The homelessness crisis demands radical solutions

A litany of failures in housing, health and the economy need to be addressed.

Dave Clements

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Topics Politics UK

The prime minister Boris Johnson has promised more funding to tackle homelessness. ‘It cannot be right in the 21st century that people are homeless or having to sleep on our streets’, he said.

The figures on homelessness are notoriously unreliable – not least because nobody can agree on what counts as homelessness in the first place – but they nevertheless paint a depressing picture. According to homelessness charity Crisis, sofa-surfing is the most common type of homelessness. In England in 2017, there were over 71,400 sofa-surfers who relied on friends and families to put them up. The number of households in England considered ‘officially’ homeless or at risk of being made homeless was 68,170 in 2019 – an increase of 11 per cent on 2018. The numbers in temporary accommodation – such as B&Bs or hostels – increased to 86,130, a rise of 4.5 per cent.

None of these figures include the 4,677 rough sleepers (over a quarter of them living on the streets of London) counted across the country on just one night last year – more than double the count in 2010. The annual figure is likely closer to 24,000 (around 9,000 of them in London), according to Crisis. Shelter put the total homelessness figure at 280,000 – the equivalent of one in every 200 people in England, and nearly one in 50 Londoners.

At this time of year there are many charitable initiatives to help those on the streets. Some have raised funds by taking to their rain-sodden tents in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff as part of the World’s Big Sleep Out, a celebrity-endorsed campaign of solidarity with the world’s homeless and displaced. A handful of volunteers in Wales have, on a smaller, more practical scale, converted a double-decker bus into a mobile night shelter complete with beds, showers and a kitchen.

The cultural set has also joined in. A video viewed over three million times on social media shows a homeless man asleep on a Birmingham bench being carried away by reindeer in a Banksy graffiti-piece. Gilbert and George are selling their artwork on dinner plates with proceeds going to East London shelters.

While these gestures in this season of goodwill are welcome, much needed and undeniably heart-warming, they are also depressingly inadequate. If it really is the case, as the prime minister says, that no family should be forced out of their home, and that nobody should have to live on the streets, then charity really shouldn’t be necessary. A long line of his predecessors – both in No10 and at City Hall – broke their promises to solve the problem. The current mayor, Sadiq Khan, invited 100 homeless people (or ‘vulnerable Londoners’, as he calls them) to City Hall on Christmas Eve. There was plenty of stuffing as they ate well and watched Elf, but not much meat on the bone: afterwards they all went back ‘home’ to their respective hostels.

As Shelter CEO Polly Neate puts it, ‘Our new government must confront and do something radical to change [the situation]’. So far the government has provided an additional £3million for this winter’s Cold Weather Fund. It will also make £63million of grant funding available for local authorities to support and accommodate rough sleepers. But while the money is needed – indeed, much more is needed – it is a rethink that is needed most. Labour leadership hopeful Keir Starmer has warned that homelessness is a ‘moral emergency’, citing projections that there could be 10,000 people sleeping on the streets by 2024 – ironically the date by which the Conservatives have pledged to end it altogether – unless there is a ‘cultural shift’ in the way the problem is understood. He is right.

Government needs to take homelessness much more seriously. In its narrowest sense, homelessness – as in literally having no roof over one’s head – could be ended almost overnight. People who are sleeping rough should be offered the money they need to find somewhere to live, to keep themselves clothed and fed, and to begin rebuilding their lives. We could do this by offering rough sleepers a personal budget, just as we already do for people assessed as having a social-care need. (Indeed, many people living rough or in shelters already have such needs, whether this is down to poor health, a disability, alcohol or drug problems, or being in an abusive relationship.) If the prime minister really does believe in people ‘taking control’ of their lives, he should give rough sleepers the opportunity to do so.

The causes of homelessness in its broadest sense are multiple and longstanding. But they are also avoidable. An undersupply of housing and stagnating living standards have caused rents and prices to spiral out of reach for many. An underfunded and mismanaged welfare system has failed to act as an effective safety net for those at risk of losing their homes. And mental-health services are unable to cope with the demands put upon them (not least thanks to today’s vogue for therapeutic solutions to social problems). Ultimately, homelessness is a product of the everyday instability that derives from our failure to tackle the UK’s structural economic problems.

