Tackling Homelessness – https://bit.ly/2RlW3Fj
A new report from the NPC – Tackling the homelessness crisis: Why and how you should fund systemically – is aimed at funders and philanthropists who want to tackle this complex and increasingly visible societal challenge but don’t know where to start.
It is clear that homelessness is on the rise. The Government’s own statistics show us the huge increases in rough sleeping and temporary accommodation across the country. A walk through any one of our local urban centres will tell you that the issue is growing, complex and in urgent need of effective action.
The report rightly highlights that the main cause of homelessness is an already existing state of poverty. Whilst broader systemic and societal failure contribute towards making and keeping people homeless, ‘Poverty is the single most powerful explanation of why people become homeless’.
Homelessness is about more than sleeping rough, with those in temporary accommodation and those who number amongst the ‘hidden homeless’ featuring too. A lack of a home is a primary indicator of poverty. Temporary accommodation provides a roof without any of the certainty that a home provides. This lack of certainty means people are unable to effectively recover, study, work and engage with support services and society at large. This particularly affects the young who then take this experience of poverty into their adult lives leading to further engagement with the inadequate system as the same failures are repeated.
Some of the statistics quoted in the report are truly shocking:
- 103,000 young people under threat of homelessness reported to their local authority. The true figure of young people under threat will be much, much higher.
- 38,390 single parent families in England alone, 63% of families in temporary accommodation but only 23% of families across the country.
- 15% of male and 13% of female short stay prisoners released onto the streets without a home to go to.
The subsequent impact and the circular nature of poverty is striking, obvious and complex.
But, a clear elucidation of the shocking, current situation is not enough, solutions are needed and the report was written to encourage and direct funders.
Some of the suggested solutions include ‘trauma informed approaches’, improved service navigation and integration, tackling the housing market dysfunction and the funding of better data, research and evidence bases.
Alongside the financial, societal and moral impacts of the crisis, it is the enormous human cost that tells the starkest story.
The report ends with a dedication which bears repeating;
‘This report is dedicated to the memories of the 449 homeless people who died while homeless between October 2017 and October 2018.
They included a former soldier, a quantum physicist, a travelling musician, a father of two who volunteered in his community, and a chatty Big Issue seller. Some died on the streets, while others died in temporary accommodation or hospital beds. Some died in the winter and others in the summer heatwave. They were as young as 18 and as old as 94. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism worked with local journalists, charities and grassroots groups to gather information about them and tell their stories.
You can read them here:
Every single one of these deaths is a tragedy.
We owe it to them to do all we can to end homelessness. We hope that this report will play a small part in the huge change that is needed to reverse the homelessness crisis.’
Gareth Snaith, Contract Performance Manager, 3SC