Helping for the homeless.

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
131 posts
Two-thirds of councils say they can’t afford to comply with homelessness law.

A year on from the Homelessness Reduction Act, councils fear lack of funds will hamper efforts to keep people housed and off the streets.
Austerity's pitiless logic: however little you have, it can still be taken away.

Cuts have forced councils to prioritise emergency support for homeless families. Single homeless people have paid the price.


New analysis of council spending in England has exposed a cruel twist in the homelessness scandal: single homeless people are paying the price for the growing number of families in desperate need of shelter.

The true scale of homelessness is obscured thanks to the official figures being inherently unreliable. But as an investigation by WPI Economics for the charities St Mungo’s and Homeless Link makes clear, even by the government’s own reckoning, more than 4,500 people were sleeping rough in England last year while more than 80,000 households were in temporary accommodation.

According to 2017 figures from the charity Crisis, the number of households in England, Scotland and Wales defined as suffering “core” homelessness – which includes all forms of temporary shelter such as rough sleeping, sofa surfing, squatting and hostels as well as temporary housing – is likely to be about 160,000. It rose by 33% between 2011 and 2016.

In 2017, almost 600 people died sleeping rough in England and Wales, aged, on average, just 47.

The WPI analysis shows that, between 2008-09 and 2017-18, spending by English local authorities on homelessness-related activity fell by 27% from £2.8bn to just over £2bn. During this time, the number of rough sleepers more than doubled and the number of households accepted as eligible for homelessness support rose by more than a third.

But within these figures, spending on family homelessness increased by more than 20%, while spending on single homelessness fell by more than 50%.

The collapse in support for single homeless people is entirely due to a two-thirds reduction in spending on the Supporting People programme, a government scheme launched in 2003 to help people live independently, after a ringfence protecting the money was removed in 2009.

Meanwhile, the cost of temporary accommodation for homeless families rose by around a quarter. So in the face of drastic cuts to local authority spending, councils have been forced to prioritise emergency accommodation for homeless families at the expense of support for single homeless people.

The data for individual regions rams this point home. Councils in the north-west of England cut total spending on homelessness by 56%. But they did so by increasing spending on families by 56% while cutting support for single homeless people by 73%.

Similarly, total funding in the West Midlands was cut by 42% but support for families increased by 15%, while funding for single homeless people fell by 59%. Variations on this pattern were played out across the country. In every region, there has been a fall of at least a third in spending on single homeless people.

The practical implications are devastating. Despite rising demand, the number of beds in England for single homeless people has fallen from 50,000 to 35,000 in nine years, and thresholds for help have been tightened.

The report spells out that if total expenditure on homelessness had stayed constant, an additional £5bn would have been spent over the past nine years. Set against this, the trivial amounts periodically thrown at the problem by ministers when the political pressure gets too intense – such as £20m for the homelessness prevention trailblazers programme and £76m over two years for the rough sleeping initiative fund – are exposed as a cruel deception.

All this is happening as other government policies pile on the pressure for people living on the margins. To name just two, the freeze in local housing allowance makes rents increasingly unaffordable while cuts in substance misuse treatments kick away another source of help.

Even the Homelessness Reduction Act – intended to increase help for people not in priority need – may be having the unintended consequence of driving resources towards crisis management rather than early intervention because when councils are faced with the choice of what to cut, taking money out of preventive or early intervention services is less likely to put them in breach of their statutory duties.

It is difficult to conceive a more warped approach to social justice than single homeless people, in effect, footing the bill for supporting homeless families. The WPI research reveals the remorseless, pitiless logic of a decade of austerity. However little you have, there is still some more to take away.
Exclusion of poor tenants highlights fatal flaw in housing policy.

The government’s pledge to tackle rough sleeping is utterly thwarted by its welfare reforms and spending cuts.


The revelation in the Crisis annual homelessness monitor that housing associations are routinely excluding the poorest tenants – including homeless people – will shock anyone who believes that the cheapest form of housing should be accessible to the least well-off.

