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First Published: September 24: 2015
The Humanion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End Homelessness The Humanion Campaign

Campaign Launched January 11: 2016

Right to a Home for Every Human Soul is a Foundational Human Right

 

 

 

End Homelessness The Humanion Campaign Arkive Year Alpha and Year Beta

Right to a Home for Every Human Soul is a Foundational Human Right

Home is not where the heart is
Nor is it where things are kept
A home is what skins the soul
Without it a human is non-person
Incomplete suffers slowly dying

END Homelessness Campaign

Campaign Director

And here is a job for you: If you believe in what we are saying, work:have worked or have expertise/experience in this area, have some time to dedicate to this cause, End Homelessness The Humanion Campaign would like you to come on board and take up the leadership of and running of this campaign as Campaign Director. The Humanion neither believes in nor seeks to make money! So, this is all for the benefits of the soul! We look forward to welcome the Campaign Director of The Campaign.  And we would welcome volunteers, too, who would do everything they can to promote and spread the word of the campaign. Contact: editor at thehumanion dot com.

The Number of Government-Funded Social Rented Homes Has Fallen by 97 Per Cent Since 2010: John Healey MP


|| June 20: 2017: John Healey MP, the Labour Party’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, commenting on new statistics showing that the number of government-funded social rented homes has fallen by 97 per cent since 2010, said, “These disastrous figures show that Conservative Ministers have washed their hands of any responsibility to build the homes families on low and middle incomes need.

The number of government-funded social rented homes built has plummeted by 97 per cent since 2010. After seven years of failure, the Conservatives have no plan to fix the housing crisis. A Labour government would invest in the affordable homes that the country needs.” ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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If You Keep a Diamond Inside Your Soul and You Will Find It Everywhere You Look: If on the Other Hand You Keep Nothing You Will Find Nothing Everywhere: Humanity It is We are Speaking of About a Steve Walking to Raise Funds for Ending Homelessness

Image: University of Dundee

 

|| March 21: 2017: University of Dundee News || ά. The former University of Dundee applicant, who chose Winchester for personal reasons, finally reached the city five years after his initial interest and was given shelter by Ms Lynn Boyle, Lecturer in the School of Education and Social Work at the University. Steve spent his first night in Dudhope Park, the furthest north he has ever been, before being given a roof over his head by Ms Boyle. Steve’s rules of the road during his walk include no paying for transport or accommodation but he will accept help when offered. Steve is walking to raise funds for the homeless charity Shelter.

In the 120 days travelling up the country, he has received 20 lifts, reducing the 700+ miles travelled to 500 miles on foot. He said, “All the help I’ve had so far has always been out of the blue, and I’ve been amazed at the warmth and generosity of people across the country. “I was nearly made homeless at the age of 19 when my mother died, fortunately I wasn’t but I have seen how close we all are to it. By walking from Newquay to John O’Groats I want to not only raise money for Shelter and the Drop In and Share Centre back home but also raise awareness that being homeless is a state anyone can fall into.”

Ms Boyle said, “We are very happy to help Steve and welcome him into our home. At first, we were uncertain as I got a call from a friend of a friend, asking to help out but after we thought about it a bit more, we thought why not. Meeting him was like meeting any of my students, we all need to realise that homeless people are often just unlucky.

We felt terrible that he even had to stay one night in Dudhope Park, we hope that anyone else further north will help Steve by donating and going out of their way to provide him with some shelter as he continues up to John O’Groats.”

Those interested can follow Steve’s progress on his walk and donate.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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End Homelessness: Homelessness Reduction Bill 2016-17: Progressing Towards the Final:  Third Reading Debate: March 23

|| March 19: 2017 || ά. This House of Commons Library briefing paper provides information on the Homelessness Reduction Bill's progress to date. The main thrust of the Bill is to refocus English local authorities on efforts to prevent homelessness. The Bill has completed its progress through the House of Commons. The debate on Second Reading in the Upper House took place on February 24. No amendments were tabled following its commitment to a Committee of the whole House and the Third Reading debate in the Upper House is scheduled for  March 23.

What will the Bill do: The Bill is seeking to amend Part seven of the Housing Act 1996. Its measures include: An extension of the period during which an authority should treat someone as threatened with homelessness from 28 to 56 days; Clarification of the action an authority should take when someone applies for assistance having been served with a valid section 21 notice of intention to seek possession from an assured shorthold tenancy; A new duty to prevent homelessness for all eligible applicants threatened with homelessness ; A new duty to relieve homelessness for all eligible homeless applicants; A new duty on public services to notify a local authority if they come into contact with someone they think may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

The Bill creates new duties for English local authorities and a good deal of debate in Public Bill Committee and on Report focused on how much these duties would cost, and whether they would be fully funded by the Government. On January 17, the Minister, Marcus Jones, announced that funding of £48 million would be provided to meet the additional costs for local authorities. Authorities’ representative bodies have given this announcement a ‘cautious’ welcome but have asked the Government to commit to a review of the Bill’s impact after two years “to ensure that authorities are fully equipped and funded to deliver the Bill’s ambitions.”

The Government amendments agreed on Report will result in additional costs for local authorities. The Minister announced that the estimated impact would be £13 million, bringing total Government new burdens funding for authorities up to £61 million. The Minister also committed to review the implementation of the legislation, “including its resourcing and how it is working in practice, concluding no later than two years after the commencement of its substantive clauses.” ω.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7854: Author: Wendy Wilson: Published March 10, 2017

Read the Paper

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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If Every Soul That Makes up This United Kingdom Finds an Angharad Griffith in Their Soul That Empathises What It's Like to Be Homeless Homelessness Will Become History in a Day: It Requires Each and Every One of Us to Make a Choice That We are Not Going to Accept It

Image: WAPP

|| February 23: 2017: University of South Wales News || ά. University of South Wales student Angharad Griffith opened a pop-up shop in Cardiff this week after teaming up with homelessness charity The Wallich. Angharad, who is in her final year of a Fashion Marketing and Retail Design degree, set up a new not-for-profit brand called Two of a Kind, which will sell street-style clothing in aid of the charity. The first pop-up shop opened on Friday-Saturday 18 February 17-18 in Duke Street Arcade, Cardiff, selling jumpers to help support The Wallich and its WISE programme.

WISE or Working in Sustainable Employment supports homeless and vulnerable people to move in to employment by delivering training, volunteering opportunities and work placements with the ultimate aim of the participants gaining employment.  The scheme, launched in 2015, has so far supported 29 people, with three people employed by The Wallich. Angharad said, “I hope to use my degree to break down societal norms and use creativity to get people talking about homelessness.

“I've been a volunteering in the charity sector for the last few months and it's opened my eyes to the issue of homelessness within Cardiff. Only a handful of projects support getting homeless people back into work and The Wallich and their WISE project have inspired me to want to be a part of that.

“I believe the next generation should care for each other and I want to express this with the designs that I create. The whole project has been a great experience and I hope Two of a Kind becomes a well-known brand in the future. The possibilities are endless and there’s always someone who needs the support.

I also want to thank promotional products company WAPP for supporting me. They printed some of the clothing for me at cost price and in addition provided free prints, so more of what I raise from garment sales can go to the charity."

Michael Cowley, Fundraising and Partnerships Senior Manager at The Wallich, added, “Angharad’s innovative idea to use her talent and interest in fashion to fundraise for The Wallich is a great example of the different ways you can get involved to support the causes you care about.

Angharad is passionate about helping people to get back into work, and the money raised from her event will make a real difference to the participants of our WISE programme as they begin to re-build their lives.”
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Rough Sleepers are 17 Times More Likely to Have Been Victims of Violence: New Research: End Homelessness


|| January 04: 2017 || ά. People sleeping on the street are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence and 15 times more likely to have suffered verbal abuse in the past year compared to the general public. According to new research from Crisis, drawing on a survey of 458 recent or current rough sleepers in England and Wales, almost eight out of 10 have suffered some sort of violence, abuse or anti-social behaviour in the past year, often committed by a member of the public, while nearly seven in 10, 66%, report that life on the street is getting worse.

The report shows that for current or recent rough sleepers:  More than one in three have been deliberately hit or kicked or experienced some other form of violence whilst homeless, 35%, More than one in three have had things thrown at them whilst homeless, 34%, Almost one in 10 have been urinated on whilst homeless, 09%, More than one in 20 have been the victim of a sexual assault whilst homeless, 07%, Almost half have been intimidated or threatened with violence whilst homeless, 48%, Almost six in 10 have had been verbally abused or harassed whilst homeless, 59%.

The report also provides first-hand accounts showing how these experiences take a serious toll on people’s mental wellbeing and sense of isolation, leading some to question their self-worth and making it even harder for them to escape the streets. The charity is also calling for action to prevent people from having to face the horrors of the street in the first place. The Homelessness Reduction Bill now going through parliament would help to make sure homeless people can get support at an early stage, ideally before they lose their home.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said, “For anyone sleeping on the street, life can be a struggle just to survive. As our research shows, rough sleepers are far more likely to be victims of crime, including violent assault, abuse and intimidation, compared to the general public. This is a horrifying state of affairs and shows why we need to prevent people ending up in this situation in the first place.

Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for homeless people. While others are enjoying the comfort of family and friends, homeless people face a daily struggle just to stay safe and escape the cold. That’s what makes our work at Christmas so important. Every year, Crisis opens its doors to thousands of homeless people, offering a safe, warm welcome with food and companionship, as well as access to vital services.

Yet we also need to make sure people can get help all year round, ideally before they become homeless in the first place. The Homelessness Reduction Bill currently making its way through parliament aims to make sure people facing homelessness can get support when they need it, and we urge the public to help by calling on their MP to back this crucial bill.”

The charity’s Christmas centres are run by an army of more than 10,000 volunteers. As well as warmth, companionship and three hot meals a day, guests receive healthcare and specialist advice on housing, work and benefits and are encouraged to take up the life-changing opportunities on offer at Crisis centres across the country during the year ahead.

Jon Sparkes added, “None of this work would be possible without the generosity and compassion of thousands of individuals, organisations and companies, who give their time, funds and goods to make Christmas happen for some of society’s most vulnerable people.”
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Read the Report

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Homelessness Leading to Severe Mental and Physical Problems: New University of Sheffield Study Shows

A Homeless Soul: This report does not actually, speak of these souls who are forced to live rough on the street. Image: University of Sheffield.


|| December 10: 2016: University of Sheffield News || ά. Research into the experiences of 64 people who are homeless or facing housing problems in Newham, London, found some living in slum-like temporary housing and others living in constant insecurity and flux while grappling with a housing system which they find complex and confusing. Of those interviewed, 22 per cent had a disability and 48 per cent had a health condition. When asked an open question about their health, nine per cent, more than double the national average, reported experiencing suicidal thoughts and nine per cent mentioned self-harming.

Researchers from the Universities of Sheffield, Leeds and Birkbeck, University of London, set out to understand the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable people by working with Focus E15, a campaign group run by people who had themselves been threatened with homelessness and eviction in Newham. Between September 2015 and April 2016, Focus E15 identified and interviewed people facing homelessness who were not known to them and who had either approached Newham Council for support, or were living in hostels in the borough.

Women were disproportionately represented, accounting for 67 per cent of those interviewed and more than half, 59 per cent, had dependents, mainly children under-18. The report concludes that this is because the housing system prioritises those working in the labour market, which disadvantages women, who take time away from work to have children.

