12 December, 2005

A response to the figures on homelessness

Housing minister Yvette Cooper has welcomed the reduced the number of people becoming homeless by saying this the lowest number of cases since 1985. Once again the national statistic is that 7350 fewer homelessness acceptances. Well, when you have councils all over the country passing homeless people from one council to another. What do you get? A lower figure.
My argument is are any figures on homelessness accurate especially when we see a rise in homelessness and do they take in to account people that are in temporary accommodation or sleeping on friends floors.
Take Brian Lamond from Leeds he has been to three different offices in the last six months but couldn't get no where. So he moved here to London in march of last year and he is still on the streets.
How many homeless people have moved to the out skirts of our cities and by doing so avoided the head counts? Which by the way is being seen more and more.
Have they only counted the homeless that you can see at night in shop doorways or in plain sight? What about those in subways in the back entrance of office blocks and those off the beaten track. What about those that go to the church night shelters. We see them during the day but not at night and as we know head counts are only taken late at night. When the church shuts its doors in march. We will see them all day and night.
Single homeless people. These are the words we should be hearing from the government because it is these people that are at a disadvantage. They are not classed as a family how can they be?
I have to admit there had been a large reduction in single homeless people actually living on the streets but over the last six months it has begun to rise again.
Why do I say single people are at a disadvantage? Well, if you have a child and you are single you are more likely to be housed. If you are a couple with a child you're more likely to be housed. But if your single and on your own, you have come to your first hurdle. Being single is not a priority according to local councils and If you go to any council you have to be awarded points. You get none for being single. You do get a few for being on the streets but only after you prove it. How do you prove it? How do you prove you have not become intentionally homeless lets say you face being evicted and you have a violent landlord who will employ extreme measures. So you leave. You've made yourself intentionally homeless because you live in fear but one council states that we have to stick to the government guide lines.
If you are single and in a hostel you're not a Priority you have a roof over you're head. So you're on another loser there. In one hostel in London there's a man that's been there fifteen years. Homeless people will always be at a disadvantage but single homeless people will always suffer simply because they choose to be single. It doesn't matter what problems single homeless people have we will not be able to address them unless the government decide that there is a fairer way of treating single homeless people and lets face it we have anti discriminatory laws for most things like age. Sex and so on. So why should single homeless people be discriminated against because that's what it feels like. Until we get rid of this second class syndrome and treat homeless people as part of society. We will not move forward no matter how many head counts or government statistics we take. Its such a pity that so much talent is going to waste because homeless people have to worry about how they are going to survive and believe me there are some very intelligent people on the streets and they would tell you how wrong the figures are.

No comments: