Addressing the homelessness crisis in London demands steadfast commitment from Rishi Sunak’s government. Shockingly, statistics indicate that one in 50 Londoners has resorted to emergency or temporary accommodation due to homelessness. What strategies have community initiatives adopted to prevent homelessness? Moreover, what specific actions does the UK government need to take to tackle the escalating rough sleeping crisis in the city?
An increase of 17 thousand homelessness in London
According to homelessness data, the London Council approximates that almost 170,000 individuals in the capital currently reside in hostels, emergency shelters, or other temporary accommodations. This demographic reportedly surged by an additional 17,000 people within a year.
Child homelessness on the rise in London
The London Council’s assessment indicates that over 83,000 children constitute a part of this figure. Numerous individuals in London find themselves homeless, facing life on the streets. According to the Council, the count of children residing in emergency accommodations mirrors the presence of one child in every classroom across the capital.
The uncontrollable nature of London’s homelessness crisis
Efforts to aid vulnerable communities in the capital still need to meet expectations. Over five years, the number of individuals residing in temporary accommodation within the British capital rose by approximately 5,400. However, the reduction witnessed in 2021-2022 was overshadowed by a significant surge of 17,000 individuals in 2022-2023. London councils caution that the city’s homelessness crisis is spiralling further out of control due to escalating living expenses and an acute shortage of permanent housing.
Extending the duration of stays for homeless individuals in affordable emergency lodging
The researchers also found that the number of London families staying in rough accommodation (very cheap B&Bs where the homeless are temporarily housed) has increased significantly beyond the six-week limit. In the year ending April 2023, this number increased by 782 per cent and reached 146 to 287 families. The number of families placed in B&Bs after losing their homes doubled between April 2022 and April 2023, from 1,543 to 3,242.
Homeless deaths on the rise in London
A support centre in London announced that 1,313 people in England died of homelessness last year, an 85% increase in 2019. The centre reported that since 2019, more than 4,000 people have lost their lives due to homelessness in England, and currently, a homeless person dies every six and a half hours.
Causes of Homeless Deaths in London
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% of them being under 65 years of age.
Cut off health care services for women
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.
9% increase in sleeping cartons in London
Reports show a 9% increase in the rate of homelessness in London, the capital of the UK, compared to last year, and inflation and the increase in the cost of housing are known to be the main reasons for the rise in the rate of homelessness in the city. The research conducted by the London City Council members showed that from April to June 2023, three thousand 272 citizens were struggling with the problem of sleeping in cardboard boxes. This is even though the number of homeless people in the city in 2022 was recorded at 2,998 during the same period.
Increasing female homelessness in London
Although an estimated 83.6% of the British capital’s rough-and-tumble citizens are men, there are reports of an alarming increase in the number of women spending the night in public spaces asking for help from others for food and shelter. Supporting vulnerable populations in the capital has caused the crisis to increase due to the conservative government’s insufficient measures.
Homelessness on the rise in London
The results of various studies show that the number of women and girls between the ages of 18 and 25 in the city who turn to sleeping bags is increasing, and interestingly, most of them are addicted to various drugs, especially crack. Many experts have predicted that despite the increasing rate of sleeping in cardboard boxes among Londoners, this problem will continue to rise and lead to many problems in the winter.
Government support for the homeless in the Covid-19 era
In the initial phases of the COVID-19 outbreak, London authorities promptly implemented measures to decrease the number of citizens sleeping in cardboard boxes. Consequently, many individuals previously displaced in streets and public spaces were relocated to refurbished social houses and parking lots and settled in hotels. However, after a relatively brief period, the rate of homelessness among citizens surged again, nearly matching pre-COVID-19 levels.
The reason for the increase in the rate of sleeping rough in London
Many researchers have attributed the reason for this to the lack of continuous support from the administrators to the displaced citizens of the city and the reduction of costs for housing. On the other hand, the significant increase in mortgage interest and rents over the past few decades has fueled people’s homelessness, while the increase in the cost of living due to high inflation has intensified the level of homelessness among people.
Homelessness of Romanians on the streets of London
Supporting vulnerable populations in the capital has been fruitless. Reports indicate that 11% of London’s homeless are Romanians, and their number is increasing every day. Many of these people have claimed that they do not even have access to enough food due to lack of money, and they live in London only in the hope that after their identity documents are verified, they can find suitable jobs and continue living in residential houses.
Increasing criticism of the UK government on the homeless issue
The homeless phenomenon has hit the most important streets of London. Their attendance is higher than in all previous years. With the increase in the cost of living, the lack of housing, and the increase in poverty, the increase in the death rate is also the result of long waiting lines in the health sector. On the other hand, the UK government has been heavily criticised for giving weapons to Ukraine and other countries while its people live on the streets due to the lack of facilities to help.
Rishi Sunak’s failure to end the homelessness crisis
Presently, in London, there’s a noticeable rise in individuals living their lives in public spaces, and a significant portion of them, grappling with drug addiction, seek out extremely inaccessible locations to evade law enforcement. Observers foresee a looming humanitarian crisis if immediate steps aren’t taken to mitigate the surge in homelessness in London. Despite the UK government’s prior pledge to eradicate homelessness nationwide by 2024, the daily escalation in rough sleeping rates in the capital has rendered this goal unattainable.