As with all places, and especially big cities, the uber-wealthy live side by side with the impoverished. Unfortunately, this has always been- just read a Dicken’s novel! But why in a city known for its wealth and advancement is this still happening? And not only still happening, but with rough sleeping on a rapid rise in London, why is it not at least improving?
The number of people sleeping rough in England on any one night had doubled since 2010! And increased by 30% in the last year.
Campaigners dedicated to eradicating homelessness have been left dismayed after official figures show the number of people sleeping rough in England has risen for the sixth year in a row!
Jon Sparkes the chief executive of the charity organisation Crisis condemned the rise saying,
Behind these statistics are thousands of desperate people! Sleeping in doorways, bin shelters, stations and parks. Anywhere they can find to stay safe and escape the elements. (The Guardian)
So, why such a sharp switch in the opposite direction? Considering that homelessness was appearing to be tackled in the early 2010s, leading many to envision its end completely!
The Guardian‘s Amelia Gentleman explains how higher rents, cuts to council services and migration have contributed to a sharp increase in the number of homeless people on the streets of the capital
With the cost of living in London only increasing and house prices in the millions, it is one of the most expensive cities to live. Mix that with the housing crisis, cuts in funding to services and a recession and you can see how the issue is escalating!
Those who don’t have high earning jobs in the city struggle to pay rent! And if they aren’t eligible for welfare, they may indeed find themselves sleeping rough!
Moreover, charitable organisation Streets of London demonstrate how anybody could find themselves homeless! Such examples show just how close many of us could be to sleeping rough ourselves,
We want to challenge the perception that homeless people are any different from the rest of us. Homelessness begins when something bad happens and you don’t have family or friends around to help. It could happen to any of us. Relationship breakdown, redundancy, poor mental health, alcohol/substance addiction, domestic abuse – these are just some of the reasons why people end up homeless.
With this select information and tons more out their, the situation seems rather bleak and beyond help! But you would be wrong, as Crisis outlines, homelessness is not inevitable.
With collective action and political will, we can end it once and for all.
Further, they go on to outline the ways in which the crisis could change for the better,
To end homelessness, we need to understand and change the factors which cause it and make it worse. Issues such as the availability of affordable housing, legislation and the benefits system are part of this. (Crisis)
Being aware, volunteering to local charities, even donating as little as a cup of coffee all add up to helping the thousands who will find this winter even more cold and treacherous.
If you would like to make a difference, be aware, read statistics, sign petitions, write letters of concern to your council. As the saying goes, every little helps! And maybe one day, everyone will have homes to go to when the rain falls over England’s capital…