Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Homeless: Number of Rough Sleepers Soars.

with 14 comments

It is, as many have stated, including this Blog, impossible to ignore that more and more people are homeless.

Homeless people with backpacks, small groups on the streets at night, being asked for money in the centre of town, it is hardly a secret that the number of those without a stable roof or income has been growing over the last years.

Today these reports have appeared.

Homelessness: Number of rough sleepers in England rises at ‘unprecedented’ rate.

The Independent reports today,

The number of people sleeping rough on England’s streets increased at an “unprecedented” rate last year, official figures show, as charities warned that the impact of welfare cuts and a chronic housing shortage are now taking their toll on the country’s most vulnerable.

Official counts and estimates from councils across England placed the number of rough sleepers on any given night in autumn 2015 at 3,569, according to a Government report.

The figure represents a 30 per cent increase since the same count last year, the biggest annual rise since the current reporting methods were introduced six years ago.

The Mirror says on the same story,

A separate study by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) claimed there were actually 7,581 rough sleepers in London alone.

CHAIN counted everyone seen sleeping rough on the capital’s streets at least once during April 2014 to March 2015.

They said that while 3,212 of the rough sleepers they saw were British, 1,388 were Romanian and 639 were from Poland.

CHAIN said 14% of rough sleepers were women and nine per cent were aged over 55.

Some 41% – nearly half – had problems with alcohol.

Now these are people out in the streets.

The numbers of people ‘sofa hopping’, living in temporary accommodation, or, in other words, without a real home, is much much larger.

In the restrictive terms of the Government’s own  homeless duty (that is when they have to do something about providing shelter for families)  these are the most recent figures:

Households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty.
 In England between 1 July and 30 September 2015, local authorities accepted 14,670 households, up 4 per cent compared to the same quarter last year and up 6 per cent from the figure of 13,840 in the previous quarter.
In London, the number of households accepted was 4,700. This is an increase of 5 per cent from 4,460 during the same quarter a year earlier and accounts for 32 per cent of the England total. The number of acceptances in the rest of England in creased 4 per cent from 9,580 in July to September 2014 to 9,970 in July to September 2015.

This is a key point:

How have welfare reforms had an impact on homelessness?

Cuts to most benefit payments have hit incomes, but the main factor here is the decision to hold down the rate at which housing benefits increase at just one per cent a year since 2013. During this time, rents have continued to rise at a much higher rate. Housing benefits are now set to be frozen for four years. The Crisis charity says that the loss of a private tenancy is now the biggest cause of homelessness and has just completed a survey of 800 landlords which found that more than half are no longer willing to let to people on housing benefit.

The Guardian makes these points:

The report notes that many specialist homelessness mental health teams have shrunk or been closed as a result of funding cuts. Major cuts to subsequent homelessness prevention projects began in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and on average, local authority funding for services for helping vulnerable people avoid homelessness was cut by 45% between 2009-10 and 2014-15, according to the St Mungo’s report, Stop the Scandal.

Howard Sinclair, chief executive of St Mungo’s, said he was concerned by “both the shocking, unprecedented rise in people who are sleeping rough, and evidence that more of this group are struggling with poor mental health”. “Few would disagree that it’s nothing short of a scandal that people with mental health problems are sleeping rough. Not only that, but this incredibly vulnerable group are more likely to remain in dangerous and unhealthy situations for longer,” he said.

The figures come as little surprise to many working in the sector, who have noted a visible rise in the number of tents in parks and people in sleeping bags outside theatres and shops in central London and other big cities. But they mark a dramatic reversal of much of the progress made in the first decade of the century towards eliminating rough sleeping entirely.

We would add that DWP demands on the out-of-work, the way getting JSA is dependent on fulfilling a 35 hour week ‘Job search’, not to mention all the bogus ‘schemes’ for the unemployed may make ‘providers’ wealthy, but they are the last thing needed for anybody, let alone those in the kind of crisis being homeless puts people in.

Sanctions least of all.

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Written by Andrew Coates

February 26, 2016 at 4:38 pm

14 Responses

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  1. Chancellor George Osborne has warned he may have to make fresh cuts to public spending in next month’s Budget.

