Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘Homelessness

Homeless Rise not due to Welfare Cuts or Tory Government – George Osborne and James Brokenshire

with 115 comments

Image result for homless doorway

Everybody knows about the rise in the numbers of the homeless.

You only have to walk a  couple of minutes from Ipswich Central Library to come across at least one person living on the streets.

|It’s not as if they are just sitting there.

If you gave money to every rough sleeper who asked you for some you’d be broke in a day.

Each town and city in the country is full of people living in doorways – and that’s just those you see.

There’s this, which does great work round here:

I imagine the emergency Christmas shelters also  give some people a place, but they don’t seem to have much visible effect here.

Could these people possibly get help through Universal Credit, the only kind of welfare payment (which includes local housing benefit)  going these days?

You’re having a laugh!

It is deeply distressing.

To say the least.

So, it’s no surprise that there’s some kind of Christmas pass the poisoned parcel when it comes to accounting for this:

Nearly 600 homeless people died last year in England and Wales, other official figures showed this week, a 24 per cent increase over the past five years.

There is Mr Austerity.

He’s just left some Seasons Greetings:

George Osborne has denied that “a lack of money” following his harsh austerity programme was the cause of Britain’s homelessness crisis.

reports the Independent.

The former Conservative chancellor dismissed growing warnings that the severe spending cuts he introduced were behind the explosion in rough sleeping, saying: “No, I entirely reject that.”

“It’s not a lack of money. That’s not a consequence of austerity – that’s just a consequence of bad policy,” Mr Osborne insisted.

The denial came despite the revelation that child homelessness is at a 12-year high, with 123,600 minors in temporary accommodation in England – a 70 per cent rise since the Conservatives came into power.

A few days ago it was this chap (no I hadn’t heard his name before either).

James Brokenshire blames factors such as family breakdown and drug use

Rising rough sleeping in Britain is not the result of government policy but is being driven by factors including the spread of psychoactive drugs such as spice, growth in non-UK nationals on the streets and family breakdown, the housing secretary, James Brokenshire, has claimed.

The number of people sleeping rough has more than doubled since 2010 to 4,751 according to the government’s own figures. The homelessness charity Crisis believes that this is a fivefold underestimate and that 24,000 people will be sleep on the streets, in cars and in tents. Sofa-surfers make up a further 68,000, according to Crisis.

ut Brokenshire insisted the growing problem is not a political failure, even though charities which run hostels and advice lines believe that caps on housing benefit and welfare sanctions introduced as part of austerity policies have been key factors driving rises in homelessness every year since the Conservatives took office in 2010.

“I don’t see it in those terms,” Brokenshire said. “I see it as a combination of concerning elements in terms of addiction, family breakdown issues. The thing that struck me over recent months in speaking to some of the LGBT charities in terms of young people, because of their sexuality, being thrown out of home.”

Well you Tories can piss off !

re.

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

December 22, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Sanctions and Homelessness: Universal Credit in Action.

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Image result for homelessness and sanctions

The Threat Looming Over Universal Credit Claimants.

As the juggernaut of Universal Credit continues, and millions are caught up under its wheels, it’s sometimes best to illustrate its effects through individual cases:

This is one:

“I was sanctioned after missing a Universal Credit appointment due to seizures. The DWP should help job-seekers like me, not penalise them.”

By Luke O’Donnell in today’s ‘I’.

They said Universal Credit would make things more simple. Having fallen foul of the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) trigger-happy use of sanctions, I can say that this is not the case. I have epilepsy and missed a Job Centre appointment in November after having seizures.

I missed a second meeting in January after being in a status epilepticus, which left me in a hospital bed, connected to a drip. While I had evidence for this, I could not provide anything to prove why I missed my previous appointment. The DWP stated I had “failed without good reason to comply with a work-related requirement to attend a work-focused interview”. I was sanctioned for three of my four weeks’ benefits.

Sanctions demotivated me This showed me there was no common sense or discretion being applied by the DWP. In bundling all benefits into one system they appear to have lost the ability to use reasoning or any sense of fair play.

O’Donnel continues:

Their sanctions only served to demotivate me further than my health had already. Quite the opposite of the intended effect. It just augmented my worries about finding an employer who’d take my health seriously because if a Government agency doesn’t consider it worth taking into account, what would employers think when they find out about my brain damage?