The research was led by Dr Tom Gillespie of the University of Sheffield and Dr Kate Hardy of Leeds University Business School. Dr Hardy said, “To learn about the lives of those at the fringes of society who tend not be included in more mainstream studies of homelessness, members of Focus E15, some of whom themselves have experienced homelessness and eviction, interviewed people facing similar situations.

“The sheer complexity of many respondents’ situations and the various state institutions involved, as well as the significant confusion, lack of information and poor mental health in some, was distressing to hear. This is impacting on some of the most vulnerable populations in society.”

The research showed that 81 per cent of people interviewed had been homeless in the last five years. 73 per cent said that they had been evicted in the last five years. Dr Tom Gillespie from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Geography, said, “The reasons for people becoming homeless were many and varied and often involved a combination of losing their job, cuts to social support, rent arrears, eviction and family breakdown.

One 47-year-old woman was sharing a bed with her 17-year-old son in a single room in a bed and breakfast. They’ve lived there for five months now. Her home was repossessed when her husband died. Lives like hers were typical of what we found.”

The research also cast light on the controversial issue of people in temporary housing being offered longer-term housing if they move away from London. 58 per cent of people interviewed had been offered housing outside the borough, or told to look for housing themselves. They had been offered longer-term housing in Sussex and Hertfordshire, and as far away as Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds.

Dr Hardy said, “People facing homelessness are often being informally or formally ‘advised’ to move out of Newham, and 44 per cent had been offered or advised to consider moving out of London altogether.

“This puts incredible strains upon families. It disproportionately affects single mothers, with serious implications for the well-being and life chances of their children.”

The University of Sheffield: With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities. A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in. Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2016 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields. Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Last Screaming Remnants of Humanity, in the Shape of This Tiny Bear, Still Left of This Homeless Soul: Will You Try to Hear These Screams and Respond: This is Not How a Human Soul is Meant to Live: Please, Help Crisis Help the Homeless Souls This Christmas

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Homeless Link: Working to End Homelessness


|| November 23: 2016 || ά. Homeless Link is a national membership charity for organisations working directly with people who become homeless in England. It works to make services better and campaign for policy change that will help end homelessness. It brings organisations working in the field to make the voice stronger, more effective and more organised. For homelessness exists because the voice to end it is not organised enough, it does not speak with the power and authority of reason and rationality, as of yet. Voices seeking to end homelessness are still fragmented and not connected enough as a 'social power'. Homelessness is still not taken as a mainstream and fundamental political and socio-economic issue and challenge. Homelessness is still in the political and political economics an after thought: it is as if, homeless people are being shown 'charity' by a drop here and a drop there. Yet, the very people who have no home are part of the land they were born to or citizens of and without a home they simply are cut out of that land, of that country, of that nation and all that is included in the terms 'being positively and economically active. And to demand that their birth right to the land they were born to, to the country they are supposed to be part of, the nation they are supposed to be part of, is not a demand but a lawful claim that must be answered to by the political, economical, jurisprudential approaches of the land.

A Human Agency is comprised of the Human Soul that is lawfully accepted as a Person who is inherently, fundamentally and naturally born with full and unheeded, unhindered and uninfringed access to and exercise of all the natural rights that natural justice affords it, that in human law, we call 'Human Rights'. And before this human law, the Human Rights, a Human Agency stands as a Person who is, as afforded by Natural Justice, entitled to: a Personhood that cannot be violated, it cannot be taken away. A Person's Personhood is extended, as if a garden is added to a house, by a political 'border' by a 'statehood' which is expressed by the Person's membership to a state or citizenship; this membership to a state, this extension of the Person as the extension of a house onto a garden, cannot be taken away. And even with the Personhood and the extended Personhood, the Human Agency is unable to function until and unless it has a home.

The Primary Centre of the Human Agency is the Person that claims the Personhood and its extension but it all still needs a form to house it all. And that form of the Person is a home without which the Person is no longer a Person and cannot be, maintain and continue to be a Person and even its Personhood becomes invalid. Because without a home a Person often is outside the reach, provisions and services of the state and the society and all its mechanisms. Thus, home is a paramount necessity for that Person to exist as a Human Agency. And once the Person has a home the Person still requires the tools to keep the house and the garden in order to live in them as a valid, active and creative entity and without these tools, the Person cannot exist as a Person, as Human Agency.

Therefore, that tool, this Person must have and this is Education. Thus, for a Human Agency, to be a Person with a Personhood one must have Statehood and that statehood must provide this Person with a Home and the tools, Education. And as the Human Agency's Person cannot be taken away, the Personhood:statehood cannot be taken away, the Person's Home cannot be taken away either. Until Humanity achieves this for all human beings, a home for each individual of the entire humanion, we cannot claim to have achieved civilisation. This is why ending homelessness and ensuring every single citizen of a state has a home is so paramount. In order to be a Person a Human Agency must have a Personhood extended by its membership to a State which must provide it with a Home and an Education: And the Human Agency, Its Personhood, Its Home and Its Education Must Never Be Taken Away from It Ever. When the State fails to provide each and every of its citizen with a Home and an Education, it ought to be deemed that this State has taken the Home and Education away from these Persons which cannot and must not ever be taken away from a Person. And here we present in its own words Homeless Link.

Our Vision and Strategy

We want a country free from homelessness, where everyone has a place to call home and can expect the support they need to keep it. Our vision outlines what needs to happen for homelessness to end. Our strategy describes the approach we will take to get there. If tomorrow you lost everything, what would it take to rebuild your life?

Anyone can become homeless. It is an issue that harms individuals, damages communities, yet in most cases it can be prevented. We believe there is no place for homelessness in modern Britain.  We believe that with the right approach from homelessness, housing and other sectors, and from government and funders, homelessness can and will end.

What will it take to end homelessness?

To achieve this ambition, we need to: Act faster to prevent people from losing their homes. Ensure if you do become homeless, it’s for the shortest time possible. Provide those with complex problems with the long-term housing and help they need. Support people to realise their potential and avoid becoming homeless again.

Making the difference: the strategic plan to end homelessness 2015-2020

At Homeless Link we do not ask whether homelessness can be ended but what action we can take to make it happen. Our strategy covers a five year period from 2015-2020. It brings together our vision and beliefs; our mission, values and behaviours; and it describes the actions that we will take. Our approach is to strengthen, sustain, grow and innovate with our partners.

What we do

We work to make services better, we campaign for policy change that will help end homelessness, and we innovate and develop tools to help our members make more of a difference.

We influence

We work with local and national Government to improve the policies that affect people experiencing homelessness. We campaign to challenge preconceptions and bring about change.

We advise and support

We look for and share good practice from our members working on the front line, helping others to improve the quality of their work. Our national and regional teams offer support, link up agencies, and provide training, advice, consultancy and tools to help services evolve.
We keep you up to date

We publish up-to-date information, from good practice resources and the latest knowledge on homelessness to sector news and policy updates. With data on thousands of services we identify trends and gaps in provision, to make sure you always have relevant sector intelligence at your fingertips.
We innovate

We explore new ways to tackle homelessness and create opportunities for you to do the same. Our products are designed to help end homelessness. Through In-Form, we enable organisations to improve the support they offer, while StreetLink puts people sleeping rough in touch with the services they need.

We build networks

Through our national, regional and online events we help you learn from and network with others in the sector – sharing knowledge, experience and solutions.

Manifesto to end homelessness

Throughout the summer of 2014, we asked people who have experienced homelessness and the services that support them to tell us what the next government should do to make the biggest difference to homelessness. Their views are at the heart of Let's make the difference, our new manifesto to end homelessness.

In the manifesto we call on the next government to take action on five key areas: rough sleeping, employment, housing, support for people with the most complex needs, and long-term strategy. We set out practical steps that will enable homelessness services to innovate and support people who become homeless to thrive.

Join Us for

Advice and support

We can help you boost the quality of your work. Our national and regional teams offer support, link up agencies, and provide advice, consultancy and tools to help improve services.

Information, research and training

Access to a wealth of up-to-date information, including toolkits, the latest research, sector news and policy updates. Join and you’ll also enjoy discounted prices on training.

Influence

Influence local and national Government policies that affect people experiencing homelessness. Using intelligence from our members to help bring about change.

Networking and events

Our series of national, regional and on-line events will give to you the opportunity to learn and network - sharing knowledge, experiences and solutions.

In-Form Community

We have developed a FREE version of In-Form, Homeless Link’s complete client relationship and service management system for the housing sector, for members. This will be available to members only shortly.

Extended member benefits

Homeless Link and Sitra, the membership body for organisations in Supported Housing, Health and Social Care, have merged. This brings together over 800 organisations, providing a stronger voice for the sector, and enables you to take advantage of an extended range of benefits from both organisations.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Housing Federation's New Report on Buy as You Go

Image: Shelter

|| November 12: 2016 || ά. The Housing Federation has put forward a suggestion for a new housing offer, Buy as you Go, as part of its Autumn Statement submission making the case for greater flexibility. The Federation’s submission to the upcoming Autumn Statement argued that a more flexible government investment programme for housing of all tenures, including social rent, would give housing associations the space and opportunity to come up with new ideas to help end the housing crisis. As part of this, the Federation put forward a suggestion for a new housing offer, Buy as you Go.

Buy as you Go builds on innovation from across the housing association sector to provide people who are just managing with a stable and affordable route into homeownership. These people, on lower and middle incomes and in housing need, are an important group that housing associations exist to serve and the Government has also identified them as a key group that it intends to help. At present, there either aren’t enough affordable rented homes for them or the other affordable housing options available don’t work. With greater flexibility in government investment, housing associations can make a compelling offer to these people, from new options like Buy as you Go to existing tenures like social rent and shared ownership, depending on local markets and circumstances.

On November 08, the Federation published a new report which draws on housing associations’ insights and on modelling from Savills to set out how Buy as you Go could work and explain why flexibility and government investment are so key. It has spoken to many members in meetings, roundtables and a webinar about the need and market for it in the areas where they work and whether it would be viable to build. In some areas, housing associations said existing options like shared ownership or Rent to Buy already provide a strong offer for people who aren’t well served by other housing options and that there may not be demand there for Buy as you Go. In other places, however, housing associations see real potential for this offer to open up new areas for development where there is a gap and a need for new options.

This illustrates why flexibility is critical. It will allow housing associations to build homes of various types and tenures, from genuinely affordable rent to shared ownership to new options like Buy as you Go, in different markets, for different people, with different incomes and aspirations. It is also clear from these conversations that Buy as you Go will only work with upfront government investment to make it affordable to as many people as possible, and the Federation makes the case in its overall Autumn Statement submission that, with its ability to drive economic growth, now is the time to invest in affordable housing as a whole.

The ideas set out in the report are intended to be illustrative and do not set out a finalised model. Buy as you Go could simply be a new option housing associations could build within a wider mix of homes that work for the markets they operate in and the people they serve. The Federation will continue to work with members to develop our thinking on this offer and other innovative ideas over the next few weeks.
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On 120,000 Children Facing Homelessness This Christmas: Tory Ministers Should Hang Their Heads in Shame Over These Shocking Figures: John Healey MP

Image: Shelter


|| November 03: 2016 || ά. John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, commenting on new child homelessness figures from Shelter, said: “Tory Ministers should hang their heads in shame over these shocking figures showing over 120,000 children are facing homelessness this Christmas. These are the children that can’t go home and after six years Conservative Ministers can’t dodge their responsibility for this scandal.