    Mr Osborne told the BBC global economic turmoil and slower growth meant “we may need to undertake further reductions”.

    He would not spell out the details of any further cuts, but said the Conservatives would stick to their manifesto pledge to protect some government departments.

    Explaining why he was planning to make further savings, the chancellor said the global economy had got “markedly worse”, the UK’s economy needed to be more productive, and information from the Office for National Statistics showed it was also smaller than expected.

    “If the bankers’ chancellor had been doing his job properly he would be collecting taxes from Google and other tax-dodgers.

    “Instead he is threatening the British people with paying an even higher price for his own failures.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35672158

    enigma

    February 27, 2016 at 12:55 am

  2. The Department for Work and Pensions sanctioned around 40,000 lone parents with pre-school aged children over the course of a year, new figures show.

    The statistics, which relate to people claiming Income Support, follow warnings by church groups last year that 100,000 children across Britain were going hungry after their parents faced sanctions.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/dwp-sanctioned-40000-parents-with-pre-school-aged-children-last-year-a6897611.html

    The government has been forced into retreat after agreeing that it should continue to report lack of money as a measure of child poverty.

    Ministers wanted to remove a statutory duty to publish levels of UK household income as part of the welfare reform and work bill but have now accepted, after a battle with the House of Lords, that the material deprivation measures should remain protected.

    The government suffered a defeat in the Lords in January after peers pushed through an amendment forcing the government to retain four established indicators, including income, which use official statistics to track and monitor relative and absolute poverty.

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/26/uk-government-forced-to-retain-household-income-as-measure-of-child-poverty

    enigma

    February 27, 2016 at 10:35 am

    • You would think logically that the Tories would prove their argument on sanctions are a last resort by issuing warning letters twice prior to a sanctions but the fact they don’t speaks volumes.

      For instance a work coach is by job criteria ordered under regulation to put forward to a decision maker any claimant that fails to hand in work search evidence while signing on. For a work coach to over ride this, they would have to seek permission from their respective line manager who themselves must also seek approval so their would be a chain of evidence right if indeed this was the case that sanctions were a last result.

      doug

      February 27, 2016 at 11:52 am

    • Sanctions should only be for the single unemployed. Useless waste of space that they are.

      A Disabled Voice

      February 27, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      • You absolute fucking cretin. Are you saying that sanctions should be reserved for non-disabled people and those without children? Why should that be, exactly? So you demand equality and fair treatment for disabled people, but don’t mind those fortunate enough not to have a disability being treated badly? Not really equality that, is it? Sanctions should be abolished completely, and if you think otherwise then you are part of the problem. Saying that sanctions should only be for some people is almost worse than saying they should be for everyone. You’re a Tories’ wet dream, this is exactly the sort of divide and rule politics that they love. We (and I think I can speak for most people commenting here on a regular basis) are not interested in this shit. We want rights for all unemployed, whether you be disabled, homeless, whatever. so take your comment and shove it sideways.

        KJ

        February 27, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      • I wouldn’t pay any attention Kj, trolls like this always pop up then mysteriously disappear as soon as their challenged on the balance of evidence.

        Your absolutely right KJ in your equality and fairness point regarding this posters choice of sentence construct and attempted philosophical argument but as you can see when you talk crap, you only produce crap and thus making this supposed claimed disability voice nothing more than a case in point.

        But hey in the interests of freedom of expression and all im sure they feel satisfied now they’ve stuck it to the unemployed, well until they come back anyway if at all they do.

        doug

        February 27, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      • Another interesting point KJ is if you often visit here, one minute you get a single healthy individual picking on the disabled while at another moment like today you get the opposite.

        Its a deliberate ploy to attempt to cause a split as we all know we are stronger together than we are apart and apart is precisely what they want.

        Weve all seen so called disabled people dancing at parties or playing sports as much as we have seen perfectly healthy unemployed people have a secret working life meaning sanctions are highly likely to be going anywhere any time soon.