My case was so outrageous that when I tweeted the letter upholding my sanctions after I’d navigated the DWP’s arbitrary “mandatory reconsideration” process, it quickly gathered momentum on social media and was picked up by i and BBC News. As a result of the widespread negative attention the DWP’s flagship new benefit service received, my case was given a “second reconsideration”. My benefits were hastily reinstated and I heard no more. I was lucky. But I still wanted the DWP to acknowledge it was aware of the effects Universal Credit was having on people. I got in contact with Esther McVey, Minister for Work and Pensions, but received no response. So I tried again, to no avail.

My case is just a drop in the ocean. A simple search on Twitter will reveal thousands of people with disabilities and serious health conditions are being penalised instead of helped. I personally believe there is now a culture of “sanction by default, for as much as possible” within the DWP. We are being treated as though we’ve done something wrong because of the effect our health has on our ability to work. What use is a social security system that works against those very people it was initially set up to help?

Background: 

DWP says sanction review of epileptic man who missed benefits appointment was due to press coverage Luke O’Donnell said it was ‘satisfying’ to read a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Serina Sandhu Wednesday August the 8th.

In March, i reported that Luke O’Donnell, who has epilepsy, was penalised after missing a work-related appointment for Job Seeker’s Allowance because he could not prove his seizures had prevented him from attending. At the time, the 24-year-old said the system was “cold-hearted”.

The story was widely shared and less than two weeks later, the Universal Credit department at the DWP informed him his sanctions would be reversed, saying “not enough consideration was placed on Mr O’Donnell’s health following three days of epileptic episodes”.

Even though his case was resolved and benefits fully reinstated, Mr O’Donnell wrote to Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey in June because he wanted acknowledgement that she was aware of the effects Universal Credit was having on claimants. “I wanted to see what she had to say. How does she justify these problems she’s causing people?”

A response from her office read: “The Department for Work and Pensions are committed to ensuring people with disabilities and health conditions get the right support they need, and we are sorry that we have not met this standard during a period of time when you were in ill health.” But it was also confirmed that the move to review Mr O’Donnell’s case was triggered by the press coverage. The decision to revoke the sanctions, however, was a result of a “full review of all evidence and information.”

It’s good that Luke O’Donnell found a way out of his problems.

But sanctions can have even more devastating effects.

The system cannot deal with the most “difficult” cases.

Welfare conditionality, benefit sanctions and homelessness in the UK: ending the ‘something for nothing culture’ or punishing the poor?

We have here a ‘multiple-miscreant’ population (homeless, unemployed, poor, many dependent on drugs or alcohol) but a policy (benefit sanctions) virtually impossible for them to comply with. It is, therefore, difficult to see how any moral rectification can flow from such a policy. It can, however, discipline or punish. Rather than producing a compliant working class, then, it pushes people out of the very system (social security) initially designed to protect them

The impact of Universal Credit and sanctions can be seen in this area, the news story that’s hit the headlines today.

Rough sleeping: £100m government plan to tackle homelessness unveiled

The Guardian  publishes this commentary:

Homelessness is caused by policies: decisions on how many houses to build, and in which price range. Universal credit, sanctions, the child benefit cap – these are political decisions that have contributed to people being unable to afford their rent. Up to a third of universal credit claimants are having their payments deducted because they are in rent or council tax arrears. The government is acting like its own incompetent opposition, decrying a situation of its own making, offering solutions that are nowhere near the source of the crisis.

Homelessness is back on the Tories’ agenda, yet it’s they who made this crisis worse

Written by Andrew Coates

August 14, 2018 at 11:28 am

Homeless Levels to Double.

with 49 comments

The camp set up on Ipswich Waterfront by a group of rough sleepers. Pictures taken by Gregg Brown in January 2017.

Rough Sleeper Camp in Ipswich (January 2017). 

Enigma is the latest of our contributors to point out that this is a growing issue.

The Mirror.

