Gaming Editor Louis Wright reports on the homelessness statue hosted in the Bullring
A statue of a homeless person was erected outside of St. Martin’s in Birmingham city centre. 4.3 metres in height and with a realistic face made from analysing the features of 17 people suffering from homelessness in the UK, the statue, called Alex, was sculpted by prosthetics expert Sophie de Oliveira Barata.
Appearing overnight on the 8th of December and remaining outside of the church until the 11th of December, the statue was commissioned by the homelessness charity Crisis in order to bring awareness to those suffering during the winter months.
According to homelessness support group Shelter, within Birmingham 1 in 96 are homeless, contributing to the 274,000 across the country who are considered homeless. Moreover, as shown in Government data, within Quarter 2 of 2022 (April to May), 33,570 households were deemed at risk of homelessness creating a likelihood of further increased homelessness rates within the coming year. This is from an existing increase of 32% in homelessness from 2020, taken from the Homelessness Monitor 2022.
According to an anonymous Birmingham resident the statue “forces us to see the homelessness in our city in a way we can’t ignore”. This sentiment appears to be the general consensus from the majority of local residents, with many others interviewed sharing similar thoughts.
Alex was initially installed outside of King’s Cross Station in London before being moved to Birmingham. Crisis have not issued any statements on where the statue may appear next, although likely candidate cities are Luton, who have the highest homelessness rates outside of London, and Manchester, another major city alongside London and Birmingham.
While where the statue may end up next is up to debate, its effectiveness in raising awareness is not. With the statue being surrounded by QR codes linking to Crisis’ website and donation pages, as well as being impossible to ignore by design. Crisis has seen a spike in Google search trends showing the effectiveness of the statue in directing local people to the organisation.
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