Anecdotally, the practice of excluding risky prospective tenants because they have failed to pass financial capability assessments has been known for some time: the monitor fleshes out the widespread concern that councils now have that the policy is actively undermining their attempts to house homeless people.

Certainly, the financial pressures faced by housing associations are real – universal credit, for example, drives most claimants into rent arrears because of the minimum five-week waiting time for a first payment. Many private landlords won’t take benefit claimants because of the risks – so why should social landlords?

The policy highlights the contradictory policies at the heart of government: on the one hand, a promise to tackle rough sleeping, homelessness and insecurity faced by the “just about managing”; on the other, a suite of welfare reforms and spending cuts that are guaranteed to turbo-charge the very social ills they want to do away with.

It is also about dire poverty. One chief executive tells an anecdote of a prospective housing association tenant turned down for a flat after he inquired where the central heating dial was so that he could turn it off. Anyone too poor to afford to heat their home was surely too great a risk to offer a tenancy to, the argument went.

The latest Crisis monitor points out how this dire situation has been brought about by the failure to build more social housing – which means social sector lets to new tenants are at half the rate they were 20 years ago – and by the catastrophic continuing sell-off of council housing under the right to buy scheme.

The monitor points out that councils are not entirely innocent parties. Some, for political reasons, have chosen to adopt lettings policies predicated on the idea of “local homes for local people”, imposing eligibility criteria such as local connections that deliberately de-prioritise homeless people.

The issue is more about access to social housing than eviction, however. Housing association repossession rates are at their lowest level since 2000, the monitor points out. Many associations pride themselves on supporting tenants through benefit advice or employment skills training.

Some housing associations, however, are worried that the practice reflects an abandonment of the sector’s historic purpose – forged in the white heat of 1960s homelessness activism – in favour of a corporate mindset, obsessed with profit and driven by a narrow conception of value for money.

Some still squirm at the memory of the former Genesis Housing Association chief executive Neil Haddon who, in 2015, declared that it would no longer build properties for social rent. Asked about his organisation’s responsibility to house the poor, Haddon notoriously answered: “That won’t be my problem.”

At the time, housing associations faced an existential threat. Austerity measures introduced by the coalition cut their government grant by 60%. The former chancellor George Osborne imposed rent cuts and threatened to privatise them. Housing association tenants would be given the right to buy their rented home.

Some associations embraced commercial disciplines to counter the threat, moving into private property development and redefining their social rented stock as “affordable” – enabling them to raise rents. Their performance targets focused on metrics such as “homes built” and “customer satisfaction”.

Tony Stacey, the chief executive of South Yorkshire housing association, says the sector is now fighting back. A group of around 80 associations have formed the Homes for Cathy group – named after the seminal 1960s homelessness drama Cathy Come Home – to push for a restoration of the sector’s mission to serve homeless people.

He wants corporate performance metrics introduced that recognise housing associations’ social obligations: numbers of homeless people housed, for example, or reductions in numbers of evictions. “The social mission is definitely there in the majority of associations. But it can get lost.”
Thank you for helping the homeless. Both my husband and myself have a soft spot for them. Back in May 1990 my husband set a day centre for them and it is going from strength to strength, although my husband is unable to help anymore as he now has Parkinson's. from Wendy
I have been feeling heartwrenched at the homeless, especially this last couple of weeks since my lovely husband passed away. Spoke to one when I left the bank last week, and helped out. He doesnt ask, but sits quietly.Today, outside B&M I felt sad for another homeless person and helped. I sort of regretted it though.There was another homesless on the opposite side of the precinct, with eye contact. When I returned, the one was giving the other a cigarette, pointed me out, so the second one ran behind me ' accidentally' knocked into me, said sorry and told me she is homeless and pregnant. I admit it unnerved me. So sadly its made me wary again. Luckily grandson ( 19year old) was with me. He is the one who helped out in town by purchasing food and can of coke for a homeless,only to be told ' I don't like sausage rolls?!) Put him off helping too even though he feels terrible for them. Talk about feeling sad, then feeling foolish.
Trouble is , Pet ... every likelyhood of more homeless on the streets as funding is cut back in all sectors.