But there could be cause for optimism. Tackling each and all of these issues requires the kind of 2020 vision you might expect of a new government with a large majority and an ambitious leader eager to get things (and not just Brexit) done.

Dave Clements is a writer, adviser to local government and founder of the Academy of Ideas Social Policy Forum.

Picture by: Getty

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Comments

Keith Lloyd

5th January 2020 at 9:52 pm

When we leave the EU I hope millions will return to their homelands, freeing up housing for those Britons who need it. I hope.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

5th January 2020 at 3:02 pm

Kick out the current residents of Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and St James Palace. Those buildings are not currently being used for any discernible purpose and so would make ideal homes for the homeless.

Jerry Owen

6th January 2020 at 9:10 am

And how many people will those buildings house ?
Probably one of your most pathetic posts… Apart from the ones where you still cry over Brexit, although it has to be said I do still enjoy those !

Gerard Barry

4th January 2020 at 3:23 pm

I know others have said it but it needs to be reiterated: one of the main reasons – if not the main reason – for the related problems of homelessness and unaffordable rents is mass immigration. And this isn’t just in the UK – it’s the same in my native Ireland and in Germany, where I currently live.

Never before have more people been homeless in Ireland yet the issue of immigration is hardly every mentioned when the problem is being discussed, despite the fact that the country’s population has increased by 50% over the past 30 years. And it’s not like we haven’t built a lot of new houses and apartments in that space of time – we have. But when the population increases very quickly, it’s difficult for builders to keep up. And let’s be honest: constantly building new houses to keep up with an ever increasing population is hardly sustainable.

I hope that the UK’s homelessness problem might improve thanks to Brexit and the resulting decline in immigration from EU countries but that will depend on the British government not making up for this decrease by issuing work permits to huge numbers of people from all corners of the globe to make up for the fall-off in EU immigration. Will the British government do what’s right for society as a whole or will they kowtow to big business and it’s desire for cheap, already trained labour from overseas, thus adding fuel to the fire that is homeless and spiralling rents?

Keith Lloyd

5th January 2020 at 9:46 pm

Quite so. The article ignores this function of mass immigration. I remember my late father saying that it would lead to a shortage of housing, medical staff, teachers, etc. He castigated the governments of the time (forties, fifties, sixties, seventies…) for not foreseeing the problems it would cause to indigenous people in Britain. Now we and our descendants are left to remedy this catastrophe.

Gerard Barry

6th January 2020 at 1:24 pm

Our governments of course have the answer to this: if there is a shortage of houses or medical staff, you simply import more foreign construction workers, doctors and nurses:)

Immigration seems to beget more immigration: a rising population leads inevitably to a need for more doctors, nurses, tradesmen, you name it. It seems very hard to break the cycle – not that governments in Western countries make much effort to do so.

Marvin Jones

6th January 2020 at 3:50 pm

Gerard, immigration and migrants have become as unmentionable as the P word and the N word. Any time one listens to debates and discussions on the state of the NHS, housing shortage or the size of the welfare bill, you will never hear a word about migrants. BUT! you will hear about the elderly living longer. The massive numbers of migrants and foreign residency in this country effects every part of this country’s problems. “EVERY!”

Gerard Barry

6th January 2020 at 7:20 pm

Ditto in Ireland (where I’m from) and Germany (where I now live).

dave kidd

4th January 2020 at 9:26 am

You say ‘We could do this by offering rough sleepers a personal budget’, but experience shows that once offered this would become the norm for a much higher proportion of the population. What is really needed is far far more houses. The government should aim for a million new homes a year not just the meager 200 thousand which is nearly taken account of by net immigration alone.

Major Bonkers

4th January 2020 at 11:58 am

On the other hand, instead of increasing the supply of housing, you could reduce demand by, for example, reducing immigration (but you’d be accused of being a wascally wacist) and/ or encouraging marriage (but then you’d be accused of being a religious bigot).