Six years of failure on housing has led directly to today’s rapidly rising homelessness. Since 2010, Ministers have ended funding for genuinely affordable social rented housing, cut housing benefit for families on low incomes, done nothing about rising costs and insecurity for private renters, and slashed funding for homelessness services by almost a half.

Homelessness is not inevitable and the last Labour Government cut homelessness before it rose again after 2010. Ministers should back Labour’s plans to build thousands more affordable homes to rent and buy, and re-think further planned cuts to housing benefit which will make the problem of growing homelessness worse.”
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The Scale of Rising Homelessness Should Shame Us All: John Healey MP

Image: Shelter

|| October 24: 2016 || ά.  John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, commenting on the response of Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, to rising rough sleeping and his confirmation that the Government will support a backbench Bill on homelessness, said: “The scale of rising homelessness should shame us all. The number of people sleeping on the streets fell under Labour but has doubled with Conservative Ministers in charge.

So it is welcome that the Government will support the cross-party Homelessness Reduction Bill. Labour backs the Bill and will press Ministers to fully fund it. Beyond this new legislation, the truth is you can’t help the homeless if you won’t build the homes. And this government has ended all funding for affordable social rented housing. It’s why the number of new social rented homes started in Labour’s last year was almost 40,000, while last year it was less than 1,000.

Ministers must now act to tackle the root causes of rising homelessness, build more affordable housing, act on private renting and re-think the crude cuts to housing benefit for the most vulnerable.”
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House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee Supports the Homelessness Reduction Bill

Image: Shelter

|| October 14: 2016 || ά. The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee publishes report in support of legislation aimed at reducing homelessness by ensuring that vulnerable people receive consistently high levels of service from local housing authorities across the county. The Committee welcomes the Homelessness Reduction Bill's focus on homelessness prevention. It also supports the Bill's requirement for the Government to provide a mandatory code of practice for councils and for local housing authorities:LHAs to carry out assessments of all homelessness applications they receive.

In the Summary the Report says: A key finding of the Committee’s recent report on homelessness was that the services provided to applicants for homeless support are not always adequate. We recognise the financial challenges faced by local authorities, and the increasing pressure that higher levels of homelessness bring. We believe, however, that more should be done to ensure that vulnerable people receive consistently high levels of service across the country. It is for this reason that the Committee supports the Homelessness Reduction Bill, the Private Member’s Bill introduced by Bob Blackman MP, a member of the Committee. We have scrutinised the draft Bill and made recommendations to help it better achieve its aims. We believe that this report and the evidence we have taken will both improve the Bill and help the House debate its provisions, and that our experience is a model on which other Select Committees and sponsors of Private Member’s Bills can draw.

We have made the following recommendations on the text of the Bill:

Clause One: Definition of homelessness and threatened homelessness
We welcome the extension of the period that someone can be considered to be threatened with homelessness from 28 to 56 days, but we recommend that Clause 01:2 is revised so that it is clear that an applicant for support need not remain in a property where possession proceedings are underway for the local authority to treat such a person as homeless.

Clause Two: Duty of local housing authority to provide advice

We welcome the emphasis the Clause places on services preventing homelessness from occurring, and recommend that those who have experienced, or are at continued risk of, domestic violence and abuse should be included in Clause: 02:4.

Clause Three: Mandatory code of practice

We welcome measures to address unacceptable levels of service at some local authorities: a code of practice for local authorities, alongside a clear explanation to applicants of the service levels they should expect to receive, need not be overly prescriptive, and could improve what is now an often hostile process.

Clause Four: Homelessness reduction duties

We welcome the requirement for an assessment and a personal housing plan as a means of providing more effective support for all applicants. We recommend that the definition of non-co-operation be clarified. We are not convinced that the requirement to secure accommodation for 12 months is workable and recommend that the period be six months, at least initially.

Clause Eight: Becoming homeless intentionally

The Clause, as currently worded, is too broad. If it is to stay in the Bill, it should be redrafted to ensure that the protections for vulnerable people in priority need are not weakened.

Clause Nine: Somewhere safe to stay

We support the principle behind the requirement that local authorities provide 56 days of emergency accommodation to those with nowhere safe to stay, but it is not feasible for councils to provide accommodation to all homeless people. We recommend that the Clause be revised to restrict the duty to those whose safety is at risk and call on the Secretary of State to issue guidance with objective measures to ascertain when someone is at risk of violence as compared to other forms of homelessness.

Clause 12: Definition of local connection

We do not believe that there is a consensus for changes to the local connection rules. We therefore recommend that the Clause be removed from the Bill.

Clause 14: Reviews of decisions

We agree that applicants should have the right to ask for a review of the support they receive from local authorities, but we recognise the potential impact on local authority resources of a significant increase in cases brought to review. We recommend an amendment to the Clause to restrict the scope of the reviews.

Clause 16: Accommodation suitability

We recommend that local authorities should be required both to take into account an applicant’s location preference and to balance this with long-term affordability for the applicant. Consideration should be given to providing a stronger duty to accommodate certain groups within a reasonable distance of their last permanent accommodation, such as people with mental health conditions who have a support network which is helpful in managing their condition, and families with children at school.

Clause 17: Co-operation between authorities and others

We recommend that the Clause be reinforced by statutory guidance that makes it clear that the diversion of funds away from a body’s primary duties is not a reason to withhold co-operation with measures to reduce homelessness.

Successful implementation will depend on a renewed, cross-Departmental Government strategy and close co-operation with local authorities.

The provisions of the Bill will undoubtedly make a significant call on the resources of local authorities. The Department for Communities and Local Government should ensure that the costs of new burdens on local authorities are fully taken into account in future funding and in arrangements for the 100% retention of business rates by local authorities. The Department should work with local authorities to develop a funding model that reflects local demand.

The Committee has conducted pre-legislative scrutiny of the Private Members' Bill, which has been tabled by one of its members, Bob Blackman MP, to implement some of the recommendations of its report on homelessness, published in August 2016. This process has no direct precedent in Parliament. The new report recommends changes to the Bill, which include adding domestic violence victims to the list of people for whose needs a local authority's advice must be especially designed to meet. The Committee also calls for consideration of a stronger duty for councils to accommodate certain groups within a reasonable distance of their last address, such as those with mental health conditions or with children in school.

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said: "The Committee strongly supports the Homelessness Reduction Bill, which seeks to address many of the issues we found during our earlier inquiry into homelessness. These included unacceptable levels of service at some local authorities, where people who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless often face a hostile process.

After taking further detailed evidence on the Bill itself, we welcome its introduction of a mandatory code of good practice for councils. The Committee also supports the Bill's emphasis on homelessness prevention, provision for domestic violence victims and consideration for those with mental health conditions.

But we are also mindful that the Bill will increase pressure on local authority resources. Comments by Ministers suggesting that the Government will help meet these financial burdens are welcome and we urge the Department of Communities and Local Government to work with councils to develop a funding model that reflects local demand.

Such close co-operation is vital to the successful implementation of the Bill as is a renewed, cross-Departmental Government strategy to end homelessness. The approach taken by the Committee and our colleague Bob Blackman MP is unique and we believe our experience is a model on which other Select Committees and sponsors of Private Members' Bills can draw."
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Adequate Housing is a Universal Human Right: UN on World Habitat Day

Image: Shelter

|| October 03: 2016 || ά. Adequate housing is a universal human right and should be at the centre of the urban policy and in the physical centre of the city, senior United Nations officials said today, marking the 2016 edition of World Habitat Day. “The unplanned rapid expansion of towns and cities means an increasing number of poor and vulnerable people are living in precarious conditions, without adequate living space or access to basic services, such as water, sanitation, electricity and health care,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message on the Day.

More than half the global population already lives in urban areas. Approximately a quarter of these urban dwellers live in slums or informal settlements. “They are often isolated from opportunities for decent work and vulnerable to forced evictions and homelessness. Providing access to adequate housing for all is high among the priorities of the New Urban Agenda,” which Governments are expected to adopt at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development:Habitat III, to be held later this month in Quito, Ecuador, Mr. Ban noted.

Held every 20 years, the Habitat conference is designed to reflect on the state of human settlements and on what the towns and cities of the future should look like. With the world embarking this year on implementing the historic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, achieving its 17 goals will depend, in large part, on whether cities and human settlements are made inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, the UN chief said.

“On this World Habitat Day, I urge national and local governments, city planners and communities everywhere to keep housing at the centre,” Mr. Ban said, echoing the theme of this year's Day. “Guaranteeing dignity and opportunity for all depends on people having access to affordable and adequate housing,” he added.

In his message, Joan Clos, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat and Secretary-General of Habitat III, said that “our cities and homes define who we are, in many ways. They determine whether we will have access to education and job opportunities. They define our ability to lead a healthy life and the level of our engagement in the collective life of the community.”

“Adequate housing is a universal human right and should be at the centre of the urban policy,” he said, adding that it is part of the right to an adequate standard of living and it means 'much more than having four walls and a roof.” For a home to be adequate, one must take into account many factors: Where is it located, its affordability and the availability of basic services such as water, sanitation and drainage, he explained, noting that currently, over a billion people in the world, mainly slum-dwellers, are unable to enjoy this basic right to adequate housing.

Over the last 20 years, despite increasing demand, housing policies have not been prioritised in national and international development agendas, he pointed out. As a result, adequate housing is widely unaffordable for a relevant part of the world population. According to a recent study by the UN-Habitat's Global Urban Observatory in collaboration with New York University and the Lincoln Institute, public housing represents less than 15 per cent of housing types both in developing and developed world. The tendency in the last two decades has been a rising cost of housing, forcing people to move far away to the outskirts of the city to find affordable housing.

The approach to the housing market has clearly failed to provide affordable housing for the low-income households and urban poor. Where housing is affordable, there is a strong and comprehensive housing policy addressed to the objective of housing affordability. What makes the difference is the coherence and continuity of a public policy pursuing housing affordability regardless of the level of development of the country or the price of its land. This is the reason why housing should be at the centre of the urban policy.

Affordable housing policy if well conducted can become not only the solution to a social and humanitarian problem but also a very powerful instrument of local development and prosperity. It can and it should be a win-win solution. In addition, housing should be located in the physical centre of the city.

“By now this might sound utopian, a kind of wishful dream but on the contrary, it is an urgent step towards an effective solution to the most pressing issues of our modern society,” he said. That is why this year World Habitat Day puts the focus on the need to improve housing accessibility through a new strategy, called “Housing at the Centre,” he said. “Only in doing so, we will be able to build cities that are truly for all.” ω.

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The National Housing Federation's 'Most Radical' Proposal to Build to End Homelessness: Webinar on October 05 at 11:30

Image: Shelter

|| September 30: 2016 || ά. With the Autumn Statement this year being key for the new Government and the sector, the National Housing Federation is planning a bold and ambitious approach. To discuss these new and bold proposals it is organising a Webinar in which it will explain its thinking and get views from as many members as possible before a submission is made to the Treasury on October 07. The Webinar is held on Wednesday, October 05, at 11.30 to share more detail and host discussion. In its 'An Offer for Everyone' the Federation proposes a truly visionary, absolutely bold and genuinely serious proposal to build homes for people who are, in every sense, beyond ever reaching even the dream of having a home of their own. Anyone interested, committed and determined to do everything to end homelessness should be interested about this particular proposal and get involved with this webinar. And as the Federation claims, as an idea, it is absolutely 'most radical'.

