Homelessness in England in the 21st Century
My OH and I have been out for a walk each day for the past few days and whilst this has largely been a very pleasant experience (separate blog post to follow), by the end of an hour of walking in the cold, I am ready to go home. Despite leaving our warm house each day having eaten lunch and wearing lots of layers, gloves, scarf and a hat, after about an hour I am starting to feel chilled, achy and a bit tired. Stepping back into the warmth and comfort of home is bliss as is the mug of soup or hot chocolate we have to heat us through. I cannot imagine how hard life must be for anyone who is lacking any one of those things – a home, heating, warm clothes or enough food, let alone anyone who is lacking all of them.
For all those people, I hope that 2015 brings good things into their lives.
Homelessness figures (from http://www.homelessness.org.uk)
According to the latest figures, collected in the autumn of 2013, 2,414 people are estimated to be sleeping rough on any one night.
From July – September 2014 there were 27,970 homeless applications made to councils across England. 50% were accepted. 50% were declined because they were ‘deemed intentionally homeless’ (8%), ‘not in priority need’ (18%) or ‘not homeless’ (24%).
So called ‘priority need’ extends to those who have dependent children, have a pregnant household member, who are vulnerable for example through age or illness or who become homeless in an emergency such as a fire.
Single healthy adults are unlikely to make successful homeless applications and according to Crisis, 62% of single homeless people are hidden and may not show up in official figures.
Nearly 500,000 people homeless in England in the 21st century
Note that the number of applications above are the number of household applications. 111,960 people approached their council as homeless in 2013, with an additional estimated 380,000 so-called hidden homeless in hostels, squats, staying with friends or family. That’s nearly 500,000 people who are homeless in England in the 21st century (http://www.channel4.com/news/homelessness-crisis-young-people-britain-benefit-cuts).
How well would you sleep on the streets tonight?
What can you do to help?
If you see someone sleeping rough, you can contact StreetLink (http://www.streetlink.org.uk/), an England-wide phone-line, website and mobile app which enables the public to alert Local Authorities about people sleeping rough in their area.
For other ideas such as volunteering see here: http://www.streetlink.org.uk/other-ways-to-help
Or consider donating to a homeless charity such as Crisis, Shelter, Homeless Link or a local charity.