Homeless Growth Boosted by Dole Sanctions.
Jo the Street Urchin Has Returned to London.
One of the striking things about modern Britain is the growing number of people living on the streets.
You can see them every day in Ipswich.
According to friends parts of central London have seen an explosion in people with no permanent roof over their head.
A ‘friend’ mentions that on Saturday he saw people clearly in desperate need huddled in little groups on the pavements, from Charing Cross Road to Kings Cross. One very ill looking chap, clutching a huge blanket, was roving round Cambridge Circus in a very unhappy state.
He was only metres away from the St Gilles area, a great “rookery” of slum dwellings in Dicken’s times, where the poor and homeless gathered and where Jo the Street Sweeper found temporary sanctuary at Tom–All–Alone’s.
If anybody doubts Dicken’s genius and the depth of his outrage at homelessness they should read Bleak House and this letter from the same period,
THE EDITUR OF THE TIMES PAPER
Sur, — May we beg and beseech your proteckshion and power. We are Sur, as it may be, livin in a Wilderniss, so far as the rest of London knows anything of us, or as the rich and great people care about. We live in muck and filth. We aint got no priviz, no dust bins, no drains, no water-splies, and no drain or suer in the hole place. The Suer Company, in Greek St., Soho Square, all great, rich and powerfool men, take no notice watsomdever of our complaints. The Stenche of a Gully-hole is disgustin. We all of us suffer, and numbers are ill, and if the Colera comes Lord help us.
Something really bad is happening around those very streets, now.
In most places it’s the same story, it comes up simply when you mention it – though perhaps not in Iain Duncan Smith’s Chingford or in Cameron’s bijou Witney
Many more are in shelters and temporary accommodation.
In Ipswich many of them spend time in the public library.
So this report out today comes as no surprise.
The number of people on the brink of homelessness who have been helped by local councils has risen sharply over five years, says the charity Shelter.
Councils in England stepped in to help 205,100 households facing homelessness in the year to March, suggests Shelter’s analysis of government data.
In 2009-10, the figure was 140,900, indicating a rise of almost 46%, according to the charity.
The government said it had spent more than £1bn on homelessness since 2010.
But Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb called the research “truly devastating”.
The charity says its own helpline took 450,000 calls over the past year, and a quarter were from people threatened with losing their homes within a month.
The figure for the previous year was 408,927. So there were 47,773 more calls this year – a rise of 12%, says the charity.
Mr Robb said too many cases involved families with children “teetering on the brink of homelessness”.
He added the charity’s own figures suggested 100,000 children would be “waking up homeless and in unstable temporary accommodation on Christmas morning”.
“Sadly, the combination of our affordable housing shortage and cuts to welfare means that more and more parents are finding themselves struggling to keep a stable roof over their children’s heads,” said Mr Robb.
The charity says children in temporary accommodation can find it hard to cope at school.
One mother, Francesca, said her daughter became very tired because living in one room in a hostel meant she was disturbed by younger siblings at night.
“It was an incredibly difficult time for us,” she said.
“My daughter’s grades suffered because the baby would keep her up all night.
“It was also hard for her to keep her friendships going, because she couldn’t bring any of them over to play.”
A few days ago Welfare Weekly published this,
Benefit Sanctions Leaving Vulnerable People Hungry And Homeless.
The government’s controversial benefit sanctions regime is leaving vulnerable people hungry and at risk of homelessness, a leading charity has warned.
Research conducted by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University, on behalf of the homeless charity Crisis, warns that benefit sanctions are hitting vulnerable people hardest, with many pushed into poverty and destitution.
The resulting report draws on a survey of more than 1000 people from homeless hostels and day centres, as well as 42 in-depth interviews.
Researchers uncovered shocking stories of people being forced to sleep on the street and having to cope without food or heating.
Of those respondents to the survey who had been sanctioned over the last year:
- 21% reported becoming homeless as a result;
- 16% said they had been forced to sleep rough as a result;
- 77% had gone hungry or skipped meals;
- 75% said it negatively affected their mental health;
- 64% had gone without heating;
- 60% found it harder to look for work