The Federation says: The final part of the submission is the most radical. As a sector, housing associations have an ambition to ensure everyone can live in a quality home they can afford. But the changing housing market means they don’t currently have a substantial offer for an important group of people: those in low paid work who are just about managing. Traditionally, many housing associations were set up to help this group of people. The new Government is also keen to support them, with Theresa May referencing them in her first speech as Prime Minister. But, at the moment, they often can’t access a housing association home, not qualifying for social or affordable rent, but unable to afford products like shared ownership. If additional, flexible funding were available, there is an opportunity to innovate to fill the gap for this group. For example, the Federation has been exploring a new equity share product that could work as follows: You move into a home and, without a deposit or mortgage, immediately start building a share in it. Pay a monthly sum to the housing association, which would cover the rent and allow you to purchase a small stake in the home. With government grant, the monthly payment would be lower than market rent, making this a more affordable option right from the start.

We have had some positive discussions with representative housing associations from across the sector about how this might work, and continue to do so. We are clear that it would need sufficient government funding to be genuinely viable and also that it won’t be the right solution for all markets. Flexibility is crucial just as crucial here as elsewhere, so that housing associations can build the right types of homes for people on different incomes in different housing markets across the country. However, an offer like this could be a key piece of the puzzle for many people who can’t currently access affordable housing.

The Autumn Statement on November 23 will be key for both the new Government and for the housing association sector. It is the Government’s first opportunity to set out its spending priorities and direction of travel since the EU referendum. For the sector, it is a chance to drive forward new housing ideas, with ministers recently signalling openness to greater flexibility on housing tenure. Housing associations have a real opportunity to secure the conditions they need to deliver their ambition in this new environment.

The Federation is therefore planning a bold and ambitious approach to the Autumn Statement this year, focusing on three key things: Flexibility; Investment; An offer for everyone and the opportunity to innovate.

Flexibility

The current Affordable Homes Programme only supports a very narrow range of tenure, primarily home ownership-focused, and requires housing associations to decide what kind of homes will be built before a single brick is laid. This has always limited associations’ ability to deliver the flexible mixture of homes which different people in different areas require, but with reduced market confidence since the referendum, the narrow focus is even more problematic.

The Federation has been making the case for extra flexibility in the programme since the referendum and at our Annual Conference last week, Housing Minister Gavin Barwell said he is willing to look at this further. Our Autumn Statement submission will therefore be a key vehicle for continuing to make this case.

Investment

Granting further flexibility to the existing £7bn of government funding for housing would allow more homes to be built. However, additional funding on top of this would have an even greater impact. For example, with an extra £3bn – a total of £10bn – and an innovative offer for new groups of people, there could be potential for the sector to build a third of the Government’s million homes ambition over the course of the Parliament. ω.

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44% of Working Families Cut Back on Essential Food and Clothing to Pay for Their Home: Shelter

End Homelessness The Humanion Campaign

 

 

 

 

 

 


|| September 22: 2016 || ά. In the last year, 44% of working families in England, equivalent to 03.7 million families, cut back on buying essential food and clothing in a bid to help pay their rent or mortgage. The Shelter and YouGov research reveals the tough choices that working parents are making to keep a roof over their heads, with one in eleven going to the extreme of skipping meals, and one in five parents putting off buying their children new clothes or shoes to help cover their housing costs.

The charity’s findings shine a spotlight on the enormous pressure that housing costs are putting on family budgets. The research found that over half of working parents are already struggling to meet their rent or mortgage payments, leaving them vulnerable to any small change in income. Sadly, these worrying figures come as little surprise when recent government statistics show that the average household in England spends 29% of their monthly income on housing costs, rising to a staggering 43% for private renters.

With an uncertain economic outlook and millions of families already struggling to make ends meet, Shelter is urging the new government to do all it can to protect and improve the welfare safety net that helps families who fall on hard times to stay in their home. Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “These figures are an acute reminder of the tough choices that working families are having to make to keep a roof over their children’s heads.

Any one of us could hit a bump along life’s road, but with housing now taking up the lion’s share of people’s pay-packets, any drop in income can all too quickly leave families at risk of losing their home. At Shelter we speak to parents every day who live in constant fear that a cut in hours could tip them into homelessness.

With millions of working families struggling and a period of economic uncertainty ahead, now is the time for the new government to both protect and improve our welfare safety net so that it can be there to support families who fall on hard times.”

Case study: Michelle and Kevin live with their children in a small privately rented home in Cambridge. Kevin works for a cleaning company and Michelle is studying for a job in the criminal justice system. Even though Kevin works full-time and has a good job, every month is still a struggle.

Michelle said: “Before Kevin joined his current company he was self-employed and at one point we very nearly lost our home when our income dropped and we fell behind on the rent. I tried to hide it as much as possible from younger children at the time but they still knew something was wrong. I hated living like that.

“Even though my husband has a new job now and works as many hours as he can, it’s constantly hand to mouth. We’ve cut back on everything to help pay the rent, including food. When the children are at school the heating isn’t on at all, and we only ever buy clothes when we absolutely have to because the little ones have grown out of something.”

Anyone who is worried about losing their home can contact Shelter for free, expert advice. www.shelter.org.uk/advice or call the Shelter helpline on 0808 800 4444.
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Rough Sleepers: Access to Services and Support in England



|| September 09: 2016 || ά. Rough sleepers are one of the most vulnerable groups in society, many with high levels of complex and interrelated needs. This paper provides an overview of the support and services, including accommodation, health, welfare, training, employment and voter registration, that are available for rough sleepers, and the challenges rough sleepers can face in accessing them. The number of rough sleepers in England is increasing.

Many rough sleepers have high levels of complex needs; mental health problems, drug and alcohol dependencies, and institutional experiences are common factors. The longer someone sleeps rough the greater the risk that physical and mental health problems will worsen. Rough sleeping is costly to society as a whole; rough sleepers are likely to have more frequent and sustained contact with public services compared to other citizens.

Access to Accommodation

Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide advice and assistance to homeless people who are not in priority need in order to help them find accommodation. However, there is growing evidence of inconsistent standards in the advice and assistance provided. Commentators have called for greater monitoring of local authority homelessness services, and the strengthening of local authority statutory duties to provide greater assistance to single homeless people.

A number of national approaches to addressing rough sleeping have been rolled out, including: No Second Night Out:NSNO, Streetlink and Reconnection. The Government’s 2016 Budget announced £10 million over two years to support innovative ways to prevent and reduce rough sleeping, and £10 million to develop a national Homelessness Social Impact Bond. The new Mayor of London intends to set up a ‘No Nights Sleeping Rough’ initiative, to be delivered by a London-wide taskforce.

The voluntary sector and the Church play a key role in providing emergency and temporary accommodation for rough sleepers, although there is significant local variation in provision and access criteria. In 2015 there were around 1,253 accommodation projects in England for single homeless people.

Local authority and voluntary sector homelessness services are under pressure due to increasing demand for services and decreasing funding. Broader factors, such as a lack of affordable housing and welfare restrictions, are also having an impact. Furthermore, homelessness organisations have expressed concern about the uncertain future of supported housing funding.

Access to Health Services

Rough sleepers face particular health issues associated with homelessness and challenges in accessing health services. It has been estimated that homeless people consume around four times more acute hospital services than the general population

Health services and local authorities have a number of tailored services that are intended to meet the specific needs of rough sleepers, although provision varies across England. In London the NHS has taken steps to address the increase in tuberculosis (TB) amongst rough sleepers.

Concerns have been raised about the lack of suitable, specialist mental health support for rough sleepers. The Communities and Local Government:CLG Committee has called on the Government to develop an action plan to address the mental health needs of homeless people, including rough sleepers.

Access to Welfare Benefits

Rough sleepers may, depending on their circumstances, be able to claim mainstream social security benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance:JSA and Employment and Support Allowance:ESA. The Government has eased JSA jobseeking conditions to take into account the difficulties faced by homeless claimants. Nevertheless, concerns have been raised about the high rate of benefit sanctions amongst homelessness service users, and the impact of sanctions.

Local welfare assistance schemes may also provide assistance to rough sleepers, although schemes vary considerably in their scope and eligibility criteria. A National Audit Office report in January 2016 highlighted uncertainties over the future of local welfare provision due to pressures on funding. A 2016 report by the Work and Pensions Committee concluded that central and local government should co-ordinate better to fill gaps in the welfare safety net.

Food Assistance

A wide range of Church and other voluntary organisations, estimated to number more than 1,500, provide food assistance to those in need. Assistance may range from a hot meal provided by a ‘soup kitchen’ to a food package provided following referral to a ‘food bank’.

Training and Employment

Rough sleepers, particularly those with high support needs, face huge challenges in gaining employment. Nevertheless, St Mungo’s homeless charity has reported that 80% of their clients said that work was one of their goals.

The Ministerial Group’s report Addressing complex needs: improving services for vulnerable homeless people, March 2015, highlighted some of the actions the Government has taken to support vulnerable homeless people into or towards work. Claimants sleeping rough may be able to get help to address specific barriers to moving closer to or into work through the Jobcentre Plus Flexible Support Fund, FSF. Many homelessness organisations, day centres, and hostels also provide employment advice, training and opportunities for homeless people

Registering to Vote

A rough sleeper with no fixed address who is eligible to vote can register to vote through a declaration of local connection.

Further Information

The House of Commons Library Briefing Rough sleeping, England, 02007, provides background information on the problem of rough sleeping and examines Government policy on this issue. Separate briefing papers cover Statutory homelessness in England, 01164 and Homelessness: Social Indicators, 02646. There are now significant variations in approaches to homelessness in Scotland and Wales, these variations are outlined in Comparison of homelessness duties in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, 07201.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7698: Authors: Hannah Cromarty; Neil Johnston; Steven Kennedy; Tom Powell:
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Government Must Renew Strategy for Tackling Homelessness: Communities and Local Government Select Committee

End Homelessness The Humanion Campaign

 

 

 

 

 

 


|| August 18: 2016 || ά.  A demonstrable increase in homelessness, driven by the cost and availability of housing, has pushed the problem to such a level that a renewed Government-wide strategy is needed, the Communities and Local Government:CLG Select Committee concludes in its report. The Committee found that despite some examples of great work, it is not acceptable that the level of support offered to vulnerable people varies significantly across the country. Many people are badly treated by council staff and those who are judged not to be in priority need are often poorly served and sent away without any meaningful support or guidance.

Homelessness Reduction Bill

The report is complemented by the Homelessness Reduction Bill, a Private Member's Bill presented by Committee member Bob Blackman MP and supported by the other members of the Committee. The Committee will take evidence on the Bill, which is aimed at improving the support and advice offered to all homeless people, once it has been published. It is unusual for a Select Committee to not only sponsor a Bill on the back of an inquiry in this way but also conduct pre-legislative scrutiny on it.

The Report

The Committee calls on the Government to monitor councils, identify those not meeting their duties and review and reinforce the statutory Code of Practice to ensure the levels of service that local authorities must provide are clear. The Government should also consider setting a statutory duty for local authorities to provide meaningful support to single homeless people with a local connection after the inquiry found that many people receive little more than a list of local letting agents.