Violet Mila

4th January 2020 at 8:46 am

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H McLean

4th January 2020 at 12:56 am

The UK has an annual net migration of 300k. If that was sorted, pronto, then the housing shortage would subside greatly within a couple of years. Of course, it would take a politician of great courage to actually do something meaningful about gutting the current immigration laws and replacing them with policies that actually put the needs of Britons first, but it still needs to be done.

Also, as is evident by the escalating social crisis in California, throwing money at homelessness only makes it easier for more people to be homeless, making things worse. If you build it they will come!

When the Thatcher government adopted ‘Care in the Community’ in the 80s as a way of closing mental institutions it led to a massive increase in homelessness. Institutionalising patients led to a lot of abuses so it is obviously not the solution, but the current way of throwing money at the many charities only enriches the people running them, and little to enable people to live with dignity.

Linda Payne

4th January 2020 at 4:24 pm

If you have been on benefits especially for mental illness no employer wants you, however Charities are only too keen to use you as a volunteer for years on end, all the jobs go to the well off early retired with no health problems usually middle class, if you lose your benefits its tough luck you have to go on UC to find yourself sanctioned in the first month

Keith Lloyd

5th January 2020 at 9:49 pm

Institutional care for these people was far more humane than we are led to believe. There was much more humanity in the past than we see in our society today. So bring back the institutions that served the needs of the homeless.

Claire D

6th January 2020 at 8:06 am

I agree with you H Mclean partly, but just because mental institutions were not always ideal in the past does not mean they should be written off forever. Unfortunately abuse still sporadically happens and perhaps we can never eradicate it entirely but we can go on trying. Perhaps if the majority of places were successful and safe most of the time it would be worth trying a similar, though updated, system.

TONY TEE

3rd January 2020 at 10:16 pm

Homelessness is one part of the whole housing problem the root of which is that four letter word…rent . Devise a system that gets rid of rents (and therefore the private residential landlord)and the housing problem will eventually fall away. Alfred Russell Wallace had the answers more than a century ago

Major Bonkers

4th January 2020 at 12:00 pm

Yes, because council flats and houses are a byword for well-maintained, generously proportioned, and crime-free housing.

Ven Oods

5th January 2020 at 10:26 am

Not to mention that councils do actually charge rent. And it has to cover maintenance and repair of the property.
I wonder sometimes if schools nowadays hand out blinkers with the devalued certificates. Or perhaps it’s VR headsets.

jessica christon

4th January 2020 at 8:09 pm

I’m so glad you said this, it reminds me of a discussion I had with a colleague who was delighted that her adult son was moving out, because she wanted to rent out his en suite bedroom for at least £700 a month. Bearing in mind that the son was paying her £200 a month just to help with the bills, ahe wouldn’t have been out of pocket if she had the same arrangement with someone else, or even if she split the difference at £450 a month. But no, it has to be rented out at its ‘”market value”. It’s just pure greed writ large and I don’t know the solution except social housing, allocated on a general needs basis like it used to be.

MARK B

3rd January 2020 at 6:03 pm

We spend billions on foreign aid and yet, a problem literally on our doorstep and politicians pay only token lip service. I just it does not quite engender that same Liberal feel good factor ?

Ven Oods

5th January 2020 at 10:17 am

“We spend billions on foreign aid”

Well, India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities didn’t pay for themselves, you know…

Joyful Cynic

3rd January 2020 at 3:26 pm

2 Points – and I am coming from having been homeless and knowing plenty of people who have been/are.
Firstly if all those people taking part in the “Big sleep out” are that concerned about homelessness why do they not offer a roof to a homeless person? Be it a garage, or a floor inside a house surely that is better than no roof at all? That is before all those with actual spare bedrooms. If we all gave a homeless person a home the problem would disappear.
Secondly (and yes it does massively relate to the first part) until the government, charities, and concerned people stop ignoring the elephant in the room nothing will change. That elephant is personal responsibility and decision making. Nobody seems to want to face up the fact that for some people in difficulty a significant part of the cause is their own choices – and until we do face up to that nothing will change.

Ven Oods

5th January 2020 at 10:15 am

“Firstly if all those people taking part in the “Big sleep out” are that concerned about homelessness why do they not offer a roof to a homeless person?”

