29 November, 2006
Plain and simply put
Martha is a forty seven year old woman who sleeps rough by Victoria coach station in Westminster. She says that every time she goes to a day centre there seems to be nothing for her. She has been waiting for a vacancy in a woman's hostel for four weeks now and hopes to be off the streets and into a nice warm bed sooner rather later. She did say she had a bit of a sleep in a West London church night shelter. This is not the first time that I have spoken to a homeless women and heard that services for woman are a low priority. I think this is due to the fact that in the early days of homelessness there were more male than females living on the streets but in today's climate it seems there are far more women in hostels and sleeping rough than there were before. This maybe due to numerous things but marital breakdowns and violence seem to be at the forefront these days but there are several reasons why, just as in the case of male homelessness. Which does bring me back to the subject of housing and the need for more social housing. I was speaking to a woman on the bus this morning. Just trying to make conversation as it's just boring staring out of the windows. Anyway it transpires that she has just moved into a flat but the rent is quite an astronomical amount and to find it every month so she has to work extra hours. She said she wasn't sure she could manage the rent all on her own so she had her friend move in with her. I had to agree with her that renting a flat is becoming impossible as greedy landlords are cashing in on the housing shortage. The fact that some of these dwelling are appalling seems to make no difference. Take my flat for instance. My rent has increased by £10 in the last four years. That's an extra £520 a year I have to pay since I first moved in and when April comes next year it will go up another two pounds. This is why I am saying the government should now be saying enough is enough and should be making sure landlords cannot charge the earth. It's something that must be done as the fair rent tribunals obviously do not work and causes more feuding between landlords and tenants it is one of the contributing factors why landlords try to evict. I know fair rents are a mine field for any government but something has to be done as social house building is at an all time low and the housing lists all over the country are forever growing. I have never been that good at maths but even I can calculate that if only 65000 houses are built this years and next year the same. There will still be 1,000,000 people that need of housing and they are just the people on the housing registers.