The report explains that a shortage of social housing means many people rely on the private rented sector to avoid or escape homelessness, but often the financial barriers or instability of tenancies are too great. It urges the Government to work with local authorities to deliver homes for affordable rent and says local housing benefit levels should be reviewed to more closely reflect market rents.

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, said: "No one should be homeless in Britain today, but the reality is that more and more people find themselves on the streets, in night shelters or going from sofa to sofa to keep a roof over their heads. They are often driven there by the availability and cost of housing and have been failed by front line support services along the way.

The scale of homelessness is now such that a renewed Government strategy is a must. It needs to not only help those who are homeless but also prevent those vulnerable families and individuals who are at risk of becoming homeless from joining them. All Departments will need to subscribe to this common approach and contribute to ending homelessness.

Local authorities also have a big part to play. The Committee recognises they face a significant task with funding pressures and legal obligations, but vulnerable people are too often badly treated, being made to feel like they are at fault, and offered ineffectual and meaningless advice. We want the Government to monitor local authorities and help them achieve best practice.

The Committee has made a number of recommendations and we plan to follow up many of these issues in a year’s time to see what progress is being made. We also hope that some of the issues can be addressed by our Committee colleague Bob Blackman’s Homelessness Reduction Bill, which the Committee will help take forward following its publication."

Mental health issues

The prevalence of mental health issues among homeless people, in particular rough sleepers, is also highlighted, with Ministers urged to produce a detailed action plan to address their needs. The Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Heath should review funding of mental health services for homeless people to maximise effectiveness, the report adds.

Report Summary

We launched this inquiry in light of evidence that homelessness was increasing. We wanted both to get a clearer picture of levels of homelessness and to understand the pressures that affect homeless people. Throughout our inquiry, it was clear that the term ‘homeless’ covers a wide range of circumstances. The most visible form of homelessness is rough sleeping, with people sleeping and living on the streets, in parks and in shop doorways. However there is also a significant number of people who are homeless but are in temporary accommodation and night shelters, or rely on a series of short-term arrangements and the kindness of friends and family. Whilst less visible, it is essential that the ‘hidden homeless’ are taken into account in any discussion on how homelessness can be reduced.

We have found that homelessness is undoubtedly increasing. The Department recognises that its statistics are not all currently robust enough to be given the status of national statistics, but the picture is clear. It is important to have reliable evidence on the groups among which the increase is occurring. Data from CHAIN, the Combined Homelessness and Information Network, a multi-agency database recording rough sleeping in London, indicates that the greatest proportional increase in homelessness was among those who had been homeless for two consecutive years, suggesting that current intervention measures are not succeeding in preventing homelessness from becoming entrenched. We are therefore calling for enhanced monitoring of local authorities’ homelessness reduction work.

There is a variety of factors causing the increase in homelessness, principal among them is the cost and availability of housing. The ending of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy:AST in the private rented sector is a major cause: once an AST has ended, tenants are often unable to find anywhere that they can afford. The demand for housing pushes rents up, so the gap between rents charged and the level of Local Housing Allowance available increases. The challenges of the private rented sector are exacerbated by a shortage of social housing. It is widely accepted that the country needs to be building more homes and we support the Government’s aspirations for home ownership, but many people simply cannot afford to buy a home, even with the support mechanisms introduced. In areas where there is a clear local need, homes for affordable rent must be built.

Much of our evidence covered the role of local authorities and how they allocate limited resources to support homeless people. We are supportive of local authorities and recognise the challenges they face, and many local authorities work hard to protect some of their most vulnerable residents. But it is not acceptable that the level of support offered to vulnerable people can vary significantly across the country. We heard that many homeless people seeking support from their council are made to feel as if they were at fault and that councils can take steps to discourage applications. People who are judged as not being in priority need, and therefore not owed the full homelessness duty, are also poorly served. Councils have a duty to provide advice and guidance to such people, but too often this advice and guidance is meaningless and ineffectual. The Government should review and reinforce the statutory Code of Practice to ensure it outlines clearly the levels of service that local authorities must provide and encourages regular training of staff to ensure a sympathetic and sensitive service. We also considered the practice of local authorities housing homeless families in areas outside their administrative boundaries. We believe that this should only ever be an action of last resort. We would like to see a clear statement of intent from the Government with regards to the levels of service that homeless people can expect to receive from their local council. This must be reinforced with monitoring so that homeless individuals across the country can benefit from effective support and an end to their homelessness at the earliest opportunity. We are confident that the Private Member’s Bill tabled by Mr Blackman, and co-sponsored by all the other members of the Committee, will contribute to achieving this.

Our inquiry also considered the experiences of especially vulnerable groups and people with multiple complex needs. A particular concern is the prevalence of poor mental health and we call on the Government to produce an action plan to address this. We also note the vital work done by refuges supporting victims of domestic violence and ask that the Government consider providing additional resources. We are currently awaiting the outcome of the Government’s review of welfare reforms and the impact on supported accommodation but the Government should give certainty to the sector as a matter of urgency. We believe that all supported accommodation schemes should be exempt from the proposed reduction in rents.

On the strength of what we have learned throughout our inquiry, we have concluded that the scale of homelessness in this country is such that a renewed, cross-Departmental Government strategy is needed. We agree with Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, that “Homelessness is everyone’s issue and it is not inevitable”. All Departments need to contribute to the ending of homelessness by subscribing to a common approach. We will revisit many aspects of our report in twelve months’ time to see what progress has been made.

Conclusions and recommendations

Official statistics

1.The Government must take steps to improve data collection and implement the recommendations of the UK Statistics Authority as a matter of urgency. The aim should be to ensure that figures capture trends more accurately to reflect more than just the total number of homeless people, and the approach taken by CHAIN should be rolled out further across the country. The scale of hidden homelessness must also be appreciated: people who are homeless but have not approached local authorities for help and those who do seek help but are turned away before a formal application is made, discussed further in Chapter 04, are still homeless and should be taken into account in national statistics. The DCLG should give consideration to how this group can be captured effectively in the data it collects. We will monitor the Department’s progress improving their statistics, and will return to the issue in twelve months’ time:Paragraph 12

Factors in the increase in homelessness

02. In light of the shortage of social housing, discussed further below, the private rented sector is an essential means to help people escape and avoid homelessness. However for many the financial barriers and instability of tenancies are too great. The Government should explore measures to give greater confidence both to tenants and to landlords to encourage them to let to homeless people. Local Housing Allowances levels should also be reviewed so that they more closely reflect market rents. Landlords should be encouraged to offer longer Assured Shorthold Tenancies which allow tenants to leave early without penalty:Paragraph 21

03. We note that there is a clear demand for low cost home ownership which is answered in part by Starter Homes but not all people are in a position to afford this step. There is therefore a case for the development of homes for affordable rent which we encourage the Government to act on by working with local authorities to deliver the homes that are needed at a local level. (Paragraph 24)

04. We recognise the need to develop Starter Homes to meet the demand for low cost home ownership but recognise the need for appropriate new homes for affordable rent. The Government should therefore review the definition of affordable housing to reflect local needs:Paragraph 29

05. We urge the Government to recognise that many 18–21 year olds are at significant risk of homelessness, and to make provision for those who have been in work but have lost their job to have a ‘grace period’ of, say, one to two months before the housing element of Universal Credit is withdrawn:Paragraph 30

06.The Government’s position is that claimants should receive the benefits they are due, and then take responsibility for their own arrangements to meet the costs of their outgoings. However we are concerned that this policy is having a direct impact on levels of homelessness. All recipients of housing support should have the option of having their housing benefits paid directly to their landlord, reducing the likelihood of them falling into arrears and increasing landlord confidence and willingness to let to tenants at risk of homelessness. (Paragraph 34)

07. The impact of the welfare reforms of recent years have increased pressure on levels of homelessness:Paragraph 36

The role of local authorities

08. The Government should consider setting a statutory duty to provide meaningful support to single homeless people who can prove a local connection:Paragraph 44

09. We acknowledge that the task facing local authorities is significant and that under the current legislation, sorting and prioritising some applicants over others is required. However it is not acceptable that the level of support offered to vulnerable people can vary significantly across the country. We welcome and applaud initiatives such as those at Newham and Camden, but remain concerned that some other local authorities have not been so proactive. As we have heard from witnesses who have been homeless: at a time when they are most vulnerable, people deserve to be treated with compassion and understanding rather than as if they were at fault. We therefore call on the Government to monitor local authorities in order to promote best practice, to identify authorities which are not meeting their statutory duties and implement a code of practice to which local authorities should adhere. We will continue to monitor the work of local authorities and will return to the issue in twelve months and may consider commissioning independent research of local authority practises:Paragraph 50

10. Housing people away from their homes and support networks should be an action of last resort, but we appreciate the pressures that councils are under and do not oppose out of area placements in principle. Nonetheless we are concerned that some authorities do not always follow the statutory guidance and fully consider the needs of the family being placed, or whether there might be a nearer available home:Paragraph 53

11. Local authorities seeking to house homeless families face a significant challenge, especially in high value areas such as London. However the needs of the individuals must be fully considered. When this has not happened, it is entirely appropriate that they should be able to challenge the decisions taken by their local council. The Secretary of State should write to all local housing authorities to reiterate councils’ duties as outlined in the Code of Guidance and emphasise the duty of care that local authorities owe to some of their most vulnerable residents:Paragraph 54

12. The impact on the areas receiving homeless households from other parts of the country should be recognised, and the Government should monitor local authorities to ensure that such placements only occur as a last resort. The practice and process of housing homeless families in areas away from their support networks, employment and schooling should be monitored. Local authorities should be required to demonstrate that the families are supported to make the moves successful, the receiving authority has been notified, the placement is as close to the family’s former home as possible and all the family’s needs have been fully considered. The Government should also consider what guidance should be given to local authorities where families move from low cost areas of the country to higher cost areas and subsequently present themselves as homeless after short periods of time in privately rented accommodation. We recognise that this might need new secondary legislation:Paragraph 56

The service-user’s perspective

13. The Government should take steps to encourage and facilitate the development of Positive Pathway schemes across the country. (Paragraph 66)

14. As a Committee we are supportive of local authorities and the work they do. We understand the financial pressures they are under and the difficult choices they have to make. But treating someone as a human does not cost money. We have received too much evidence of councils and their staff treating homeless people in ways that are dismissive and at times discriminatory. This is unacceptable. The Government should review and reinforce the statutory Code of Practice to ensure it outlines clearly the levels of service that local authorities must provide and encourages regular training of staff to ensure a sympathetic and sensitive service. Services should put users first with a compassionate approach that gives individuals an element of choice and autonomy:Paragraph 67

Vulnerable groups and multiple complex needs

15. Given the prevalence of mental ill health among homeless people, especially those sleeping rough, it is essential that mental health support services maintain the flexibility needed to deliver effective treatment and that the sum of multiple needs is considered. We recognise that resources for many services are stretched and call on the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department of Health to review the funding of mental health services for homeless people with a view to maximising their effectiveness at helping people out of homelessness as early as possible. We therefore call on the Government to produce a detailed action plan on how it intends to address the mental health needs of homeless people, including the delivery of outreach support to rough sleepers and assessing the vulnerability of applicants for homeless support. We see this as a priority for the cross-Departmental Ministerial Working Group and will be seeking an update in twelve months’ time:Paragraph 76

