Response to Mail Online article claiming homelessness does not exist

Dear Sir

My organisation represents homelessness charities. I was very concerned by last week’s online piece [“Of all the bogus emergencies and sham crises we get excited about, homelessness is the most exaggerated”] published by your paper on Friday 24 February 2012.

The article made ill-informed claims, including “there are not any homeless people” and that rough sleeping can be dealt with by flying people “somewhere nice and warm”.

Over 79,000 individuals went to councils for help with homelessness last year. The number of people ending up on our streets on any night now stands at over 2000. Not having a home damages both individuals and society. Many homeless people have complex issues, being a victim of crime is common and drug, alcohol and mental health problems are prevalent.

Despite the hurdles they face, thousands of homeless people each year rebuild their lives with the support of charities.

Your article underplayed the extent and impact of homelessness.  We would like to invite Steve Doughty to visit a front-line service, so he can understand the real situation.

Matt Harrison
Interim Chief Executive
Homeless Link