        PETTY PROPAGANDA and most of all their whoever they are not very good at it.

        doug

        February 27, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      • Yes, as in the news article below.

        enigma

        February 28, 2016 at 11:01 am

  3. Number of private rented homes available to Hackney’s benefit claimants: 1

    http://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/number_of_private_rented_homes_available_to_hackney_s_benefit_claimants_1_1_4433745

    As we can see and you can test this out in your area, that landlords don’t want to rent to any low earners let alone the unemployed. Ive asked quite a few in my area,promised them no naming but all said their concern for government cuts to welfare both out of and in work benefits lead them to their decisions. One put it very well, “man cannot leave on arrears alone”.

    My area that has one of the lowest unemployed rates currently has seen a 3 fold increase of people sleeping rough. Its getting so bad, their spilling out into the outskirts of town. I have to noticed an increase in women on the street which while still grossly overshadowed by men, i note most are in their twenties.

    What i found odd was when speaking to them, most developed addictions after becoming homeless with alcohol being on the number one slot. When asked why this i was told it numbs the cold nights and consistent pain induced by rowdy audits drunk on a night out meaning if feel some of the working class not content with labeling them as skivers now seek to make them pay further while the police by far and large sit idle and allow it to happen. Why they do i couldn’t say as i fear they would take it the wrong way and pick on me so i dare not ask.

    doug

    February 27, 2016 at 11:26 am

  4. Welfare cuts helping taxpayers or merely creating the grounds for an increase in capacity ?

    We have already seen housing benefit claims rise despite more people than ever in work so with the advent of UC, working tax and child tax credit should increase proportionally yes ?

    Ever heard of the butterfly effect ?

    The free market model of sweatshops in places of great poverty has ensured its workers get a bowl of rice a day (analogy). This means if you wanted the trade to come back home, the people of that home would have to work for half a bowl a day so as to create an incentive for a business to do so.

    Free market capitalism claims its model is a win win (ie vendor and consumer) but the truth is like an ice cube in a glass of water, while the cube will eventually melt, the mass remains the same. It is completely impossible for everyone to win proving the fundamental of for every winner their must be a loser is the truth.
    So while the vendor and consumer do indeed win, im afraid only at the cost of the employee.

    You would only have to contain the product to the country that made it to prove that point or easier still acknowledge why the trade left one country for another in the first place.

    doug

    February 27, 2016 at 12:14 pm

  5. OT: Analysis of Trump & Why he’s Successful with the Tea Party Mob – How long for the ConCons to jump onto Bandwagon?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-zogby/trump-feeding-the-monster_b_9333212.html?utm_hp_ref=elections-2016

    I’ll list the points:

    candidacy – content is contradictory, outright lies in cases, the performance is all they care about
    performance art to and for the mob
    growing a monster [his angry supporters],
    danger is unable to control its anger
    “Trying, as some attempted, to find the hidden logic in his bizarre mish-mash of words is, at best, a fool’s errand.”
    Tea Party Mob [read UKIP] a creation of the Republican party
    “The quotes from 2014 Forbes Magazine article on Vince McMahon, the billionaire wrestling promoter” [ says it all]
    “He is the crude reality TV entertainer, turned leader–without politics, just anger.”

    Could this type of Candidacy/Poltics happen here in the UK? I think yes.

    Gazza

    February 27, 2016 at 3:12 pm

  6. More than 85% of fraud allegations made by the public over the last five years were false, according to figures obtained by the Observer.

    A freedom of information request to the Department for Work and Pensions discloses that between 2010 and 2015 the government closed 1,041,219 alleged cases of benefit fraud put forward by the public. Insufficient or no evidence of fraud was discovered in 887,468 of these. In 2015 alone, of the 153,038 cases closed by the DWP’s Fraud and Error Service, 132,772 led to no action.

    This McCarthy-style reporting of benefit fraud is another example of the government’s desire to turn people against the welfare state and to treat sick and disabled people as second-class citizens.”

    Owen Smith, shadow work and pensions secretary, spoke of “the poisonous way the Tories have continually talked down our social security system”. He said: “Where there are abuses of the system they should be dealt with swiftly. However, the government’s constant attempts to paint honest people – like low-paid workers relying on tax credits and universal credit – as ‘skivers’ is creating a hostile and accusatory environment.

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/27/false-benefit-fraud-allegations

    enigma

    February 28, 2016 at 10:26 am

    • Excellent report thanks Enigma.

      Andrew Coates

      February 28, 2016 at 11:20 am


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