16 .Women who have been victims of domestic violence are particularly at risk of becoming homeless, and there is currently insufficient support to help them escape homelessness. We therefore call on Government to ensure that sufficient resources are available to meet the very real need. We also recommend that the Government review the level of refuges and hostel accommodation for single people and consider providing additional resources for further provision in areas of highest need:Paragraph 80

17. Consideration should therefore be given by the Government to review the transition to independence [for children in care]. To help reduce the risk of homelessness for children leaving care, the Government should consider a policy whereby they should not be required to pay council tax until they are 21:Paragraph 81

Cross-Government working

18. On the strength of what we have learned throughout our inquiry, we have concluded that the scale of homelessness in this country is such that a renewed, cross-Departmental Government strategy is needed. We support the view expressed by Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s that “Homelessness is everyone’s issue and it is not inevitable”. All Departments need to contribute to the ending of homelessness by subscribing to a common approach. We heard much evidence that this is not the case currently. Jon Sparkes from Crisis told us that “there is very little evidence that the influence of DCLG is spreading to the other Departments”. We agree:Paragraph 90

19. The Government should exempt all supported accommodation schemes from the proposed rent cut so that those with multiple complex needs can continue to receive the help they need from these vital services. The outcomes of the current review of supported accommodation should be announced as soon as possible in order to give providers the certainty they need to plan ahead and deliver services:Paragraph 93

20. It cannot be right that someone must choose between the support they need and employment. To encourage homeless people to view employment as their route into independence and stability, support and rent costs should be separated and the Government should consider allowing housing benefit to be used for support costs for a short period of time or make available additional funding to facilitate the transition from homelessness to employment and independent living:Paragraph 97

Homelessness legislation

21. We agree with the Minister’s assessment of the abolition of the priority need categories in Scotland. The Scottish housing market is significantly different to that in England, with, for example, a more stable private rental sector. For this reason, we do not advocate abolishing the priority need criterion:Paragraph 101

22. We look forward to hearing from the Department on its assessment of the Welsh legislation in twelve months, including both on strengthening the duty to prevent homelessness and on measures to address applicants who are deemed to have behaved unreasonably:Paragraph 106

23. A vital component in addressing homelessness is making sure that the support given to those at risk of homelessness and to those who are not in priority need, is meaningful. We heard regularly that many councils are doing their best to house those in priority need, while those not in priority need receive unacceptably variable levels of assistance. We therefore support the Homelessness Reduction Bill 2016–17 sponsored by Mr Blackman and urge Government to support the legislation. The Government should introduce statutory monitoring of local authority housing departments to ensure they meet the requirements of a revised Code of Guidance that outlines service levels to ensure that every homeless person receives the support they need:Paragraph 107

24. In this report, we have called on Government to ensure that there is effective oversight and monitoring of local authorities. We recognise the pressures that councils are under and applaud the positive work that is taking place. However all homeless people deserve to receive the best possible support. In particular we would like to see monitoring of the quality of customer service in housing teams, the frequency of out of area placements and the process followed when housing families away from their home. This would most effectively be done by the Government, but we do not rule out the Committee seeking assurances directly from local authorities that our concerns are being met:Paragraph 108: ω.

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Time for Action as London Rough Sleeping Rises Again

 

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|| July 31: 2016 || ά. In London 8,096 people slept rough over the course of 2015/16, figures released on July 29 revealed a 7 per cent rise on the previous year, and more than double the reported figure of 3,975 in 2010/11.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “These latest figures lay down a gauntlet that Sadiq Khan simply cannot ignore, he must show the ambition and leadership necessary to tackle a situation that is now reaching crisis proportions.

“It is encouraging that Mr Khan has shown support for a change to the law to improve the help available to homeless people from their councils while Mr Khan’s commitment to build affordable housing is also welcome.

“What the capital needs now is a wide-ranging, ambitious plan with sustained investment to tackle rough sleeping and to prevent homelessness. For a city as prosperous as London to be facing this sort of crisis is indefensible, but it is within Mr Khan’s power to end it. We are here to help him to achieve this and look forward to working with him in the coming months.”
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The Homelessness Reduction Bill Could Make History by Making It a Duty of the Local Authorities to Stop People Becoming Homeless in the First Place


 

|| July 11: 2016 || ά.  This began at the end of June when Conservative MP and member of the Communities and Local Government Committee, Bob Blackman announced that he would use his Private Members' Bill to champion a new law aimed at tackling and preventing homelessness in England. The Homelessness Reduction Bill has received the backing of national homelessness charity, Crisis, who are calling on MPs from across the political spectrum to support it.

Drawing on the recommendations of an expert panel of council representatives, lawyers and housing experts, the bill would require all councils in England to take action to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.

Bob Blackman MP said: “I am delighted to announce that my Private Members’ Bill will focus on preventing and tackling homelessness in England. During the CLG Committee’s recent inquiry into homelessness, I heard disturbing first-hand accounts from people who’d been forced to sleep on the streets because they couldn’t get the help they needed. We cannot stand by and allow this to continue. That’s why I’m calling on my fellow MPs to help put an end to this injustice once and for all by supporting my Bill. It’s not a cure-all, but it will be a major step forward in tackling homelessness. I served in local government for 24 years before becoming an MP and I have seen at first hand the importance of taking action to combat homelessness.”

Crisis Chief Executive Jon Sparkes said: “This bill could transform how we tackle homelessness in England. It offers an historic opportunity, and if passed, would represent one of the most important developments for homelessness in nearly 40 years. Homelessness isn’t inevitable, yet the law as it stands in England means that single homeless people who go to their councils for help can be turned away with no option but to sleep on the streets. This is unacceptable.


Prevention is better than cure, and for homeless people this is especially so. It’s already been shown to work in Wales, where it has dramatically reduced the need for people to be re-housed. There is a wealth of evidence, opinion and support for a change in the law on homelessness in England, and we urge MPs from all parties to get behind this historic bill. For all these reasons we will stand beside Mr Blackman as he pushes this bill through Parliament.” ω.

Crisis Report: The Homelessness Legislation: An Independent Review of the Legal Duties Owed to Homeless People

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Preventing Homelessness and Adverse Childhood Experiences are Top of Welsh Communities Secretary’s Agenda


|| July 03: 2016 || ά. Tackling the needless and preventable problem of homelessness is a key priority for Communities and Children Secretary Carl Sargeant. Addressing Shelter Cymru’s annual conference in his first speech since responsibility for Housing was returned to him, Carl Sargeant said that he was determined to do everything in his power to address the problem.

He highlighted the emphasis on prevention in the Housing:Wales: Act which he took through the Assembly in 2014, and the Welsh Government’s commitment to making sure that this is implemented in practice. He also reminded delegates of the Welsh Government’s commitment to increase housing supply, by doubling the number of new affordable homes to 20,000.

He said: “Providing people with a safe, warm and secure home remains a key priority. This is why we have committed to an ambitious target of providing a further 20,000 affordable homes during this term of government. We have made good progress in this area, but we will do more.''

He also said that he wanted to make greater progress in reducing the number of young people placed in Bed & Breakfast accommodation. Carl Sargeant went on: “We have already taken steps to ensure closer working between homelessness teams and children services in local authorities but I want much more done to avoid the use of temporary accommodation. I understand the calls for an outright ban but need to have another alternative in place to avoid young people having to be sent to accommodation miles away from family, friends and training or education placements.

I am very pleased that more than half of our Local Authorities no longer use Bed & Breakfast accommodation for young people, but I believe that there is more we can do to encourage Children’s Services to work even more closely with their Housing colleagues when planning and delivering services.”

He added that key organisations would meet to discuss this issue next month and new plans on youth homelessness prevention and care leavers’ accommodation will be published shortly. The Cabinet Secretary also emphasised that he was fundamentally committed to doing everything he can to give children in Wales the very best start in life and to giving every young person the same opportunities.

Carl Sargeant concluded: “Issues such as, domestic violence or substance misuse can have a devastating impact on a young person’s life. I want to find new and innovative ways in which we can break the cycle of damaging childhood experiences. Providing access to a safe secure home can play a crucial role in this.” ω.

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End Homelessness: UN Rights Expert Applauds Media Initiative to Put the Spotlight on Homelessness in San Francisco

The San Francisco Chronicle: The Humanion is with You in Solidarity with Your Campaign to Highlight the Plight of Homelessness
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The Humanion End Homelessness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not how a human soul is meant to be: a human soul must never be brought this low that it has no home! Image: UN Photo:Pernaca Sudhakaran

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|| June 28: 2016 || ά.  The United Nations human rights expert on housing today commended a large media initiative in the US city of San Francisco aimed at bringing the issue of homelessness to the forefront of discussions and encourage civil engagement.

“The portrayal of homeless people in the media has a significant impact on public perception and empathy,” Leilani Farha, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, said in a statement issued by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR. “I believe the San Francisco media push will encourage other media to report on homelessness in new ways, with a view to assessing accountability and offering solutions.”

The five-day media initiative led by a local daily newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, and starting on June 29, will feature stories on multiple causes of homelessness and potential solutions. It will involve almost 70 local, national and international news outlets.

Describing homelessness as a “human catastrophe,” Ms. Farha urged all governments to recognize it as a human rights crisis and commit to eradicating this global phenomenon by 2030, in line with the new Sustainable Development Goals. “The media have an important role to play in this. without public pressure, this global crisis will continue,” she noted.

Ms. Farha also noted that the initiative is an opportunity to “shift the conversation” on homelessness from one of individual failure to government responsibility and systemic causes.

In her latest report to the UN Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur had noted that homelessness is a fact of life in all countries of the world, regardless of the level of development of their economic or governance systems. Underlining homelessness as “one of the most egregious violations” of the right to housing, she urged UN Member States to address its root causes by implementing national strategies “anchored” in human rights.

Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. ω.

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Shelter Stories of Hope and Home

 

 

 

 

 

What Finland is Doing: The Only Country in the EU Where Despite the Recession Homelessness Continues to Decrease



|| June 19: 2016 || ά.  Despite the economic recession and other negative pressures Finland is the only EU country where homelessness is still going down. How and why? On June 09, the Finland Government issued a resolution on the Action Plan for Preventing Homelessness in Finland 2016–2019. The plan consistently emphasises early recognition of the risk of becoming homeless and rapid intervention when a person is at risk of homelessness or has recently become homeless. For these preventive measures to succeed, combating homelessness should be integrated into the wider goal of preventing social exclusion, which requires increased collaboration across different parts of the society.

Earlier results are encouraging

Recent efforts to tackle homelessness in Finland have yielded good results. Between 2008 and 2015, the programme to reduce long-term homelessness:PAAVO: lowered the number of homeless people by 1,345:a drop of 35%: and in 2015, the number of homeless people living alone fell below 7,000 for the first time. According to the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless:FEANTSA: Finland is the only EU country where homelessness is still decreasing despite the economic recession and social pressures.

Goal of 2,500 dwellings

The new plan aims to address housing-related problems, such as unpaid rent, at an early stage, and to safeguard continued access to housing through services like housing consultation. Supporting people who are in new housing conditions is important, especially at the initial stages. Specific measures are targeted at curbing rental debt and at enhancing mutual insurance protection for both tenants and landlords.

A further goal is that by 2019, at least 2,500 new dwellings or places to stay will be allocated to the homeless or groups at risk of becoming homeless. Primarily, the dwellings should be a part of the regular housing stock: the intention is to use both new ARA rental housing and dwellings rented from the market by housing providers for subletting in accomplishing this goal. This kind of model is being tested by the city of Espoo in co-operation with the Y-Foundation.

