COMMENT: Homeless youths who harass people in town must be dealt with

HOMELESSNESS is a complex issue that requires a multi-pronged approach. It is terrifying to see the number of young people who have been forced to live on the streets of Bulawayo, with no access to basic necessities or support systems. These young people are at high risk of exploitation, violence, and abuse, which can have lasting effects on their lives.

Increasingly, homeless people harass innocent passers-by, particularly women. Many women recount stories of being harassed by homeless youths, who either grope them or snatch their food, leading to a sense of fear and vulnerability as they go about their daily business in the city centre.

This is an issue that needs urgent attention, as it is unfair and unjustifiable for individuals to feel threatened or intimidated when walking down the streets. Although there are no immediate solutions to this problem, we must create places where people can seek shelter and food without feeling intimidated or harassed.

In addition to the fear and vulnerability that many individuals feel when faced with homeless people, there are also concerns surrounding the risk of fire. Many homeless people light fires on pavements, posing a risk to themselves and buildings in the area. This poses a risk to businesses and lives as a fire set next to certain buildings could quickly become catastrophic.

Moreover, the general state of poor hygiene of these homeless people can have a significant impact on public health. Poor hygiene can lead to the spread of infectious diseases and parasitic infestations. It is therefore, essential to provide adequate access to sanitation facilities, such as toilets and clean water for homeless individuals.

This will not only protect public health but also provide a sense of dignity and self-respect for the homeless population.

The rise of homelessness is a significant global issue that needs to be addressed urgently. It is essential to create a solution-focused approach that addresses the basic needs of the homeless population and protects the public.

Providing shelter and support combined with a strict rules and regulations system will go a long way in addressing the issue while protecting everyone in the community.

Another key aspect of tackling homelessness is addressing the root causes that lead to individuals becoming homeless in the first place. This includes addressing issues such as mental illness, addiction, job opportunities, domestic violence, and more. Solutions to the above are crucial in tackling homelessness, especially of young people.

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