Homelessness of 170,000 Londoners
The escalating rate of homelessness in England is a deeply concerning issue. London, in particular, bears witness to around 170,000 individuals grappling with homelessness. This revelation stems from a study conducted by the cross-party assembly known as the London Councils within the confines of the British capital. This data shows that the count of homeless individuals approximates one in every 50 when considering the population of approximately 8.8 million. Notably, the report, relying on statistics collected in the spring, reveals that among this affected population were over 83,000 children.
The tragedy of homelessness in London
Quoted by the local officials, the troubling statistics stand as the freshest evidence of the ongoing tragedy of homelessness in London. This has raised apprehensions that the situation might escalate beyond control. Those who find themselves homeless, often constrained to provisional accommodations, endure nights on the streets or seek solace with friends and relatives, resorting to public areas or hotels.
Addressing London’s Homelessness Challenge
The local administrations have put forth a range of proposals to tackle this pressing issue. One of the critical measures involves urging the government to augment funding for housing initiatives and offer enhanced assistance to urban areas to acquire additional residences from private vendors. Darren Rodwell, an executive member overseeing regeneration at London Council, emphasised the necessity for substantial efforts to aid low-income households in preventing homelessness. He further stressed the importance of curbing the escalating reliance on temporary accommodations.
Increasing death of homeless people
Research by the charity Museum of Homelessness announced that 1,313 people died in homelessness in the UK last year, an increase of 85% compared to 2019. A homelessness centre in the UK reported that since 2019, more than 4,000 people have lost their lives due to homelessness in the UK, and currently, one homeless person dies every six and a half hours.
Homeless deaths in the UK
Stating that reliance on illegal and dangerous temporary accommodation is one of the leading causes of homeless deaths alongside addiction, the support centre says that in 2021, the number of homeless people in Wales and England increased by 20%, with 85% being under 65 years of age. Since 2010, the reduction and interruption of health care services and mental health services and the removal of support services for drug and alcohol addicts have had their impact because 36% of the deaths of these people are related to drug and alcohol addiction, and another 10% to It was a suicide effect.
Charitable organisations are concerned about the homelessness crisis.
According to the Independent, more than 30 charitable organisations in England recently told Rishi Sunak that they are worried about the government’s inability to fulfil its promise to end homelessness by 2024. In a letter to the Sunak government, these organisations pointed to the statistics and emphasised that the government is retreating from implementing its promise; They called on the UK government to take action to deliver on its promise to end homelessness. Rishi Sunak’s government has ignored the rising homelessness rate in England.
High growth in homelessness statistics in England
According to official statistics, homelessness in England has entered a new phase since 2020; homelessness in England has grown by 75% from 2020 to March 2023, and the lack of a place to sleep by 170%. Statistics show that in the first quarter of this year, more than 74,000 British households turned to local councils and asked for help due to being at risk of homelessness.
The criminalisation of homelessness by the UK Police
Studies show that the UK Police arrest them by criminalising homelessness. According to Guardian, 1,173 British homeless people have been arrested by the police since the government promised to abolish the two-century-old anti-vagrancy law. UK Police have arrested more than a thousand homeless people under the 19th-century law since 2021, as the government has made the repeal of the law conditional on its replacement with new rules.
Increasing criticism of the UK Police
The counteractive measure against antisocial behaviour, introduced by the cabinet of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as an alternative to the law mentioned above, has encountered substantial censure. Within this context, the charity organisation crisis has voiced concerns, asserting that the criminalisation of homelessness exacerbates tensions within suburban communities. Matt Downie, Chief Executive of Crisis, expressed strong disapproval, stating, “It is deeply troubling that an outdated and punitive law continues to be employed to penalise the most economically disadvantaged individuals, especially given the UK government’s commitment and enactment of legislation to rescind it.”
The high number of arrests of homeless people in England
According to the data collected by local government expert Jack Shaw, in the last five years, almost 4 thousand homeless people were arrested; The Metropolitan Police made the highest rate of homeless arrests. This expert said, “Criminalising the homeless does little to address the root causes of homelessness – and worse, homeless people may disengage with services that exist to support them if they feel unfairly targeted.”
UK Police excuse for arresting homeless people.
The Vagrancy Act Homelessness in England was passed in 1824 to clear temporary military camps of penniless soldiers after the Napoleonic Wars. Since then, this law has been an excuse for the police to arrest homeless people; Between 2008 and 2018, thousands of homeless people were prosecuted.
The worsening situation of child homelessness in England
Surveys show the worsening of child homelessness in England. According to Shelter, with the number of British homeless children passing the figure of 120 thousand, one out of every 100 children in England is homeless; This statistic is very worrying for children’s rights activists. The Shelter charity predicts that the number of homeless people, especially children in England, will increase due to the intensification of inflation and cost of living crises. A shelter analysis of the latest government data shows that 5,300 families live in shelters and emergency housing, widely considered the worst type of temporary accommodation. Families are often crowded into one room and forced to share sanitary facilities with strangers in these places.
Rishi Sunak’s government’s failure to solve the homelessness crisis
The escalating homelessness rate in England brings forth a multitude of adverse outcomes. Nevertheless, the challenge of homelessness within the UK has been consistently worsening due to the inability of successive governments to address the matter effectively. The failure of the government under UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to effectively tackle this crisis has prompted human rights organisations to voice significant apprehension regarding the plight of individuals enduring homelessness in the nation.