The very idea that people can be homeless in our time, in this country, is just absurd. I’ve visited a fair few countries in the last couple of years and in some places, the “homeless problem” seems to be worse than in the U.K. The thing is, in any developed country there should be no excuse for having people sleeping on the streets.
In deciding to write this article I’ve done a little research. The first thing I discovered, which is actually common sense really, is that there is a difference between homelessness and sleeping rough. According to data from crisis.org there are over 100,000 homeless people in the U.K. When I first searched for this data, I was thinking more about those sleeping rough. I thought over a hundred thousand people sleeping rough in the country was a bit too high. I then got to reading about “hidden homelessness”, such as those living in hostels, squats and so on.
So, in terms of the number of people sleeping rough in the U.K., we are looking at between 3,500 and 4,000. This is apparently double the number in 2010. How is this happening in 2016? From what I’ve read, many of those sleeping rough also have physical and mental health problems. I don’t claim to know which causes which but as a society we need to do more.
I might be oversimplifying the issue a little, but just some workings out in my head… Let’s say that there are actually 10,000 sleeping rough in the U.K. Let’s say that it would cost £50,000 a year to look after each one of those people for food, shelter and medical care. That’s £500,000,000 a year, which is a lot of money, but there are just over 30,000,000 tax paying people in the country. It works out at about £16 a year from each taxpayer; less than £1.50 a month.
If you are reading this article, then I think it’s fairly safe to assume that you are not sleeping rough. If you are reading this article you must have access to the internet. We are approaching the time of year where people spend to excess, largely on things they do not need and will not get used. I would ask that you go online, find a charity for people sleeping rough or homeless people in your area and make a donation.
People should not be sleeping rough in 2016. The fact they are means we, as a society, have failed. We need to put it right.
Critic. Writer. Thinker. Observer. Creator of nowwelive.com.