Twice as many people are sleeping rough in Tory Britain as we thought, alarming new study reveals

Analysis by Heriot-Watt University found 9,100 people are currently sleeping on the streets across Britain – the previous estimate was 4,100

 

In January this was published,  Rough sleeping rockets across Suffolk: “It’s a sign that a lot of people are struggling”

 

Welfare Weekly reports,

The number of people forced into homelessness is expected to more than double to half a million by 2041 unless the government takes immediate action, a homelessness charity has warned.

Analysis by Heriot-Watt University for Crisis has found that the number of homeless people in Britain will reach 575,000, up from 236,000 in 2016. The number of people sleeping rough will more than quadruple from 9,100 in 2016 to 40,100 over the same period, the research found.

The forecast, released to mark the 50th anniversary of Crisis, comes as the number of homeless households has jumped by a third in the past five years. The majority of those affected are “sofa surfers”, with 68,300 people sleeping on other people’s couches.

The biggest rise will be for those placed by a council in unsuitable accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts, with the total expected to rise from 19,300 to 117,500.

Crisis has urged the government to build more affordable housing and launch a concerted effort to tackle rough sleeping.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “With the right support at the right time, it doesn’t need to be inevitable … Together we can find the answers and make sure those in power listen to them.”

Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, said that homelessness had become the bulk of her workload. “The government needs to wake up … The system is broken. Without more social housing, a flood of good temporary accommodation and investment in homelessness support the problem will get worse.”

This will help increase the numbers of homeless as well:

The Tory government has quietly axed a free benefit claimed by 124,000 people – here’s how it could hit you.   Mirror. 

The government will be transferring existing claimants onto the new loan system from 5 April 2018.

There will be a transition period where some people can continue claiming SMI as a free benefit for a while.

But this is simply to stop people falling through the cracks if there are “delays” to moving them onto the new scheme.

Outsourcing giant Serco is taking responsibility for telling people about the new system in the coming months through letters and a phone call.

….

A spokesman for welfare rights charity Turn2us added: “Support for Mortgage Interest has been an important source of help for those with a mortgage who have had an income shock.

“It has helped many stay in their homes.

“The increase in the waiting period to 39 weeks has already affected that.

“Now, turning Support for Mortgage Interest from a benefit into a loan adds to the pressure on homeowners who are already struggling.”

Can I take the time to flag up this article by one of the best activists in Britain, 

The first sentence is relevant to the above, “Outsourcing giant Serco”

Outsourcing is killing local democracy in Britain. Here’s how we can stop that

Residents at Grenfell Tower describe how, as the local council outsourced contracts to private companies to work on their estate, essential elements of local democracy became unavailable to them. Their voices weren’t heard, information they requested wasn’t granted, outcomes they were promised did not transpire, complaints they made were not answered. The outcome at Grenfell was unique in its scale but the background is a common enough story. Wherever regeneration of social housing has been outsourced to private developers, responsiveness, transparency, oversight and scrutiny – key elements of healthy democracy – are lessened for those most directly affected.

Outsourcing of public services began in the 1980s, a central feature of the drive to roll back what neoliberalism casts as a bureaucratic, inefficient state. Its proponents claimed the involvement of private providers would increase cost-savings and efficiency, and improve responsiveness to the “consumers” of public services. Thirty years later, the value of these contracts is enormous – more than £120bn worth of government business was awarded to private companies between 2011 and 2016, and their number is increasing rapidly. At least 30% of all public outsourcing contracts are with local authorities.

 

In Ipswich the Labour Borough Council does not outsource. – sadly this is not the case for many Labour authorities.

 

Cuts mean it’s hard to deal with problems like homelessness.

But the gang of Tories from the backwoods and chocolate box villages who run Suffolk County Council have hived off everything they possibly can and helped make things that but worse.

Result?

Read Pilgrim’s article.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 11, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Rising homelessness.

with 261 comments

Image result for homeless

This sticks in the craw.

Families and disabled people ‘hit worse by rising homelessness’ Welfare Weekly.

Theresa May’s claim to lead a government that protects the most vulnerable is undermined by figures showing that families and disabled people have been disproportionately hit by increasing homelessness, Labour has said.

John Healey, the shadow housing minister, said on Friday that while homelessness generally had gone up 41% since 2010, people who might expect extra care from the government were doing even worse.

