Helping for the homeless.

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
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Another symptom of the housing crisis and people having nowhere to live, or losing their home, is how parking in our street has become a problem with too many cars, vans and trucks. We first saw this starting two years ago and its got steadily worse.
So much so that in the evening and overnight until about 9am and all weekend the street is full and there is very little if any parking spaces, These are people who live in the street because we see which houses they come and go from.
One three bed semi has at least 7 vehicles and one caravan at the same property,
There is no choice to cramped living condition's and over occupation.
In Bristol , certain streets are full of cars ... with people sleeping / living in them.

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bris ... tol-561989

Scores of people are living in vans on Bristol streets.

People have resorted to living in vans in several areas of the city, including Bedminster, St Paul’s, St Werberghs, St Andrew’s and Montpelier.


Even a video for the more inquisitve readers.
Extensive article on the BBC web site this morning ... covering several aspects :

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46976241



Just one chart from it :

Image


Tip of the iceberg again ... ones they know about ???

Yep , as confirmed on another report published today :

Homeless shelters experience record demand as government reports decrease in rough sleeping

" I’d say what the government thinks there is, it’s probably four or five times higher than that. "
BBC ... Question Time ... 31 January ... around 35 minutes in :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3UFhHJYX3c

NO NEED to have a tv licence ... said video is a second generation one from the actual broadcast.

Mental health /drugs .... yes , a factor BUT ... only touches apon the real problem ... AUSTERITY !!!

Siemens c.e.o. ... would make a better P.M. than any politician ???

Save us all from politicians !!!
An excellent article in today's Guardian ... Nye Jones :
These Tories won’t fix the rough sleeping crisis, no matter what they say.

They encourage us to think that anyone who is homeless deserves it. A radical cultural shift is needed on this subject.


The latest official figures for homelessness show that, in England outside cities, the number of people sleeping rough on any one night is down 2%. But this is where the good news ends.

Rough sleeping has increased by 165% since 2010, with rises of as much as 60% in major cities, compared with last year. The homeless charity Crisis’s own research estimates that more than 8,000 people sleep rough on any given night. Meanwhile deaths of homeless people have more than doubled in the past five years.

Most people agree that rough sleeping shouldn’t exist in a healthy society – especially not in the sixth richest economy in the world. But it doesn’t appear out of nowhere; it’s the product of political decisions. So why is it being allowed to continue?

The answer requires an understanding of the ideology that politicians and parts of the media have repeatedly shoved down our throats in recent years. When the Conservatives won back power in 2010 the then secretary of state for the Department for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, declared that he was going to tackle Britain’s “dependency culture” and make sure the benefits system is geared so that “it will always pay for you to take a job”.

The supposedly liberal Nick Clegg backed him up saying that William Beveridge’s idea of a welfare state from the “cradle to the grave” had been “distorted”: “Today’s system discourages self-reliance,” he said, “it disincentivises work, it condemns the most disadvantaged in our society to a life on benefits.”

Since then, parts of the media have gleefully reported on benefit fraudsters or “fake” homeless people begging for money for drugs, while politicians have doubled down on their rhetoric through stricter benefits schemes, encouraging people to rat out anyone cheating the system and calling for homeless people’s tents to be torn down. The coded message is that poverty is a result of bad decisions, and attention is deflected away from structural issues such as stagnant wages, rising living costs or expensive housing.

The end goal of this rhetoric is pure social engineering. The aim is to mould people into the archetypal “good citizen” – a homeowner who makes a pilgrimage to Ikea every few months. This person has the resources to flourish in a market-based economy, allowing the state to step back and play its desired role of estranged parent. It need only come to their aid in an emergency such as through healthcare.

Not everyone can live up to this ideal. Rough sleepers especially are the antithesis to this “good citizen”. But rather than extend a helping hand, the system treats people who struggle the way a cold-hearted mafia boss would: it hangs them out to dry as a warning to others.

People travel to low-paid jobs in expensive, packed trains. They wait weeks for a doctor’s appointment. Their landlord raises their rent for no reason. All the while the wealthiest 1% increase their share of the pie. But the presence of rough sleepers tells people what happens to those who stop conforming. As George Orwell wrote, we have two options: “Serve the money-god or go under.”

But perhaps you are working two low-paid jobs just to pay your extortionate rent and put food on the table for your family. Then you hear that the person you see lying on the street corner every morning has been given a house and an income. It makes a mockery of your struggle, you might think. Why should you continue to strive when others get things handed to them on a plate?

