by government to tackle
housing shortages and social deprivation at all levels. The plaudits
they periodically award themselves have an increasingly hollow ring!
There is a related article to this story with photographs of the proposed
facility and comments from Manx people on the main Manx newspaper
J B Moffatt
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