It is not a very nice world out there ... even the more prosperous manors are seeing the problem for the first time.

My local tent city has now passed 30 ... up from 21 back in March.

The situation in Lincolnshire hasn't helped ... more " Economic refugees " are making their way to neighbouring counties
... most seeking work , mainly of the zero hour contract variety ... as little else is available.

I would not like to be a volunteer in a food bank ... having to make a decison ... insist on the correct paperwork or ...
pass a couple of cans over ???
And so the madness in this Sad New World continues :
Hull's homeless facing third day without food as raid forces Raise the Roof to close/

Its founder says they will be unable to help the homeless on Monday.



A Hull city centre charity has been left "devastated" after hundreds of pounds was stolen over the weekend.

Pictures show thieves smashed through the back door of Raise the Roof's community hub in Charles Street before making off with up to £250 from the till.

The theft, which happened between Friday night and early Monday morning, could leave members of the city's homeless community without a square meal for a third day as many people rely on the service to eat.

The not-for-profit organisation, which relies on volunteers, runs a regular Breakfast Club but people turning up on Monday morning had to be turned away as the hub had turned into a crime scene and is now closed.
Has war been declared on the homeless ?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... rol-crisis

Article contains graphs that do not transer across :



Removal of homeless camps trebles as charities warn of " Out of control " crisis.

Exclusive : Figures show camp clearances by local authorities across UK have surged in last five years.



The number of homeless camps forcibly removed by councils across the UK has more than trebled in five years, figures show, prompting campaigners to warn that the rough sleeping crisis is out of control and has become an entrenched part of life in the country.

Tents, cardboard structures and a garden shed were among the hundreds of homeless encampments torn down by local authorities in the last five years, with the number of tent city clearances rising from 72 in 2014 to 254 last year.

Charities say the camp clearances are a symptom of an acute homelessness problem, driven by welfare changes, a lack of properly funded support services and insecure housing. Campaigners have criticised authorities for a heavy-handed approach. Some councils seize tents and even charge for their return.

In Brighton, home to the second largest population of rough sleepers in 2017 in England, the local authority charges £25 for a confiscated tent. In East Dorset, the fee is £50.

Brighton council said the £25 charge was waived if the items were “claimed by someone who needs their belongings and was unable to pay due to living rough”. East Dorset council did not comment.

Separate figures obtained by the Guardian show complaints to councils about homeless encampments have shot up 448% in five years, from 277 in 2014 to 1,241 in 2018, rising year on year with big increases in 2016 and 2017. On Sunday, a woman in her 30s was found dead in a homeless encampment in Leeds city centre.

The number of people living in makeshift camps is not recorded in official rough sleeping statistics, which the UK statistics regulator has warned should not be trusted, but the new figures obtained through freedom of information requests suggest it is a growing problem.

Matthew Downie, director of policy and external affairs at Crisis, said the findings did not come as a surprise. “We know that people living in tents as a form of rough sleeping has shot up 165% since 2010,” he said.

He added: “We have now reached unprecedented levels of homelessness across England. The rise is out of control … We are at point where, council by council, people are struggling to know what on earth to do, particularly when there is not enough affordable housing.”

Councils in the UK used a range of legal powers often enforced through court orders to clear hundreds of homeless camps from 2014 to 2018 with the help of police. The Guardian also asked all police forces in the UK how many times dispersal orders had been used to clear homeless camps, but all forces said it would take too much time to collect the data.

Downie said the clearance approach was not right. “The idea of dispersal and enforcement action against people who are homeless and destitute is not simply the wrong thing to do in moral terms but practically the most unhelpful thing to do as well. It drives people further into destitution and makes it more likely people will spend longer on the streets.”

In the past year, encampments of varying sizes have been reported in cities and towns such as Peterborough, Brighton, Bristol, Milton Keynes, Cardiff, Manchester, Leeds, London and Northampton.

