Thursday, 15 September 2011

communities falling apart and at the seams



The numbers of homeless people, that’s men women and children without a place they can call ‘there own home’ has risen by 17%, according to the latest figures released by the Government.

The statistical information published recently by the Department for Communities and Local Government, measured the rate of homelessness between April and June this year.

A total of 11,820 applicants were accepted by local authorities as being legitimately homeless, in need of "homeless help" and therefore eligible to go on to a council house waiting list. This figure is 17% higher than in the same quarter in 2010.

Homeless charity Shelter says the rise should act as a warning to the Government and have called for an end to cuts. But Housing Minister Grant Shapps said that despite the recent rise, homelessness was still at an "historic" low level.

For those that don’t know, the effects of experiencing homelessness can mentally scar a person for the rest of their life. And I would like to think that I know what I am talking about, having spent a period of my own life without an abode. I don’t tell you this lightly or is it a badge that I wear on my sleeve, but sometimes you have to share information so that others you hope will at least start to understand. For me my journey through the maze of homelessness came to an end ten years ago. And yes it is like a maze, a  complex system of paths and tunnels in which it is easy to get lost and a great many do. 


Whenever I consider homelessness I always put it into context and circumstance, and of course’ around the world, for it is and I am sure readers will appreciate, a condition not alien or contained to Britain alone.  The number of homeless people around the world varies widely among countries. For example, an estimated 3 million people are homeless in Europe, with up to 1,200 homeless people registering as such every night in Brussels the home to our European Parliament. In Brazil, there is a deficit of 6.6 million housing units, and 20 million homeless people, who live in favelas, shared clandestine rooms, hovels or under bridges and viaducts, or are squatters, in some of the county’s largest cities. 

Chapter and verse can be given of the condition we call homelessness, so as I move back to the point of this post, some more interesting and yes...Oh, so shocking’ statistics...

Close to home; Scotland has 40,123 homeless applications accepted in 2008-09 More than 505 are asked to leave their accommodation following domestic issues. I think this really is fascinating!” Well what I mean is, here we have evidence, that the family unit as favoured by capitalism’ is breaking down?”

Ireland has an estimated 2,366 people homeless in the city of Dublin every night.

Do you know what really takes the the bloody biscuit?"

We in the UK have the highest levels of homelessness in Europe, with more that 4 people per 1,000, are estimated to be homeless.

The truth is that no one can say with any conference or certainty, just how many are homeless?

I know from my own experience that there are pockets, and large pockets of homeless people, and what some wrongly call an under-class in these areas. They have had, a long and probably well established family history and connection. And its another story altogether, why and how this has come about, but the thing is...It has.

These communities are falling apart and at the seams, but still there remains something good lingering amongst these people, and in time I think it will come to the surface in service, and once more when its needed the most. In the meantime these people will for a time continue to be ripped off by the establishment both locally and nationally. They will continue to be displaced and treated with disrespect in their own backyard. I know people who sleep in the corridors of if you like...other peoples flats or maisonettes, these homeless people have more of a local connection than those who now live in the many flats they once grew up in and played and made friendships amongst. It is amazing that a hostel that holds 500 single and otherwise homeless men, stands facing opposite a new modem, block of penthouse suite’s for sale private apartments now under construction in Canning Town

What’s happening in my locality is happening everywhere, how can you describe a system which all over the world denies people and keeps them back from the most basic requirement - shelter. 

Property and ownership lies at the hart of everything that both Thatcher and Reagan did when they were in office, their policies in there different ways transferred economic power from the state into private hands in which the market dominates, and housing is such an example, and now of course its that which is falling apart, and very well demonstrated in the article by Patrick Butler that I highlighted here yesterday on the homeless crisis in middle-England.

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