That’s why the only way rough sleeping can be eradicated is through a radical cultural shift that takes everyone with it. This goes beyond targeted policies and gets to the core of what being a citizen means. The fundamentals of life – food, housing, healthcare – should be available unconditionally, regardless of someone’s supposed character or their circumstances.

Until then, people will continue to line our streets, sacrificed at the altar of a broken system.
" Homeless people need help, not punishment, " : Pressure mounts to repeal Vagrancy Act

" Clearly the act is not fit for purpose – it represents social attitudes two hundred years out of date and must be repealed as soon as possible. "


Pressure is mounting on the government to repeal a “draconian and outdated” Georgian-era law used to criminalise thousands of homeless people each year for sleeping and begging on the street.

Charities and politicians of all stripes have laid out their opposition to the Vagrancy Act, which was controversial even when rolled out in 1824.

The Labour Party adopting its abolition as policy in December 2018 and charities Centrepoint, St Mungo’s and Crisis have called for an end to the law, which was described in parliament this week as “a cruel and outdated piece of legislation” by Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrat MP who has been campaigning for its repeal since February 2018.

"If the Act were isn’t needed in those areas then why is it needed anywhere at all," she said. "Government should listen to those on the front line and come clean about who the stakeholders who want to keep it are. Having asked repeatedly they refuse to do so which can only suggest they themselves are the barrier."

Crisis’ director of policy and external affairs, Matt Downie, told The Independent the act was "not fit for purpose" as it represented "social attitudes 200 years out of date and must be repealed as soon as possible,” .



Fair comment ... time , indeed , for the Law to catch up with modern day reality ?
Interesting one ... Mourning Star ... and an EMPTY NHS unit ... for NINE years :


NHS surgery occupiers win eviction reprieve.


HOMELESS people who have formed a small community living in a disused NHS surgery in Greater Manchester have won a reprieve from eviction.

In November homeless people took over the empty building at Eccles in Salford. The building has been disused for nine years.

The surgery is owned by NHS Property Services Ltd, a company belonging to the NHS. The company is selling the building and took legal action to have the occupants evicted.

A judge at Manchester County Court ordered that the homeless people be evicted today, but that decision has now been postponed pending another hearing.

The 15 homeless people living in the building have won support in the surrounding community.

They have received food and clothing parcels from individuals and from the Salvation Army, which has premises nearby, and are also being backed by Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre.

The occupants are being represented by Greater Manchester Law Centre.

Solicitor Kathleen Cosgrove told the Morning Star: “The NHS is a public body and has a duty and principles meaning it should act fairly. It is a public authority and should make welfare inquiries and consider options short of eviction.

“The people involved at the building are just amazing.”

Alec McFadden, manager of Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre, said: “If these people are evicted their lives could be at risk. Temperatures in Manchester have been minus three degrees.”

One of the occupants is 32-year-old Stacey Martindale, who lives there with her dog Ki. She is a victim of repeated domestic violence. When she fled her council home to escape the violence she was told by officials that she had made herself “intentionally homeless.”

She told the Morning Star: “We look after each other. We have massive local support. People call in with a carrier bag with some food, or an item of clothing. We have our own possessions again. It’s giving us back our humanity. Between us we are helping each other to rebuild our lives.”

No date has yet been set for the next court hearing.
Lives will be lost if plans to slash housing support services go ahead, charities warn.


West Sussex council’s proposal to cut help for rough sleepers by £4m will have drastic consequences

Rough sleeping in England has gone up by 165% from 2010-2017, as cuts have hit. Photograph: Paul Zinken/DPA/PA Images

Kurt Cavanne spent eight weeks living rough in the woods of West Sussex before support workers at the Open House hostel in Crawley found a bed for him. “It was a Friday. I’ll never forget it,” he says. “They turned round to me and said ‘As of this afternoon you have got a bed.’ I cried. It was the first time I remember crying since I was a kid. I’d been living in the bushes, and now I had a roof over my head”

Alcoholism and the collapse of a relationship had tipped the former bus driver on to the streets last year.

From the hostel, Cavanne was referred on to the Sands facility, run by the Stonepillow charity, where he dried out. He now has a room in a shared house. He’s five and a half months sober and has enrolled on a bridging course to allow him to study social work at university.

For Cavanne, housing support isn’t just a “nice to have”. So, he’s staggered that the services he credits with saving his life are now under threat as a result of council cuts that will strip millions from local housing support services. “The government is making a big mistake if they screw all this up,” he says.

The scale of the cuts planned by Conservative-run West Sussex county council has shocked even those who have become used to the drip-drip corrosion of municipal budgets over years of austerity. By 2020, the £6.3m the council currently spends on housing support services for rough sleepers, victims of domestic abuse, care leavers, and frail older people in the county, will shrink to just £2.3m (the original proposal was to cut it by 100%).

