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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 October 2016

Homeless told to sleep rough: councils must build housing

Councils have told homeless people to sleep rough in order to get help

Councils have told homeless people to sleep rough in order to get help   (Click to enlarge)

Jack Jeffery, homelessness support worker

Homeless charity St Mungo's has released a report detailing that many of its clients had been advised by councils to sleep rough before they could access services.

This will ring true with anyone who works in housing. A combination of rising rents, diminishing social housing, and vindictive cuts to benefits are pushing more and more people into homelessness.

I work for a homeless charity in London that runs a small shelter for around 30 people. The conditions aren't glamorous; the shelter consists of four large rooms turned into bedrooms in the evening by bringing out camp beds.

Despite this, most mornings there are two to three people sleeping on the step outside. Unfortunately, now it's October, the shelter is already full. The best we can offer them is a place on our growing waiting list as all the other shelters are full.

Right-wing politicians and newspapers often paint homeless people as irresponsible and unable to manage a normal life. However, a look at the government's own statistics shows the most common cause of homelessness is the end of a shorthold tenancy. Hardly surprising in a country where rents soar while wages stagnate.

The new Homelessness Reduction Bill, a private member's bill introduced by a Tory backbencher, is due for its second reading on 28 October.

This might improve the standard of advice given by councils. But ultimately it will do little to help, because a clause guaranteeing all non-priority homeless applicants 56 days of emergency accommodation was deemed 'not feasible' by parliament's local government and communities committee. It is likely to be removed.

What would end homelessness? Secure social housing, jobs, a living wage and living benefits for all - which will only be won through struggle. It will be never granted by a government which cares more about ensuring Britain is 'open for business' than looking after the people business exploits for profit.

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In The Socialist 26 October 2016:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Protest and strike to save our NHS

Health campaigners announce national NHS demo

Hundreds march and rally to defend Tyneside hospital


Socialist Party news and analysis

'Jungle' camp destruction is no solution

Welsh budget: Labour government makes Tory cuts

Academies mired in debt and corruption

Homeless sleeping rough: councils must build housing

Four in five self-employed workers living in poverty


Corbyn & Labour

Readmit expelled socialists

Wallasey whitewash must be condemned

Battle in Leeds council over care home closure


Jarrow March for Jobs 2011

Jarrow March: an inspiring show of solidarity between workers and youth


Socialist Party workplace news

Teaching assistant pledges ongoing fight against pay cuts

A day in the life of a midwife

Striking Sheffield bin workers picket scabs

Crossrail sparks get organised

Unison higher education seminar points no way forward over pay


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Housing campaigners meet to plan resistance to the Housing Act

Why I joined the Socialist Party: "I really can't wait for Socialism 2016"

"We are all Daniel Blake!"


International socialist news and analysis

US presidential election: The disastrous failure of 'lesser evilism'

Ireland: Jobstown protester found guilty


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Book review: Fighting racism in football

TV: No Place to Call Home

Socialist inbox


 

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