A homeless woman lay slumped at a table in MacDonald’s for hours before anyone noticed that she had died. The incident took place this week at a MacDonald’s in Hong Kong. CCTV footage showed that the woman had not moved for seven hours before other diners realised that something was very wrong.
The woman has been held up as an example of Hong Kong’s McRefugees: people who are homeless and so regularly spend the night in MacDonald’s restaurants that are open 24 hours. The restaurant is a safe environment, a place to get through a long night rather than try to sleep on the streets.
The story echoes the plight of homeless young people in London who are unable to find a bed in an emergency hostel. As a last resort, it’s reported that New Horizon Youth Centre distributes bus tickets and information about bus routes, encouraging young people to spend the night on the buses that traverse the capital. With the lack of affordable accommodation, spiralling rents and cuts in the number of hostel beds, it’s safer riding buses than spending the night sleeping rough.
England’s exit from the Rugby World Cup is sad for many reasons, above all perhaps for the premature evaporation of that sense of community spirit that many of us have enjoyed whilst watching a match. The World in Union; the World as One? Here’s hoping that we will translate that spirit into a legacy of care across our communities, especially for those most in need.
Revd Canon Nikki Arthy, Rector of Gloucester City and Hempsted and Residentiary Canon at Gloucester Cathedral