I’m guessing it’s because they prefer look-at-me gesturing (however uncomfortable) to putting themselves out in any longer-lasting way.
Virtue-signalling within tent, perhaps?

Linda Payne

3rd January 2020 at 1:23 pm

I heard that in Germany there was a scheme where they gave homeless street sleepers a few thousand euros to help them, a lot of people thought they would just spend the money on drugs and drink it turned out they used it to get a roof over their head with a view to getting their lives back together, in this country homeless people are constantly seen as having ‘complex needs’ which is a euphemism for mentally ill addict, but give them the means to have a roof over their heads and they will use it, just human like the rest of us

Martyn Baker

3rd January 2020 at 1:48 pm

They’d need a lot more than a few thousand euro for a roof in London. Even elsewhere it would only go for a couple of months. Nobody is suggesting that homeless people are immoral, the problem is practical. Half a reasonable income goes in rent these days.

Michael Gilday

3rd January 2020 at 12:10 pm

I have mixed feeling regarding the causes in the surge in homelessness and regarding homelessness itself. I can remember back as far as 1973 when I began a career in catering in Bradford. Outside the back entrances of the city centre hotels would be a queue of homeless, (mainly alcoholics,) looking for a day’s work, cash-in-hand, doing dishwashing and kitchen cleaning. Many of these people were around short periods of time before in (many cases) they died prematurely. It was an eye opener for me as I had never seen or encountered this type of problem before. Over a few years of working in various public hotel bars and doing relief pub management I did come across some of these people from time to time and knew them by name.
There was one chap from Glasgow who had been a nurse until he was suspended for twenty-five years for causing the death of a patient due to administering the wrong dose of medication; or so I was informed. He was lived at the Salvation Army and worked many years at one particular hotel. He died a few months before his ban was lifted, but he would certainly never have been able to return to his original profession as he was a typical Glaswegian of his era and his language was foul.
There were others who the Salvation Army would not tolerate due to excessive alcohol consumption. They would sleep rough often on park benches wrapped in newspaper. During the 80’s and much of the 90’s I hardly ever came across homelessness due to working in rural locations around the country. So, when I visited Bournemouth in the late 90’s, I was shocked to see many people camped in doorways begging. I even noted that the squirrels in the park begged.
So, homelessness is far from a new problem it has been exasperated by various factors:
1. The change from Income Support to ESA (which Labour introduced under Tony Blair lead eventually to people finding themselves unable to work and their benefits stopped. This due to how badly it was implemented caused evictions as people no longer had an entitlement to Housing Benefit.
2. The large influx of migrant labour from Europe and Asylum Seekers put a massive strain on all social provision. If you have 3.5 million people coming to live and work in the UK from the EU it is bound to put pressure on local services. If all those British Citizens working or retired in European countries were to return and all those from the EU were to return, there would be 2 million people less in the UK. This is staggering a population decrease the size of Birmingham. There would be little, or no housing shortage and other local services would no longer be under immense pressure. GP surgeries with eight week waiting list like in Leicester would be instantly reduced to a day or two. Schools would be under less strain to accommodate pupils and so forth.
3. Tony Blairs Government policy which wanted to create a multi-cultural Britain never considered the need for house building first or where people coming from abroad would live. The belief that long term unemployed should be given support back into work, regardless of mental health or physical disability. Under Gordon Brown changes to housing entitlement where couples and single people were no longer entitled to having more than one-bedroom accommodation really began the rot.
4. This policy opened the door to the Conservatives under Cameron and Osborne to penalise the long term unemployed further with the application of austerity measures applied to benefits. The introduction of more draconian ESA measures and eventually Universal Credit.
Even back in the 1970’s it was accepted that around 700,000 people were unemployable due to illness, disability and mental health issues. Labour had reduced unemployment by forcing nationalised industries to take on people with no skills. I remember it being reported that some working for these industries went to work night shifts and were provided with beds as they were surplus to requirements and had no skills worth offering to the employers. It was when Margaret Thatcher came into office that there was a shake up and this practice died. It was the introduction under John Major of Income Support and the introduction of disability benefits that changed homelessness by providing financial security to those unfit for whatever reason to work. And so we return to number 1 I listed above. Successive governments of all persuasions have played a key role in the excessive increase in homelessness in recent years. But the biggest culprit by far that set the ball rolling was the Labour Government of Tony Blair.