In Northampton, Father Oliver Coss has housed a group of tents in the walled yard behind All Saints church in Mercers Row since November 2018. What started as three tents became 11 when the encampment was at its largest about a month ago. Now, about five people are staying there in three tents, with a fourth tent unoccupied.

But Coss recently made the decision to ask those living in tents to leave after they refused to accept offers of support from the council, giving them 28 days’ notice. He said it was a hard decision to make but he felt it was best to support those living on the church grounds. “We took our present decision as we found it was hard to have a conversation about moving on as the camp was seemingly secure and it was settled and so we took the opportunity to do a light touch legal process and serve a notice on people, giving them 28 days to move on,” Coss said.

He added: “Being on the streets comes with a particular culture and resilience to survive and that comes about through the rhythms of the streets … We think that [these people] are worth more than a tent in a churchyard somewhere.”

One resident at the churchyard is Paul, 52, who became homeless when a relationship fell apart. “I have been here nearly four weeks. I have been homeless since 2013 and been in and out of prison. We’ve now been told we have 28 days to leave but this is the only home we’ve got.”

He added: “We have a lot of social problems and addictions. We just want to get out of reality and get high or drunk. Anything to help us through the day … There are too many rules in shelters, and they threaten you with eviction. So I may as well be in a tent and make my own rules.”

Northampton borough council said all rough sleepers in the area had been offered support and it was dedicating extra resources to support services for the homeless.

Stephen Robertson, chief executive at the Big Issue Foundation, said: “This increasingly alarming situation is an output of binary thinking at the highest levels. Our government’s history of enforcing an acceptable annual construction number of affordable social housing is well documented; with demand more than outstripping supply with a resultant lack of homes for people experiencing homelessness.

“The growth in communities living outside is evidenced now across the country to the extent that it has become normalised enough to have been featured as a story arc in Coronation Street not that long ago. It is no wonder that the public are deeply upset about what they are seeing.

“People are increasingly living in tents not because they have a newfound enthusiasm for camping. They are forced into creating communities outside because government and policymakers blankly refuse to join these issues and opportunities up to bring about a feasible end to a humanitarian crisis.”

The Guardian asked all councils in the UK how many homeless encampments they had cleared since 2014, how many complaints about encampments they had received and details on charges for confiscated tents and possessions. An encampment was defined as a location where one or more homeless people were living in the area in private or public land. 336 local authorities responded to the request.

In response to the figures on homeless camps, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the government was providing hundreds more bed spaces and support staff for rough sleepers this year, and a £100m funding boost for eradicating rough sleeping.

The Local Government Association said enforcement action was a last resort and councils always took a balanced approached when dealing with rough sleepers, also warning a £421m funding gap by 2024-25 was hampering their efforts to prevent homelessness.




Ground zero ... London , The Smoke ... 1970s ... on many manors , it was fire hoses in the middle of night.

2019 ... social cleansing of a different kind.

Image

Worksop tent city ... 32 last reported ( Fellow Astronomy Society member ... Sunday morning stroll down the canal to Sainsburys.
Drops off a few cans of food to a former neighbour now on very hard times.)

A problem that will only increase as Austerity continues to tighten it's grip.

LACK OF AFFORDABLE SOCIAL HOUSING ( HOUSING BENEFIT = RENT PAYABLE ) ALSO A VERY MAJOR FACTOR.
London rough sleeping hits record high with 18% rise in 2018-19.

Sadiq Khan blames crisis on welfare reforms and lack of investment in social housing.

Westminster council boards up area to " Keep out homeless people. "


Rough-sleeping figures in London have hit a record high, with 8,855 people recorded as bedding down on the capital’s street last year, according to annual Chain figures published by by the Greater London Authority.

The 18% year-on-year rise in 2018-19 was called a “national disgrace” by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who blamed the crisis on welfare reforms and a lack of investment in social housing.