 Healey based his claim on figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government showing that from 2010 to 2016 the overall number of households accepted as being homeless by local authorities in England went up from 42,390 to almost 60,000.

But the increase was disproportionately high for homeless households classed as vulnerable through mental illness, where homelessness went up 53%, and for those classed as vulnerable through physical disability, where it rose 49%.

And there was a particularly sharp increase in the number of homeless households with vulnerable children, up from 25,350 in 2010 to 41,010 – a rise of 62%.

Healey said the figures undermined the claim in the Conservative party 2015 manifesto that “we measure our success not just in how we show our strength abroad but in how we care for the weakest and most vulnerable at home”.

He added: “It’s a scandal that after six years of failure on housing, falling homelessness under Labour has turned into rising homelessness under the Tories.

“Since 2010, homelessness has risen dramatically on all fronts with almost 60,000 households becoming homeless last year. These figures show that some vulnerable groups have been particularly hard hit.

“Ministers urgently need to get a grip, back Labour’s plans to end rough sleeping and build thousands more affordable homes.”

Labour wants to revive the rough sleepers initiative, which it says was successful at tackling rough sleeping in the 1990s.

A spokesman for the communities department said the government was committed to supporting the most vulnerable.

“That’s why we’re investing over £550m to tackle and reduce homelessness, on top of supporting Bob Blackman’s homelessness reduction bill to prevent more people from becoming homeless in the first place,” he said.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 24, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Posted in Cuts, Damian Green, DWP, Food Banks

Tagged with ,

Rise in Homeless Numbers set to Accelerate with Benefit Cuts.

with 71 comments

 

Image result for homeless in ipswich

A Common Sight these Days.

The number of people sleeping rough is at a five year high – so how big is Ipswich’s homelessness problem? Ipswich Star (end of November).

The number of people sleeping rough in Ipswich has hit its highest level for at least five years.

Latest figures show there were 16 people regularly living on the streets, compared to just five in 2013.

And 19 vulnerable people with housing issues are believed to have died in the town in just 16 months.

We were saddened but not surprised to learn that,

Many of these 19 deaths were down to mental health concerns, or drug and alcohol issues, Miss Raychaudri said, but changes to the benefits system have also pushed people in Ipswich into crisis.

Note this for those who have difficulties:

In a bid to curb the growing problem, more than 40 agencies came to together four years ago to form the Ipswich Locality Homelessness Partnership. The aim is to work side by side to rid the town of rough sleeping and to prevent vulnerable people from losing their homes.

At the heart of this partnership is the Chapman Centre, based in Black Horse Lane.

I suspect, since I see people in the streets every day, that the figures in Ipswich the 16 people regularly sleeping rough, are the tip of a homeless iceberg, with much much greater numbers in shelters,  temporary accommodation, shifting from friend’s place to friend’s place,

London’s homelessness count continues to rise said the Guardian earlier this month.

However you cut the numbers, the capital’s struggle to house its vulnerable people is getting harder

London dominates estimates of national homelessness newly published by Shelter. This, of course, is no surprise. Neither are high levels of homelessness anything new in the capital. In his book London: The Heartless City, published in 1977, David Wilcox reported that “by the end of 1976, 15,000 families were recognised as homeless”. And that was 10 years after Cathy Come Home.

Has anything improved? Shelter calculates that 170,000 people are homeless in London today. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has told the Guardian it does not recognise Shelter’s figures and provided one of 52,820 homeless households in temporary accommodation in London as of the 30 June. However, as households frequently comprise more than one person and Shelter’s figures are mostly drawn from the DCLG’s own data on temporary accommodation and rough sleeping, the difference between the two might not be so great.

Now we have this: 

Thousands of families teetering on brink of homelessness this Christmas after benefit changes, reports the Mirror.

Labour MPs and town hall leaders say the savage Tory government cut will leave vulnerable families at breaking point just as they are most stretched.

Thousands of Britain’s poorest families could be left on the brink of homelessness this Christmas due to a ‘disgraceful’ new benefit cap.

Labour MPs and town hall leaders say the savage Tory government cut – introduced today – will leave vulnerable families at breaking point just as they are most stretched.