Andy Bolstridge

3rd January 2020 at 12:47 pm

Absolutely. The author decries the undersupply of housing, but completely ignores the overdemand of migration. I understand (from the Guardian no less!) that roughly half of the London’s homeless are from Eastern Europe, and can’t help but add these unfortunate homeless with the lack of supply of workers in Eastern European countries that absolutely would love to have them back home working. So we not only have a problem, but we not only make it worse but also create more problems to boot!

And all because of an ideology that says “migrants good” and anyone who disagrees must be racist. 280,000 homeless, but 6 or 7 million extra people via migration – surely there are houses to spare back in their home countries, maybe the money spent on helping these people would be most effective by giving them the bus ticket to return to a decent life back home.

Jim Lawrie

3rd January 2020 at 2:24 pm

You have all the BBC prejudice about Glaswegians. I doubt your Glaswegian existed. How did he qualify in the first place with language so bad as not to be able to return? A male nurse in Glasgow in the 40’s?

jessica christon

4th January 2020 at 8:20 pm

I was on UC for a couple of months last year after my redundancy. I found it quite straightforward and the jobcentre staff were well meaning and helpful (I was terrified of being sanctioned when I was hospitalised for a few days but they were really nice about it and rearranged my appointment), but I didn’t like being broke and consider myself lucky to have gotten back into employment fairly quickly.

Joyful Cynic

3rd January 2020 at 3:36 pm

I have (due to health problems) been on Income support, then ESA, and now UC. ESA was an improvement on Income support and UC is a massive improvement. On income support, I was told “you are sick you are useless, go home sit on the sofa and do nothing on the government’s dime” On ESA I was told “you are sick but not useless, unfortunately, you don’t fit our box go sit on the sofa etc etc” On UC I am being told “you are sick, how can we find a box that fits what you can do”. On IS I had no future. On ESA a future was imaginable. On UC I have a future.

Gerard Barry

4th January 2020 at 3:27 pm

Interesting post but I’m a bit confused about this part:

“He was lived at the Salvation Army and worked many years at one particular hotel.”

Did this man work full-time at the hotel? If so, why was he not able to afford a place to stay?

Jerry Owen

3rd January 2020 at 11:59 am

Anecdotal..
My village ( I have lived on and off in ) has doubled in size in the last forty years. Forty years ago I never heard a foreign voice never saw a black face, indeed we had only one brown face from Mauritia.
Today I can walk to the centre of my village and not hear an English voice just eastern European ( we have three Polish car hand washes ..ie money laundering), we also have a large Indian population.
To try and argue that immigration has no impact on housing as some here try to argue is pure hogwash.

Jerry Owen

3rd January 2020 at 12:01 pm

*Mauritius*

Major Bonkers

4th January 2020 at 3:25 pm

I suggest that your car washers are more likely to be Albanian, Romanian, and even Kurdish than Polish. It is quite possible that they are illegal immigrants, trafficked into this country, and working illegally.

Poles, generally, are well educated, industrious, and keep their noses clean. Because they are part of the EU, they also have a right to live and work in the UK.

michael mccarthy

5th January 2020 at 9:41 pm

So do Romanians.

Jerry Owen

6th January 2020 at 9:16 am

Some are Polish and some I believe are Albanian.
As for their legality to be here that isn’t the issue, it’s about numbers of people coming here isn’t it ?
And yes the Polish can be industrious, I would be extremely industrious living over there if I could work for five years come back buy a plot of land and build a home on it !

Matt Ryan

3rd January 2020 at 10:49 am

Without reliable figures for actual homeless people (those on the streets) you can’t start to make any effective policy. Like (relative) poverty, charities who are in this space will big up the problem as it’s their reason to exist. It’s likely there are < 10,000 actual homeless and the bulk of these will have difficult mental health issues that cause the problem. They are offered help, but can't or won't take it. So from a central planning perspective (government) the problem is actually non-existent.