Homelessness agreements between the state and cities

In order to implement local measures preventing homelessness, the state will negotiate agreements with the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Oulu, Lahti, Jyväskylä, and Kuopio as well as with any surrounding municipalities or other cities willing to participate. The agreements will outline solutions to homelessness, such as making use of reasonably priced rental housing stock, guidance, and any possible local actions. In their agreements, the cities commit to a planned and preventative approach in managing homelessness.

The cities will use the agreements as a basis for formulating a strategy for preventing homelessness. This strategic work is funded by the European Social Fund:ESF: and it is done in collaboration with the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland. The cities will also begin implementing the measures for preventing homelessness.

By recruiting cities to produce local strategies and plans for preventing homelessness, Finland is taking a pioneering approach that is generating interest abroad. The Ministry of the Environment prepared the action plan for preventing homelessness in close collaboration with an extensive network of partners. The state will now work together with the cities, non-governmental organisations, and service providers in implementing the plan.

Action Plan for Preventing Homelessness in Finland 2016–2019

Inquiries:
Peter Fredriksson, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 250 066, firstname.lastname@ym.fi:
Jaana Nevalainen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 250 195, firstname.lastname@ym.fi
Tea Usvasuo, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 46 922 8946, firstname.lastname@ym.fi:ω.

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Louise's Story of Hope and Home Thanks to the Support She and Her Children Received from Shelter

Louise and two of her children handed in a petition to David Cameron at Number 10 Downing Street on behalf of Shelter.

|| May 30: 2016 || ά.  To highlight the wonderful, dedicated, tireless works of Shelter for giving hope to homeless people and championing and campaigning to end homelessness we are publishing some of the great, moving and inspiring stories of human beings, families and people who had fallen onto the cruel, cold, wet and hungry streets and because of the works Shelter does these people, children, women, men of all backgrounds find Hope and Home.

Ending Homelessness is a MORAL DUTY of any and all human beings for we cannot chose to accept that other human beings should live on the cruel, cold, wet and hungry streets. We simply cannot chose to accept that.

We can only chose it for others if we can chose it for ourselves which means that it is okay for me to fall onto the street and live in the rain, in the absolutely freezing cold, in bone-crunching-knifing-chill of the bewildering wind, in hunger and in absolute degradation of humanity. If we cannot chose it for ourselves than we cannot chose it for others and therefore, we ought, we must chose not to accept it and do anything and everything in our power to END it.

Here's the story of Louise Walker who is from west London. She lost her home after separating from her husband and contacted Shelter for advice. One year on, Louise shares the family’s progress.

I want to give an account of how we as a family are now doing. Back in July 2013 I was at my wits end. I had been in a bed and breakfast for the past four months living in one room with my four children. We shared a kitchen, bathroom and communal area with another family that consisted of three adult males and a teenage boy.

Feeling afraid and in an unsafe place, I was tired and had lost all faith and hope in the local authorities, who I thought would help me. It had been 15 months since I had been evicted from the family home due to the separation of me and my ex-husband. I had spent 11 months at a friends and in March 2013 the local council finally placed me in a B&B.

I thought I was on the final home stretch, that within six weeks this nightmare would end. How wrong was I? Six weeks turned into four months of trying to reassure my children that things were going to get better, which was something that I was finding difficult to believe. Then a mum of a classmate of my daughter gave me the number for Shelter. I immediately contacted them.

Within a week I had recorded an interview on camera for Shelter highlighting the plight of families that were in B&B’s for longer than six weeks. Shelter provided me with a solicitor who contacted the local authorities on my behalf. And I wrote an email to the director of housing with an attachment of the interview. Within two weeks I had been offered a three-bedroom house. The nightmare was finally over but in that time I had lost my home, my job and my confidence.

Well, a year on and I’m happily settled in my new home. I’ve certainly regained my confidence. I’m retraining at the moment so that I can start my own business, putting together bespoke dessert tables for parties. I also became a campaigner for Shelter. To date I’ve done interviews with the Evening Standard, The Independent, Sky News, Bella Magazine and I appeared on ITV’s This Morning in December.

Since appearing in these articles, I’ve been approached by people giving me an account of their circumstances which has enabled me to provide support and direct them to Shelter. In 2013, my teenage daughter Renee delivered a touching speech about being a homeless teenager at the Shelter Christmas Carol Service. It was so moving. This year, I am proud to say that Renee took her GCSE’s and obtained five A’s, one A* and three B’s.

Shelter is truly an amazing charity. I can’t thank them enough for helping me to get my life back on track. The staff do a marvellous job at giving help and advice to thousands of people up and down the country. And work tirelessly to draw attention to the predicaments of families who find themselves in desperate situations like myself.

I’m also so thankful to the individuals and companies that support Shelter because without their help the end of my story could have been very different. Louise delivered this speech at the reception of Shelter’s annual carol service at the church of St Martin-in-the-fields.

If you are facing homelessness or are in temporary accommodation and want advice, Shelter can help. ω.

Images: Shelter

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United Kingdom Whole Government Account 2014-15: How Much of This National Income of £659.3 Billions Will Be Required to END Homelessness: This the Question We Must Ask, Answer and Having Chosen Demand That the UK Government Commits to END Homelessness

London's Housing Crisis: How It is Affecting Children

||April 16, 2016|| Almost one in five of London’s privately renting families have moved in the last 12 months, new figures highlighted by the National Housing Federation have shown. By contrast, only 6% of all other families have done the same.

The figures, released as part of the Federation’s 100,000 Affordable Homes for London campaign, show how the capital’s housing crisis is affecting children. The campaign is calling on the next mayor to commit to tackling the problem and take up housing associations’ offer to build 100,000 new affordable homes.

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Homelessness up by 6% in England, While Success in Wales Could Show the Way Forward

 

“The law as it stands in England means that single homeless people who go to their councils for help are often turned away to sleep on the streets – cold, desperate and forgotten. It’s a scandal that someone in this situation can be told they’re not vulnerable enough for help.''

March 26, 2016: Homelessness figures out today show that 14,470 households were accepted as homeless between October and December last year - a rise of 6% across England and 10% in London compared to the previous year.

Meanwhile, in Wales between October and December, the number of households accepted as homeless fell by 67% compared to the previous year to a total of 405. At the start of 2015, the Welsh Government introduced a new legal duty to prevent or relieve homelessness. Where Welsh councils worked to prevent households from becoming homeless, they were successful in 66% of cases.

Responding, Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “Homelessness in England is soaring, and today’s figures show a further 6% rise between October and December of 2015. We already have a huge task ahead of us, and many of the underlying causes remain: more and more people are struggling to pay their rent in an increasingly insecure market, while cuts to housing benefit and local council funding have left the safety net in tatters.

“Yet if we look across to Wales, we see a very different picture that could show the way forward for England. In 2014 the Welsh Government enacted a new law requiring councils to help prevent people from becoming homeless, and as we can see from today’s figures, they are already having considerable success. Where councils intervened to prevent people from becoming homeless, they were successful in two thirds of cases. At the same time, we have seen a drop of 67% in the number of people formally accepted as homeless.

“The law as it stands in England means that single homeless people who go to their councils for help are often turned away to sleep on the streets – cold, desperate and forgotten. It’s a scandal that someone in this situation can be told they’re not vulnerable enough for help.

“Now is the time for action, and the course is very clear. We strongly urge the government to follow through on its commitment to consider options – including legislation – to prevent more people from becoming homeless. It is essential that all homeless people can get the help they need and that councils get the necessary funding to deliver on this.”

Statistics

At the end of last year there were 69,140 households in temporary accommodation in England - 12% higher than in 2014.

The proportion of households becoming homeless due to the ending of a private tenancy was 31% (4,510 households) across England and 40% in London (2,080 households).

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Dans le Noir? and Centrepoint Gastronomic Dinner for Homeless Young People Was a Success

Guests line up at Dans le Noir? and Centrepoint Gastronomic Dinner for Homeless Young People: Image: Dans le Noir?

 
March 09, 2016: Dans le Noir? the celebrated dining in the dark restaurant staffed by blind people, and the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint hosted a gastronomic dinner.

The dinner was held for Centrepoint’s vulnerable 16-25 year-olds to celebrate Dans le Noir?’s 10th Anniversary and decade of successful charitable ventures.

Homeless young people experienced heightened flavours by enjoying a gastro dinner in the dark. The menu at Dans le Noir? has evolved over the past 10 years and in November 2015, Michelin star chef, Julien Machet, was hired to consult and help John Houel, the London Head Chef, create the four eclectic menus. Chef Julien was present to assist with the creation of this spectacular dinner.

Dans le Noir? and Centrepoint  support those furthest from the jobline to help them get into work. The two companies are joining forces to maximise awareness of the difficulties that blind, and homeless young people, face when trying to get into employment.

Dining in the dark challenges people’s preconceptions of other people. Mind-blowing Gov.uk statistics estimate that 16% of working age adults are disabled. Recent statistics show that only 46.3% of disabled people are in employment compared to 76.4% of non-disabled people, making it a significant social issue. Additionally, disabled people are significantly more likely to experience unfair treatment in work.

Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem London Mayoral Candidate 2016, says: "Given that the level of homelessness in London has - sadly - grown over the past 4 years, it’s fantastic to see initiatives like this from Dans le Noir? aimed at helping young homeless people. I would encourage other employers across London to explore if they could help develop schemes like this which offer a route to support people in furthering their skills through training and employment and a way in to permanent housing."

Alistair Burt, Minister of State (Department of Health), says: “Dans le Noir? is an exciting venture for diners and staff alike. The success of this unique restaurant demonstrates how important it is to look beyond sight loss when recruiting staff, while its partnership with Centrepoint is providing life-changing opportunities for those experiencing terrible hardship. I am thrilled to be invited to take part in this very special dinner.”

Shahrar Ali, No 3 on the Green Party London Assembly, says: "One of the remarkable things about Dans le Noir? is that it turns the tables on the sighted, who are rendered virtually helpless by the blackout conditions and are entirely dependent on blind people to guide them. It’s a great experience for diners but by creating these rare conditions where blind people are better off, it also brings home just how hard it can be to find work if you have any kind of disadvantage. That’s something that young homeless people also know all about, and this is a fantastic joint initiative by Dans le Noir? and Centrepoint to draw attention to those difficulties. It’s my privilege to be a part of it and to find out what practical things I can do to help if I’m elected to City Hall in May."

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, Green Party, says: “I commend the work of Dans le Noir? and the way they have helped blind people to gain employment; and with so many homeless people on the streets it would be wonderful if more companies could support those who are furthest from the job-line to help them to get back into employment.”

Edouard de Broglie, who founded Dans le Noir? in Paris in 2004, says “50% of our staff have a high disability, yet we still operate an efficient and profitable company. We have an incredibly low staff turnover which shows the dedication of our long standing team. We want to show big companies that those with disabilities shouldn’t be limited to performing only menial jobs. Our guides are incredibly skilled and challenge the perception that blind or visually impaired can serve in a restaurant. Who could have said that 10 years ago?”.