Under the new rules, the maximum benefits that can be claimed by couples and lone parents is set to drop by £6,000.
The article goes on to explain,
 While some will struggle this Christmas, the full impact is not expect to hit until the New Year. The cap will also hit affect full and part-time carers.It covers most benefits, including Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Jobseekers’ Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit.

The new rate will be £20,000 a year – £384.62 a week – for couples and families outside London, down from £26,000. Some families will lose up to £115 a week.

Department for Work and Pensions bosses say the measure will stop families getting huge payouts without working, but campaigners have dubbed it a ‘cruel’ attack on vulnerable people.

It is a cruel system that needs getting rid of, now!

Written by Andrew Coates

December 14, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Homeless Rise Linked to Benefit Changes.

with 82 comments

The Human Face of Austerity.

Government austerity to blame for 30% rise in homelessness, says parliamentary committee,

Reports the Independent.

MPs warn that the number of homeless people is rising because most housing benefit claimants have to pay rent out of their state payments, rather than it being straight to their landlords

The Government’s welfare reforms are driving up homelessness, according to MPs who conducted the first inquiry into the scale of the problem for 10 years.

In a report, the Communities and Local Government Select Committee found that official figures underestimate the risen in homelessness and demanded urgent action to tackle it. The estimated number of rough sleepers in England rose by 30 per cent to 3,569 between 2014 and last autumn – a quarter of them in London.

This will come as no surprise to anybody with eyes.

Walk around Ipswich and you can see the numbers of people begging in the streets: it is striking.

In London you can see people sleeping rough, right up such Tourist centres as Trafalgar Square, and by the West End theatres in Cambridge Circus – not coincidentally next to the site of one of Victorian London’s worst ‘rookeries’, that is, slums.

The MPs warned that the number of homeless people is rising because most housing benefit claimants have to pay rent out of their state payments. They said all claimants should have the option of their rent  being paid directly to landlords to reduce their chance of getting into arrears and to encourage landlords to rent to tenants at risk of becoming homeless. Many 18 to 21 year-olds are “at significant risk” of homelessness, and the MPs proposed that those losing their job should have a “grace period” of one or two months before losing the housing element of Universal Credit.

Calling for greater financial incentives to work, they said: “It cannot be right that someone must choose between the support they need and employment.”

The committee concluded: “The impact of the welfare reforms of recent years has increased pressure on levels of homelessness.” It added that  the annual cap on benefit payments to one family – £20,000 and £23,000 in London – could worsen the  problem.

The MPs called for women, single people and those with mental health problems to be given extra help. They heard evidence that women were driven into prostitution to avoid sleeping on the streets and said  victims of domestic violence were particularly at risk of becoming homeless.

The committee took the unusual step of endorsing a Private Member’s Bill to be debated in the Commons in October which would give councils new duties to prevent homelessness and help homeless people.

This was also entirely predictable, given the mean-spirited intention behind the ‘reform’.

In a separate report, the Tory modernisers’ think tank Policy Exchange said jobless people aged 25 and under are more likely to have their benefits stopped or reduced for not doing enough to find work than any other age group. It found that young adults account for more than a third of benefit sanctions but account for less than a fifth of claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance. Of the 101,640 young people claiming it last November, 5,812 received a sanction.

Policy Exchange called for a shake-up of benefits and support for 16 to 25 year-olds, including the creation of youth employment centres.

Homeless too often given ‘meaningless advice’ by councils – MPs.

Reports the BBC.

Homeless people are too often given meaningless and ineffectual advice by councils in England, MPs have said.

A Communities and Local Government Select Committee report found homeless people are too often “badly treated” by councils, saying they should have a legal duty to give meaningful support.

Homelessness is increasing and a new government plan is required, MPs added.

However, councils said they needed more money and powers, saying they “cannot tackle this challenge alone”.

The report urged the government to support the Homelessness Reduction Bill – proposed by the Conservative MP Bob Blackman in June – to impose tougher conditions on councils and force them to offer emergency accommodation for up to two months.

Official figures published by the government show that local authorities approved 14,780 households’ applications for homelessness assistance between 1 January and 30 March 2016.

This was up 9% on the same quarter in 2015.

However, the report warned that the statistics did not capture the full scale of homelessness, for example many “hidden homeless” who may be staying with friends or not have sought help.