An entire social infrastructure of hostels, drop-in centres, and floating support teams built up over years is at risk of being dismantled, say charities, and a vital pathway to recovery and independence for thousands of society’s most vulnerable people broken. The cost will be high, they say, both in terms of human lives, and the knock-on effects on the NHS, child protection, homelessness provision and the criminal justice system.

“There will be more rough sleepers on the street and more people will die,” predicts Stonepillow chief executive Hilary Bartle. The details of exactly where and how the cuts will fall among local services had not been revealed at the time of writing, but the impact is expected to fall on a spectrum of bad to very bad. At a minimum, hostels that run on a 24/7 basis will revert to night shelters, turfing clients out on to the street during the day. “At the very least we won’t be able to support the service at the level we do now,” she says. “In some cases the charity providing the service may just disappear entirely.”

Bartle chairs a coalition of 13 organisations affected by the cuts. Between them they provide a range of services that help vulnerable people get and maintain tenancies and live independently. The services are designed to help them stay physically and mentally well, and to navigate the complexity of daily life, from work to the benefits system. Without that support, the alternative too often can be homelessness, crime or family breakdown. As a powerful film made by the coalition testifies, many of their clients, like Cavanne, believe that without support they would be dead.

The coalition calculates that for every £1 spent on the housing support contracts, £7.50 is saved on wider services. It estimates that the West Sussex services between them helped 845 people maintain their tenancies in 2017-18. Had those tenancies collapsed, the cost to public services would have been £19m. “The question is not whether we can afford such services,” says the coalition, “but whether we can afford to be without them.”

The timing of the cuts come as the latest official figures show an upwards trend in rough sleeping across West Sussex over the last decade. In 2011, 50 people were sleeping rough in the county’s affluent south coast towns, compared with 94 in 2018. Stonepillow’s hostels in Chichester and Bognor Regis have long waiting lists.

Meanwhile, the government is supposedly committed to halving levels of rough sleeping by 2022 and eradicating it by 2027. It introduced a legal duty on English councils to prevent homelessness a year ago. But it has also starved councils of half their grant funding since 2010. There is, Bartle, points out, a major contradiction at the heart of government policy.

In a sense, the West Sussex cuts are the inevitable consequence of government policy since 2009, when the ringfence protecting housing-related support was lifted. According to the National Audit Office (NAO), there was a 69% reduction by English councils on this support, known as Supporting People funding, between 2010 and 2017.

Over this period the NAO concluded, ministers “lost their grip” on the causes and costs of homelessness. Rough sleeping rose in England by 165% during this time (4,677 people bedded down on the streets or in sheds and tents in 2018), and there is evidence that in some areas there was a big increase in the number of people returning to rough sleeping after at least a year away from the streets. Research by homelessness charity, St Mungo’s, found that of the 10 councils with the highest levels of rough sleeping in 2017, eight had cut funding for tenancy support services by at least 25%.

Last summer, when the government launched its rough sleeping strategy, it announced it would also undertake a review of housing-related support. The danger, says Bartle, is that by the time it reports, the local housing support infrastructure will be beyond repair. Neighbouring Hampshire county council plans a 42% cut in housing-related support from August, and it will not be alone as councils hack back budgets to bare legal minimum levels. “If suddenly someone decides they want to reinvest in housing support it will be too late, because the buildings will be gone.”

West Sussex county council leader Louise Goldsmith said last month: “In an ideal world we wouldn’t do this [the cuts to housing-related support] but unfortunately we’re not in an ideal world.” The council has made £145m of cuts since 2010 and faces a budget gap of £51m in 2019-20. “In my heart of hearts I’d hoped we would have been able to keep it ... But because it’s not our main statutory duty, then we have to look at everything.”

A county council spokesman said that phasing the cuts over two years would give time for partners “to find solutions to prioritise people in greatest need but also deliver the savings that we have to make”. The spokesman added: “We are working collaboratively with all partners in line with the government’s homelessness strategy and we are committed to having a joined-up approach to help reduce homelessness.”

Bartle is unconvinced. The cuts suggest there is no joined-up thinking about tackling homelessness: “Ultimately, people who lose their services will die; they will get stuck in that revolving door of homelessness; there will be nowhere to go when they pitch up. No support services; no outreach services. You will end up with a system that is just chaotic. You will end up with churches opening their doors and people sleeping on pews.”