The latest figures were two and half times the equivalent number recorded in 2009-10, when 3,673 people were identified as rough sleeping.

5,529 new rough sleepers were spotted on the capital’s streets last year – equivalent to 15 people a day finding themselves sleeping rough for the first time. More than a third had lost private rented accommodation.

Khan said: “The rise in rough sleeping across the country and in London is a national disgrace and at City Hall we have doubled our rough-sleeping budget and the size of our outreach team, helping record numbers of rough sleepers.

“But the figures show more and more people continue to be forced on to the streets by the government’s policies – from welfare cuts to a lack of investment in social housing. This includes non-UK nationals who, thanks to a woeful lack of action from ministers, support services are often unable to help.

“This cannot be ignored any longer. Government must urgently act to resolve long-standing immigration issues and provide access to accommodation and employment, if we are to ever end this crisis.”

UK nationals accounted for 49% of rough sleepers in the capital. Rough sleepers from central European countries, including Romania, Poland, Lithuania and Bulgaria accounted for 31% of the total.

The local authority areas in the capital with the biggest concentrations of rough sleepers were: Westminster (2,512); Camden (815); Newham (612); City of London (441); and Southwark (435).

Homelessness services helped 2,379 rough sleepers into accommodation or to return to their home area or country over the year – equivalent to 27% of rough sleepers seen over the year.

The figures from Chain (Combined Homelessness and Information Network) are an ongoing record of rough sleepers identified by outreach workers throughout the year.

They are regarded as a more accurate estimate of rough-sleeping numbers than the official street count, which is based on a single-night snapshot. Official statistics recorded 1,283 rough sleepers in the capital in 2018.

The chief executive of Crisis, Jon Sparkes, said: “It’s simply unforgivable that more and more people are being forced to sleep rough on our streets, facing incredible dangers every day, in large part because they cannot afford to keep their homes.

This cannot go on. We know with the right safety nets in place – like a housing-benefit system which truly covers the costs of renting – we can tackle the root causes and stop people becoming homeless in the first place.”




ALWAYS SEEM TO BE CATCHING UP WITH MY OWN COMMENTS ?
This cannot go on. We know with the right safety nets in place – like a housing-benefit system which truly covers the costs of renting – we can tackle the root causes and stop people becoming homeless in the first place.”

TROUBLE IS ... HOUSING BENEFIT ... RISING FASTER THAN A ROCKET LAUNCHED BY NASA ???

AND , WHO ARE THE MAIN BENEFICIARIES ?

123 MPs HAVE DECLARED INTERESTS IN BTL PROPERTIES FOR STARTERS !!!

Parliament has published its register of MPs’ financial interests for the first time since the election.

An analysis by FactCheck shows that 123 MPs earn extra money by renting out homes and private property. Landlord MPs account for almost a fifth of all MPs.

Their properties include houses, flats, farms, holiday cottages and shops. The MPs include chancellor Philip Hammond, foreign secretary Boris Johnson, the shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, and the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

The issue of landlord MPs has re-emerged after the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Critics say that having a financial stake in the rented property sector could be a conflict of interests.
Yep ... some people are really going that extra mile to help the homeless :

Homeless man dies and another is left fighting for his life after their tent 'was set on fire' next to a busy dual carriageway

Tent went up in flames at 11.45pm on Tuesday next to busy A406 in east London.

The two victims, thought to be in their 40s, ran onto road with burn wounds.

Rushed to hospital where one died and the other remains fighting for his life.

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of arson and attempted murder.


At least the Daily Mail has the decency to disable all comments !


Homelessness minister accused of racist remarks about rough sleepers

Exclusive: Heather Wheeler urged to quit after she referred to " Old tinkers, knife-cutters. "


Are we now resurrecting ministers from Victorian times ?


Homeless get their tents back for free.

Brighton’s charge for return of tents confiscated from the beach is waived for rough sleepers, says council leader Nancy Platts


Extend to a hot meal , bath and roof over their head ... just for one night ???
131 posts