If they had any decency they would listen to people like Doug, commenting on this Blog.

2 months emergency housing, how did they come up with that exactly as what do they feel will happen after. Are these homeless people going to magically find a property to rent in that 2 months that they couldn’t find before. Do government or even the public believe that the homeless have never looked and tried to secure a property.

And what about DWP and conditionality on the homeless, their expected to look for work or face being sanctioned which is counter intuitive when you consider besides the big issue, no employer will hire a homeless person. DWP know this only to well unless they want to assert every single DWP worker right up to the appointed minister are complete and utter idiots ill placed in the position they are in.

We only have to look at the way UC was developed to sanction housing benefit to know tory government intent and how when even applying for unemployment benefit, your instantly faced with a screen demanding i quote, ” an address you reside at”, which if you haven’t one, you can’t proceed with the claim and its been this way since it was first released and has been mentioned numerous time to DWP not that really it isn’t glaringly obvious from the get go. For the record they don’t even confront homelessness till further into the application and if that wasn’t bad enough, later on it asks for a phone number and again wont allow the person to proceed with the application for benefits if they don’t own a phone and this one gets me, DWP staff have absolutely no answer to it and at best could only if they did and I’m not saying they do, incite the person to add a fraudulently number and then ring DWP to give a change of details.

Now according to the dictionary vulnerable means – exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally yet DWP and local council have their own definition and this has been going on for at least a decade, that somehow, if you’re a certain age and of a certain health that your be perfectly ok living on the streets. DWP even expanded this to instruct public service staff NOT to treat people with certain mental illnesses like schizophrenia for example as VULNERABLE.

I’ve witnessed up and down the country, many a homeless person deliberately breaking the law just so they can get a temporary roof over their head and food in the mouth, especially in the depths of winter around Christmas. The amount of mentally ill prisoners is also quite alarming.

Now i and others have said from day one of these welfare reforms that their would be a knock on as people simply don’t lie down and die and will lead to an increase in costs towards the NHS and law enforcement and criminal retention so oh what a surprize certain ministers are now using it to justify change. Constantly others and i have demonstrated how being in prison despite the violence (statistically your odds of being attacked on the street are higher) is easier than being under conditionality, where a murder, a rapist, even a terrorist gets food and a bed no matter the horrible details of their crime yet raise your voice at a DWP staff member, not fulfil your conditions by a mm and WHAM, all monies are suspended.

A week in prison costs the taxpayer £538 a week, a massive 7 times more than the £74 a person gets claiming unemployment. Malnutrition and the illnesses it causes aren’t any cheaper and the recent revelation that a lot of homeless people develop addictions after going onto the streets and not before as previously believed. Add to that being regularly attacked by the public at night and you can easily imagine the financial burden placed on the NHS.

Oh for the record its not strictly 2 months housing, its actually UPTO meaning it could well mean a week or even possibly less, who knows at this juncture. What’s being prescribed is clearly manufactured by people who don’t understand the problems of being homeless in today’s UK as they actually believe by giving a person a house for 2 months (said on ann derbyshire) that magically they will find another, so we are now back where i started and that’s my whole point,

When you’re homeless all you ever do is get the run around only to end up where you started.

And they would also listen to Enigma:

35.When we asked Giles Peaker, Chair of the Housing Law Practitioners Association, what the future of homelessness would be if no action was taken, he was unequivocal:

Will it get worse? Yes. Will it get worse faster? Yes. That is already happening, and is just going to continue … One thing that could be done is to stop making it worse. That is the simple answer. There are some immediate triggers facing us … The roll-out of the reduced benefit cap is going to have a fairly dramatic effect across the country, whereas the first £26,000 one basically affected London. £23,000 and £20,000 outside of London is going to have a dramatic national effect, really taking large swathes of public sector tenancies out of affordability for families in that situation. If the rents continue to increase whilst there is the LHA freeze, without wishing to be overly melodramatic, we are heading towards a serious crisis.48

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmcomloc/40/4006.htm#_idTextAnchor018

Any person with a shred of decency who  listened to the Dougs and the Enigmas of this world would be boiling with anger.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 18, 2016 at 3:19 pm

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.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 26, 2016 at 4:38 pm