It is scandalous that, in the world’s fifth-largest economy, it has been discovered that at least 449 people have died in the last year – one every 19 hours over the last six months.
This is on top of figures showing that between 2017 and 2018, the same number of homeless people died.
After that statistic was published, the Office for National Statistics said it would produce its own numbers. Where are they?
You see, it is also scandalous that these figures have been derived from coroners’ enquiries, media coverage, family testimony and freedom of information requests by the Museum for Homelessness.
It is triply scandalous that many of the deaths – of people ranging in age from 16 to 104 – happened while people were living in temporary accommodation that was unfit for that purpose.
And a fourth scandal is that homeless people have been denied access to basic healthcare, with “perceived stigma and discrimination” in health settings causing “unnecessary deaths”, according to the University of Birmingham.
Of course campaigners have called for Boris Johnson to take action, with demands ranging from an increase in Housing Benefit to cover the full cost of renting a home, to building more affordable homes.
And there have been demands for the government to investigate the causes of these deaths.
But BoJob is too busy pretending to throw money into crime prevention. All his government has provided are platitudes:
“It is simply unacceptable that any life should be cut short due to homelessness.
“This government is committed to ensuring everyone has a safe place to live. Councils are responsible for helping people at risk of being homeless so they can get the safety and support they need.”
Did you spot the weaselly “get-out” line in there? “Councils are responsible…”
So we’re supposed to blame councils for failing the homeless, rather than the Tory government, even though the Tory government has been brutally underfunding councils since 2010?
I don’t think so.
This reflects on successive Conservative governments, and on their policies.
Labour has a plan, and it will work. It has been proved elsewhere (most notably Utah) that the best – and cheapest – way to solve homelessness is to put people in housing.
It keeps them out of hospital and it also keeps them out of jail.
But BoJob won’t accept that – and anyway, he has passed the responsibility on to the local councils he underfunds.
Way back in 2015, when I was writing about the Utah experiment, This Writer stated that it seemed the government was more interested in hurting the homeless than helping them.
I was right then, and those words are still true today.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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