Every year around Christmas time and the winter season we are confronted by the never ending crisis of homeless people. No one seems to have an answer to this blot on our country, there is a lot of rhetoric and concern shown but no worthwhile action taken by the government and civic bodies.
Last year, 112,070 people declared themselves homeless in England – a 26% increase in four years. At the same time, the number of people sleeping rough in London grew by 75% to a staggering 6,437. Why? A £7bn cut in housing benefit, welfare reforms and a huge lack of affordable housing. Cutting the Local Housing Allowance - a form of housing benefit has affected social housing. Restriction on the Social Fund which previously helped homeless people to stump up rent in advance, pay for a bed, fridge and other essentials have aggravated the problem.
There are many factors that can lead to someone becoming homeless, including relationship breakdown, leaving an institution such as care, and physical and mental health problems. Nearly half of all homeless people have had problems with mental health, according to Crisis.
Chief executive of Crisis, said: “The sad reality is that homeless people who ask their councils for help are being turned away to sleep on the streets. That’s why Crisis is calling on party leaders to review the support given to single homeless people under the law. In this day and age, no one should face the horrors of the streets. Housing is an issue that successive governments have failed to address and needs to be dealt with promptly without further dilly dallying. Because of lack of proper planning and political will to tackle the perennial ever-widening gap between housing supply and demand has caused the serious homelessness crisis. It is time for the government to bite the bullet.
Rayners Lane, Harrow