Martyn Baker

3rd January 2020 at 10:48 am

Homeless people do have access to money benefits plus rent for hostels. The problem with giving them the going rate in rent for a decent flat is obvious.

Thomas Laird

3rd January 2020 at 10:41 am

‘It cannot be right in the 21st century that people are homeless or having to sleep on our streets’

Really!? Wait! What? All of them? You met them all? Aside from wtff the temporal determination possibly has to do with it( You might as well claim it can’t be right because it’s the 3rd of January or half past Friday)Where else do you want the homeless to live? In the woods? In Wembley stadium?
There’s more, way more to homelessness than just not having a roof over your head. There are all kinds of social problems involved. Not least of all chronic substance abuse.
What do you do with someone housed, and re- housed but keeps violating the rules because 1. Don’t set fire to the place 2. Don’t fuck with your neighbours are just two rules too many?😜
And while you bleat on about the plight. Do you care enough to give a paranoid schizophrenic your kid’s room and move them in to yours?
How about the value of your property that you love boring everyone shitless with at dinner parties. Are you prepared to see it halfed because we’re building thousands of new high quality low priced houses that make your overpriced wank nest in Islington look like shit?

Nah. Didn’t think so.

Ven Oods

5th January 2020 at 10:19 am

So, Thomas – stop beating about the bush and tell us what you really think.

Korina Wood

3rd January 2020 at 10:13 am

Lets take some of that wasted Foreign Aid budget and build some suitable accommodation around the nation. Not In London, that is a cesspit that attracts all the wrong people and not the place to help the rough sleepers. Focus of the Government now should be on things outside of London.

Mike Stallard

3rd January 2020 at 9:23 am

Immigrants: lots of them round here. Several of them brought over and dumped. Our Church copes with such people but only if they allow us to do so.
Family: no extended family any more (cp travellers and Muslims). So if men just walk away they have nowhere to live very often and nobody cares about them.
Alcohol and drug abuse: No comment…

Positive remark: prefabricated housing is easy nowadays.

Andy Bolstridge

3rd January 2020 at 12:50 pm

the problem with building more housing is partly that it does not solve the other underlying issues (around jobs, resources and services), but its quite difficult to build in the places where the homeless are – because those are already massively developed.

So you can build a million new homes in the wilds of Northumberland, but that isn’t going to solve any housing problems in Camden.

Ven Oods

3rd January 2020 at 9:09 am

If only those homeless folk were “making over $15k every month just by doing an easy job online” (which we’re daily reassured is a doddle) the problem would surely disappear.
I’ll be interested to see how (and if) the new BoJo set tackle homelessness.
My prediction is that lots of badly-built housing will be thrown up and we’ll have a different (but just as serious) problem in 10 years time. And that will be worsened if net immigration continues at present levels.

Sofia Avery

3rd January 2020 at 6:18 am

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Jim Lawrie

3rd January 2020 at 12:53 am

The number of rough sleepers in London more than doubled between 2000 and 2010 when Labour were in power and mass immigration in full swing. The number of homeless trebled. But you choose 2010 as your starting point. The publicity stunts are politically motivated against The Conservatives by people who do not care about the homeless when Labour is in power.

Danny Rees

3rd January 2020 at 3:04 am

I was waiting for someone here to blame immigration for homelessness in this country.

Thanks.

Geoff Cox

3rd January 2020 at 8:23 am

Hi Danny – I respect you have different views on this, but the population of the UK has gone up by about 10m in 20 years (round figures) – that’s getting on for 20%. According to Migration Watch 90% of the increased demand for housing can be accounted for by migration and children of migrants. Population increase has had a huge impact on the country and I don’t think it has been a good one on balance, particlarly when you think of where we could have been with a manageble, declining population and thus an eventual increase in standard of living and quality of life.

Jim Lawrie

3rd January 2020 at 11:24 am

Geoff there are many illegals in this country. According to figures on bus usage, food consumption, vehicle numbers and sewage volume, the population is around 75m. Unless the official number of new arrivals, including children, each have a car, travel everywhere by bus, eat three times as much as us and therefore and spend an awful lot of time in the cludgie.