As Cavanne says: “If it wasn’t for Stonepillow I’d be dead. I wouldn’t have survived the winter.”
English councils accused of hiding scale of homelessness crisis.

Critics point out change of compiling method led to decrease in total count of rough sleepers.
Councils have been accused of deliberately hiding the scale of the rough sleeping crisis in England by changing the way they compiled figures for the 2018 official count, the Guardian can reveal.

Official government statistics reported a 2% fall in rough sleeping in England in 2018 after seven consecutive years of rises when the figures were released last month. But critics have suggested the percentage decreased after several councils changed their counting method and does not reflect the reality on the streets.

The government has described the claims as “an insult” to the volunteers and charities who help compile the official figures. But back in 2015 the figures were also criticised as low-quality, untrustworthy and vulnerable to political manipulation by the UK Statistics Authority who threatened to remove their official status.

The rough sleeping statistics for England, based on a combination of estimates and spot counts on a single night in autumn, are intended to include everyone about to bed down or already bedded down on the street, in doorways, parks, tents and sheds but not hostels or shelters.

Estimates, akin to a local census, are typically agreed by agencies who work closely with rough sleepers in the area all year round, whereas street counts are one-night snapshots.

Analysis by the Guardian found that more than 30 councils switched from submitting an estimate to a street count from 2017 to 2018, with some councils reporting reductions in rough sleeping of up to 85%.

In Brighton and Hove, the official number for rough sleepers fell from 178 to 64 people in 12 months after the council made the change. Opposition councillors have described the drop as a “deliberate misrepresentation” of the scale of rough sleeping in the area.

Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth at Brighton council said: “Physically counting produces lower figures as it will always be the case that not every rough sleeper can be found on any given night. This happened in November 2018 when the count was conveniently carried out when it was snowing. It produced a figure that was under half of what the city’s rough-sleeping campaigners estimated as the real number.”

In Southend-on-Sea, there was officially an 85% reduction in rough sleeping from 2017 to 2018, according to the most recent figures, from 72 to 11 people, following a change in the counting method. Local charities have questioned the validity of the figure.

Authorities in Redbridge, Eastbourne, Medway, Worthing, Thanet, Exeter, Basildon, Ipswich, Warwick and Gloucester all reported big falls in rough sleeping from 2017 to 2018 after switching from reporting an estimate to a street count.

Homeless charities have long felt the official figures fail to capture the true scale of rough sleeping in England. Last December, Crisis estimated that more than 22,000 people in England would spend the festive period sleeping rough or in cars, trains, buses or tents, more than four times the official figure of 4,677 for 2018.

The accuracy of official rough sleeping statistics is important as central government uses the figures to allocate funding and make policy decisions about how to best tackle the homelessness crisis in England.

Concerns have previously been raised about the number of local authorities that reported having no rough sleepers in the official figures for England, which rose for the third consecutive year in 2018, including homelessness hotspots such as Gosport, Hampshire.

When contacted by the Guardian, several local authorities that changed from reporting an estimate to a street count said they had been advised to do so by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government after receiving money through the Rough Sleeper Initiative, a short-term fund aimed at reducing rough sleeping in the most affected areas.


Homeless Link, which is paid by the central government to guide councils on collating rough sleeping statistics and officially verify the count, said local authorities are free to choose to do a count or an estimate each year.

In response to the figures, minister for homelessness MP said: “These claims are an insult to the hardworking outreach workers, local charities, and other groups that collate these figures and are independently verified by Homeless Link.

“The rough sleeping count uses a well-established method – adopted by many cities across the world – providing us with a reliable way of comparing change over time, and councils have the freedom to choose how they conduct their count to best suit their area and individual circumstances.

“We have set out bold plans to end rough sleeping – and these figures show our work is already making a difference.”
Homeless deaths nine times higher in deprived areas.

Deaths of homeless people were nine times higher in deprived areas of England than in the least disadvantaged areas, analysis of data has shown.

There were an estimated 21 deaths in Manchester, 18 in Birmingham, 17 each in Bristol, Lambeth and Liverpool and 15 in Camden in 2017.

About 2,627 homeless people died in England and Wales from 2013 to 2017.

Deaths were recorded in 156 local authority areas in 2017, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

When weighted by population, the 11 deaths estimated in Blackburn with Darwen gave the area the highest rate.

Housing charity Shelter said the figures were a " Wake-up call. "

Chief executive Polly Neate said: "There is nothing inevitable about people dying homeless, it is a direct consequence of a broken housing system."

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said councils needed " Appropriate funding to conduct reviews into the death of every person who has died while homeless, to prevent more people from dying needlessly."
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