The message is clear: We don’t know how many homeless people there are, so we don’t know how many die each year.
According to The Guardian, we do know that “at least 78 homeless people died on the streets and in temporary accommodation this winter, bringing the number of recorded homeless deaths to more than 300 since 2013, research has shown.
“A former soldier, a quantum physicist and a 31-year-old man mourning the loss of his mother and brother were among those found dead in doorways, crowded shelters and tents pitched in freezing conditions since October last year.”
But that’s just the number of recorded homeless deaths.
The government can’t even tell us how many homeless people are in temporary accommodation!
Here‘s The Independent: “The true scale of homelessness in the UK is almost 10 times worse than official figures suggest, according to a new report.
“Homeless charity Justlife warns thousands of people are being ‘forgotten in statistics’ after it estimated that at least 51,500 people were living in B&Bs in the year to April 2016 – compared with 5,870 official B&B placements recorded by the government.”
If the number of homeless people who can be easily traced – because they are being housed temporarily in bed and breakfast accommodation – isn’t known to the government (who should be able to find out as local authorities have a statutory duty in this regard), then it is hopeless even trying to ask the Tories to trace the number of people sleeping rough.
I think that’s exactly the way they want it.
Consider: Conservatives in government have spent the last eight years trying to make survival as hard as possible for large numbers of people they think are undesirable – the long-term sick, the disabled, people who immigrated here to help when we needed them who the Tories have decided aren’t needed anymore (as the Windrush Generation discovered), the list goes on and on.
The Tories have tightened the social security system to an unheard-of degree in order to make it impossible for these people to survive in the current system. The benefit claimants find they cannot pay the bills, no matter what they do, and the immigrant citizens have found they have been told they are not entitled to any benefits – or indeed any jobs.
Sticking with these examples, the immigrant citizens might consider themselves the lucky ones, as many have been either jailed or deported (or both) but are (mostly) still alive – and can be traced. The same cannot be said for benefit claimants.
What happens to them after the government finally manages to kick them off-benefit? Nobody knows because the Tories deliberately choose not to check.
How many have become homeless? Nobody knows because the Tories deliberately choose not to check.
How many have died? Nobody knows because the Tories deliberately choose not to check.
And that’s the way they like it. If nobody knows, then nobody can blame the Tories – no matter how badly they deserve it.
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