David Tovey, artist and activist with lived experience of homelessness writes about his work on Shelter’s Social Housing Commission.
We must tackle the structural causes of homelessness: rough sleeping figures for 2018 announced
Homeless Link's Chief Executive, Rick Henderson, commented: “Thousands of people are sleeping outside on our streets every night, and it is a shameful situation that so many are having to live like this in our country today, without a place to call home. Sleeping rough is extremely dangerous and detrimental to health – it has no place in our society and it reflects wider systems failure.
“This is the first year since 2010 that we haven’t seen an increase in rough sleeping. Through the recent Rough Sleeping Strategy, there has been some targeted action with investment into outreach services and the homelessness sector, and we hope this shows that with investment and political will we can start to stem the tide. However, the situation would be far worse without the work being undertaken by our members, local homelessness services, many of whom are struggling as cuts continue to affect their ability to deliver these vital services.
“This is barely scratching the surface of what needs to be done. To reach a zero sum by 2027, there must be a sustained cross-Government approach to tackling the structural causes of homelessness. We must fix our broken welfare system, tackle the poverty that so many people are living in, build more genuinely affordable homes, and work back from years of under investment in critical support services – our health and mental health services, drug and alcohol services, domestic violence services, and a challenged criminal justice system. Only then will we truly end rough sleeping for good.”
You can view the official annual statistics here.
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Rick is the CEO of Homeless Link and was appointed to that role in July 2012. He is a member of the government’s National Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel and the London Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Task Group.
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