Every single time I see some sort of statistics for homelessness and rough sleeping the figures only ever seem to go in one direction. And that is upwards, at an alarming rate of knots.
I take a special interest in this because of my families own personal circumstances. I can't understate the crisis, I'll leave that to the British mainstream media. I'm on the inside of these statistics, certainly not through choice, but I'm here, I can see the suffering, I can see what's really going on, and I promise you, its damn ugly. The taxpayer are funding private landlords with the most lavish lifestyles imaginable, and they (mostly) couldn't give a shit about their tenants all the time the inflated rent is rolling into their bank account. They know local authorities up and down the land simply do not have the homes, or even the most basic of accommodation for a family or individual that may have fallen upon hard times. Council's have people living in motorway service stations. I don't know how many, but 1 is 1 too many.
Here's an example of who wins: A row of 3 houses in my street, all 3 bedroomed, mid-terrace, on a council estate. All of the houses are virtually identical, very small, with small back gardens. One is rented privately by a working family for £795 a month. The other 2 are both ran by a letting agent on behalf of "their client" and let to Swindon Borough Council's homeless department, for a grand sum of £1275 per month, for each house. People need to understand, the chronic lack of homes means only one person benefits from the taxpayer, and that is the private landlord. I can absolutely guarantee you, this situation is going to get much much worse. The Tories benefit cap will make sure of that, just wait and see.
We now live in a society where false promises are the norm, and accepted. Where a plea for help is met with total silence. Less and less people give a shit about each other, everyone always wants a scapegoat for every problem. The government are happy to go along with that as it means they are not being blamed. This really gets to me.
They currently have Brexit and Cruella's visit to Tango-faced Trump causing a smokescreen for the shambolic mess they are causing in government. Your NHS is on the brink of collapse and Theresa May refuses to rule out allowing American Corps to slice it open with even deeper privatisation. Does that not tell you what the Tories really think of the NHS?
Anyway, the latest statistics for rough sleeping were released this week. I knew they were coming, I just didn't know how bad they would be. The headline figures make for horrific reading.
Since the Tories came to power in 2010, along with their Liberal Democrat co-defendants, rough sleeping has MORE THAN DOUBLED. On any one night there are 4,134 people sleeping on the streets. This is an increase of 16% on last year. In my opinion, in a country of such wealth, this should be a national scandal, not just a brief mention before we all start discussing what gifts the Prime Minister is taking over to Washington
Research by St Mungo's the homelessness charity, found 4 in 10 rough sleepers had mental health problems, 41% needed help with alcohol dependency and 31% with drug abuse. Its chief executive, Howard Sinclair, said cuts in welfare and services covering mental health, drug and alcohol abuse had contributed to the rise.
He said: "There is no single reason. People who end up on the streets are not just homeless and getting somewhere to stay is not the only problem. We have seen cuts to services as part of the austerity agenda but also a lack of affordable housing, particularly in the south."
Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of homelessness charity Crisis, said: "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. "Rough sleeping ruins lives, leaving people vulnerable to violence and abuse, and taking a dreadful toll on their mental and physical health. Our recent research has shown how rough sleepers are 17 times more likely to be victims of violence. This is no way for anyone to live."
I couldn't possibly agree more, Howard and Jon.
We have rough sleepers being fined for being homeless. How can anyone think that fining a person with no home and no money is actually going to achieve anything? Shall we just throw these poor people into the already overflowing prisons? Of course not. How does this fit in with Theresa May's "shared society"?
But anyway, none of this matters to most people. How many people look the other way when they see someone huddled up in a multi-storey car park or a shop doorway? In better times I used to go out with a friend weekly and drop off a few bits to them, stuff like toiletries and snacks. I've no idea if it really made much difference to their absolute despair, I can't explain the sorrow and hurt you could see in peoples eyes, but it meant I wasn't looking the other way and tutting at the sight of a human in a sleeping bag on the street because they really don't have anywhere else to go.
I feel quite angry right now. Angry at a country that has allowed this to happen. Angry at a government that made this happen through ideological austerity, cutting billions of pounds from budgets designed to help and protect the most vulnerable people in society. Angry at the growing number of billionaires (120 at the last count) that avoid paying huge amounts of tax while disabled people are having their money cut to £70 a week in the ESA Work Related Activity Group. Some of these people suffer from Parkinson's Disease, cancer and so many other life changing chronic illnesses and diseases. But hey, here's £10 a day to live off. Thanks a bunch Theresa.
This is a NATIONAL SCANDAL Theresa May. But why should you care, you want to rule the world with the repugnant misogynistic Trump. How vile.