Love thy neighbour?
Popular myth has it that the people of the North East are supposed to be friendly and inviting. However, when it comes to welcoming people who are down on their luck, some people in Hebburn are giving a masterclass in petty mean-mindedness.
What’s interesting about the article in the Shields Gazette is that there is no indication that residents from Coppergate House with addiction problems will be relocated to the planned homeless shelter at the former Victoria Rose Residential Home, other than the suspicions and assertions of the objecting residents and councillors.
Maurice Condie, the chief executive of Newcastle-based Byker Bridge Housing and Support which is planning to purchase the Victoria Rose Residential Home was forthright about the purpose of the former care home:
“We will house local homeless people there – it is not a place for people with drug or alcohol problems.”
Despite this clarification, Hebburn locals conflate the purpose of Coppergate House with the stated intended use of the former care home.
The NIMBY neighbours have also enrolled the heavyweight support of Hebburn councillor John McCabe, who isn’t too happy either:
“Local councillors believe this is the wrong scheme, in the wrong place”.
You got that right; a local councillor thinks that a place for local homeless people to try and get their lives back together in their home town is innapropriate. This is all without knowledge of the circumstances of those who would benefit from such a project. These could be people who have lost their homes due to unemployment, debt, divorce, escaping spousal abuse and a thousand other reasons, and they are to be made outcasts by the decree of local busybodies and councillors.
This is the same John McCabe who, according to his own bio, is “an ordinary human being”, “educated by the Marist Brothers as a young boy and instilled with Christian values” and “trained to fight social injustice”. It’s unfortunate that his ‘Christian values’ don’t extend to care for those from his own area who are victims of wicked misfortune. Would Councillor McCabe have given Mary and Joseph a room for the night?