Contrary to what is propagandised, new housing is at an all time high. One thing to watch out for is that figures for “new” housing quoted by the left now often exclude, by definition, conversions of existing dwellings into smaller units, and conversions of lofts, pubs, churches, schools, offices, factories, warehouses, barns, garages etc … They also make no estimate for the many off grid edifices put up in back gardens as a response to the demand. An aerial view of Southall will show you what I mean.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4839267/immigrants-sheds-garages-southall-west-london/

Jim Lawrie

3rd January 2020 at 11:36 am

“I was waiting for someone here to blame immigration for homelessness in this country.

Thanks.”

That’s okay Danny. I would do anything to put you out of your misery. Just say the word.

Jerry Owen

3rd January 2020 at 11:47 am

Absolutely Danny.. and about time too , my regards to Jim.
The author missed the rather large elephant in the room.

Danny Rees

3rd January 2020 at 3:06 am

There is two “explanations” for immigration being to blame for homelessness.

1.Immigrants are being given council houses above indigenous British people.

2.There is not enough homes built to cater for the influx of immigrants coming into this country which impacts on British people.

Which is it?

Billy McGarrity

3rd January 2020 at 7:58 am

Its both, yet more and it affects migrants as much as Brits.

Some years back I was unfortunate enough to be in a position to require homelessness help. Myself, my wife and first child were placed in a “B&B” (it was an old converted pub) – the vast majority of people housed there were immigrants.

Jim Lawrie

3rd January 2020 at 11:04 am

The homeless are indigenous.

The rules on council housing were written before the advent of the contraceptive pill and so immigrants go to the top of the queue. No matter how much the indigenous and their forebears have contributed. Your questions acknowledge that the problem is immigration. You prefer to personalise it with the word immigrants. No doubt building up to your usual emotional outburst.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

3rd January 2020 at 8:46 am

Utter bilge. Jim Lawrie with his usual hatred of foreigners. Pathetic little man.

Ven Oods

3rd January 2020 at 9:03 am

Pithily argued, ZB. That’ll show him!

Jim Lawrie

3rd January 2020 at 11:05 am

Where have I expressed hatred of foreigners?

Jim Lawrie

3rd January 2020 at 11:33 am

I do have to concede Zenobia that when it comes to bilge you are the undisputed champion on here, and well able to put Danny to flight.

Jerry Owen

3rd January 2020 at 11:50 am

ZP Your intellect is astonishing.
Do you have a counter argument as well?

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

3rd January 2020 at 12:42 am

Like the Tories give a damn about the homeless. Thatcher, Tebbit et al would have personally bludgeoned them were it legal. A shameful party of warped Mammon-worshippers.

brent mckeon

3rd January 2020 at 7:32 am

You have proof of your opinions, ie have interacted in conversations with said Tories or know/trust someone who has?

Melissa Jackson

3rd January 2020 at 7:58 am

To play devil’s advocate – Why should anyone give a damn about the homeless? Does it matter if you personally care if you enact effective policies?

Who cares more about homelessness; the candidate who says to give each homeless person £10mil and a room at the Ritz, or the candidate who says he’ll invest a bit more into shelters and services?

When you talk about issues as, effectively, a moral imperative divorced from economic concerns you are missing the point of what government is. The “caring” part is PR. To say “I care more” is not an argument, it’s a lack of an argument.

Mike Stallard

3rd January 2020 at 9:27 am

But they get in the way. You trip over their blankets in the street and they look awful – another reason I always shop in a Mall like Tesco.

Claire D

3rd January 2020 at 9:56 am

Good point Melissa, and it’s the reason to never trust emotional statements used by politicians, they are either being manipulative or hysterical.

Dominic Straiton

3rd January 2020 at 11:13 am

If your homeless in the UK you are not poor by world standards. If most homeless gave up heroin theyd easily have enough money (£200) to be in the richest 10% on earth.

Noggin The nog

3rd January 2020 at 7:33 pm

This is a very important and well written article. Hopefully BOJO and his new cabinet will begin to search for solutions for this crisis. One point…Zenobia Palmyra is a SJW Troll. It is best to ignore it.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

5th January 2020 at 3:03 pm

Better a SJW than a bourgeois tool.

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