Sadie Odeogberin, Head of Skills and Employment, at Centrepoint, says: “The number of young people rough sleeping in London has more than doubled in the last four years, but providing a safe place to stay isn’t enough to solve the youth homelessness crisis. That’s why Centrepoint supports each young person staying with us to find a job or a route into education or training. Like Dans Le Noir?, we’re committed to helping those furthest from the world of work achieve their ambitions. It’s not an easy journey for a homeless young person to make and thanks to the generosity of Dans Le Noir?, we can reward them an experience they will never have had before. Homeless young people are every bit as talented as their peers and with the right support and hard work they can fulfil their potential.”

Dans le Noir? is based at 30-31 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU: Reservations on 020 7253 1100

End Homelessness

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The Humanion Supports the Housing Federation's 100,000 Affordable Homes for London

||April 16, 2016|| With the help of the next Mayor of London, housing associations want to build 100,000 affordable homes for London over the next four years.

London is in the midst of a deep housing crisis

Far too many Londoners

have to live a long way from work, resulting in a long commute and short evenings
live in private rented housing that is insecure and very expensive
find it impossible to save a deposit to buy a home of their own
live in small, poorly maintained or unsuitable housing, dragging down their quality of life.

The scarcity of genuinely affordable homes has become an obstacle to the ambitions and potential of Londoners.

London Needs 100,000 Affordable Homes Built by 2020

The election for the next Mayor of London will be held on Thursday 5 May 2016 and candidates have put housing at the heart of the electoral campaigns. The new mayor will have more powers than any previous mayor to build new housing in London and together with housing associations, we could build 100,000 affordable homes for London during his or her term of office.

To do this would be to act on our proud history as affordable housing providers, cross-subsiding affordable homes through market sale, and regenerating estates for the local community while helping the new Mayor of London face down one of the toughest challenges the city faces. More and more people who thought they were priced out of home ownership are discovering that shared ownership offers a leg up onto the property ladder. If the economy is to stay strong and if the people who make London great are able to stay here, we need to build these homes.

Housing Associations are Ready to Build

We are ready to build 100,000 affordable homes over the next four years but first we need the next mayor to commit to need three things:

Bring forward a steady supply of clean and serviced land for housing, give affordable housing providers priority access and maximise the number of affordable homes delivered through housing zones across the capital.

Invest £2.9bn in affordable housing in London in order to maximise social rent together with other low cost housing options within the programme and for which every pound put in by the GLA, housing associations will match with £7 of private funding to build new homes.

Work with us to define what ‘affordable’ means in a way which works for the people of London and enables housing associations to build the homes we desperately need.

You Can Help

Over the coming weeks, we'll be working to make sure mayoral election candidates and Londoners understand this message. You can help support this campaign in various ways:

We're developing a campaign toolkit to make it easy to support the campaign
Live in London? Tell us how the housing crisis affects you.
Work for a housing association? Tell your colleagues and tenants about the campaign.
Use every opportunity to tell mayoral candidates about this campaign. Readmore

 

 

What

The Humanion believes ''No humans can be or stay humans if they do not have a home which by the way is the only avenue to see that someone is connected to that country/nation. If one is homeless this person is cut out of his/her country/nation all together. The society must ensure everyone has a home from which no one can turn them away like the way no one can take their citizenship away so that each and every member of such a nation has a real stake in the country/nation. There is adversarial nonsense about it might be heard like intentional homelessness or this or the other. Everyone needs a home and it is the duty/job of the government to ensure that that is the case. For those who have no home have no connection to the nation they are supposed to be part of even if they are citizens of that country/nation they are essentially robbed off their citizenship.'' Readmore

''That disempowerment of the majority of the populace by way of ensuring that most people have no connection or stake to the society/state in which they live since most people live on rented properties paying to enrich the private landlords and because of this they do not have any stake whatever to the nation they are supposed to belong. They become homeless simply because the landlords want them out and give them notice.

''This is the most profound of the all problems that this country faces. Most people do not and cannot own a home. They simply can never buy a home so that they have to live on rented accommodation which is either social housing or private housing. Social housing has been diminishing and now been effectively wiped out. No more social housing. Now there are homeless people, there are homeless floating people, there are old social housing renting people and the privately renting population. But in a nutshell all these people who do not own a home have no connection or stake to the nation. Each and every single member of a nation must have a home that no one can take away from them. No government, no authority, no landlord, no parliament can take it away. The very way one’s citizenship to a country cannot be taken away one’s home must not be taken away. Only than truly a nation can say that each and every member of it is connected to the nation and has a stake in it. Since without a home a human is really not a proper human. Abode is what a home is called in English. Abode is where one abides or resides. A home is to a human being as the skin of a human physiology; without the home of the skin a human simply cannot live or continue to be a human physically. And the place, the skin where one resides is the person of the humanity of that body that lives within that person. Therefore, without an abode to abide a person is not a person proper as there cannot live a human without skin.

''It is the duty, responsibility and humanical imperative for society to provide each and every of its member with a permanent home; a home is the skin of a human being which completes his/her person and it is absolutely deadly to take that skin away for this withdrawal or lack of skin ensures the ultimate perishing of that incomplete being. This is the ultimate and final yardstick of what civilisation is about. Homelessness and citizenship do not go together, cannot go together.

''If one does not have a home and lives on the street one cannot even vote in an election, one cannot even get mails sent to them and one would have to go through almost impossible amount of obstacles even to get one’s lawful entitlement to a benefit. The social housing is not a charity; it is the certainty that one is part of a country and nation and one shall remain so. Social housing must, therefore, be provided for those who do not have a home. They should pay a rent but that should be decided on a thirty year life-span like a mortgage and the government then invest that rent (putting all the rent together in the form of some investment/endowment) so that at the end of the thirty year period the rent should bring in a reasonable sum of money in one go. The government takes its rent out of it and take the rest as the final payment for the home and the person then becomes owner of that home. One can do the maths if one likes. If one pays a rent, say, of 10,000 a year, in 30 years one would pay 300,000. If each month’s rent is paid to even an endowment policy this should pay a big sum at the end of it. This way the government can renew its housing stock in every thirty years cycle. And truly the nation will achieve civilisation. This, cannot be accepted, as a satisfactory thing that humans, citizens of an advanced democracy live on the street and they are left there to die! This is not acceptable. This simply and utterly is not acceptable. People, must not be forced to live on rented houses of private sector where they live as if they are committing a crime. They are given notice and they are chucked out. This is not acceptable at all. A person cannot be a person unless a person has a home and unless a person is a person than he/she cannot be part of a nation that is made of persons. This is the other yardstick of civilisation that a nation ensures ( through its state/government) that each and every of its members are given a skin to complete that person’s becoming a true human being who is capable of calling himself/herself a complete person because he/she has the skin to offer him/her a home.'' Readmore

End Homelessness Campaign

On this philosophic principle that a person is not a person until that entity of a human being has a home for a home as skin completes that person's becoming a whole and complete person, The Humanion is launching End Homelessness Campaign

To Campaign to End Homelessness in the UK

a. End Rough Sleeping

No one must sleep on the street

b. End Floating Homelessness

Families and individuals/single persons living and floating around bed and breakfast accommodations, in second/third rate privately rented temporary accommodations, often sent to live in areas/towns/cities where they have no connections/communities/friends/families and children are missing schools/falling behind

c: End the Culture of Acceptance that Homelessness is Acceptable

End the culture of politics/politicians/political parties accepting that homelessness is acceptable. IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. PERIOD.

d: End Local Authorities Making People Homeless Using Court System

End the practice/culture/acceptance whereby local authorities and other social housing bodies/Private Landlords as a matter of course, making people/families/children homeless by using routine magistrate court mechanism. Go and check the records of Magistrate Courts and other court records and see for yourself how many people are systematically and routinely being uprooted from their homes every week. It is astounding to see how absolutely ruthless the local authorities can get (using public money to fund the legal cost and imposing further financial burdens on the poor tenants that they are evicting).

e: Achieve Change in Private Sector Renting

Achieve change in the private sector renting laws so that there comes into force an equitable, statutory and universal (applicable equally in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) system/mechanism and culture in private sector renting so that the private sector landlords do not think they own the country and can treat the people renting as their means to make profit. Moreover, renting from private sector is now, for an individual is probably more difficult than attempting to go to the moon unless they are rich. This must change. Anyone should be able to rent from properties that are available for rent without facing a Himalaya of barriers put before them by way of references/credit checks/deposits/rent in advance and lot more and most major estate agents simply won't even hear anyone who would pay the rent using housing benefits. What is wrong with the rent money/the pounds paid from Housing Benefit? Are these pounds not good enough? This must change.

f: Achieve the political/social/cultural/economical acceptance that every UK citizen has a right to a home

Achieve the political/social/cultural/economical acceptance that every UK citizen has a right to (as much right to the citizenship of the nation) a home and those that cannot buy a home must be provided with a home by the government/state. If they say, it is not possible, The Humanion Challenges them to show why or how it is not possible. Because this is a problem and mathematically speaking, that what does not have a solution inherently present inside it, cannot be a problem.

Please, join The Campaign. Let us end homelessness in the UK.

Thank you

The Humanion

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Become Patrons to The Campaign

People who are in influential positions can support The Campaign by becoming Patrons of The Campaign by adding their names onto The Campaign Page and doing everything they can to promote The Campaign.

Media Partners

Media outlets can join and support The Campaign as Media Partners and do all The Humanion is doing with their outlets to End Homelessness in the UK.

Write to End Homelessness in the UK

People who are working with homeless people/families can support by writing for The Campaign about issues of Homelessness

Homelessness Charity Practising Partners

Homelessness Charities can become Practising Partners and support and promote The Campaign in the domains they are working on.

Doctors for Ending Homelessness

So many a doctor at so many an NHS-run hospital have found themselves treating  homeless people/rough sleepers being brought to hospitals, again and again, coming from the street and going back to the street and they seem to be unable to do anything much to help them. So that they keep coming and going back to the streets till some of them disappear from the earth. Join The Campaign to End Homelessness in the UK as Doctors for Humanity Partners.

Home is not where the heart is
Nor is it where things are kept
A home is what skins the soul
Without it a human is non-person
Incomplete suffers slowly dying

END Homelessness The Humanion Campaign

( Copyright @ Munayem Mayenin Anyone may use the poem, so long, it is linked back to The Campaign Page)

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Why

Homelessness is a problem. A Mathematician approaches a problem to solve it, knowing/believing the problem is solvable for without a solution inherently present inside the problem, a problem is not a problem Mathematically. So she/he seeks to solve the problem which will be solved.

The most visionary and most advanced creative thinking is a must in order to approach this problem of homelessness with a right mindset so that a solution can be found. One does not, for example, take a butter knife to cut a rock nor take a kitchen knife to operate a patient. Hence, right approach and mindset is a must. At the same time, a Consultant, is faced with a patient, displaying symptoms that she has never encountered: does she go home? Does she think, this has no cure? Does she think, there is nothing, that could help the patient? Does she simply tells the patient to go home? No, she does not. She believes in the solution of this problem and she will find it (because she shall not cease until she does).

The politicians have given up thinking for a solution of the problem of solving homelessness and accepted that homelessness is an inevitability.

IT ABSOLUTELY IS NOT AN INEVITABILITY.

It is simply a matter of making it appear politically acceptable. We must not accept homelessness as acceptable. Once we have achieved this that homelessness is not only not acceptable but also that we won't simply have it. That will force the politicians/political parties to wake up and do something about it.

Think of Apollo 13: did the NASA people give up and leave the Astronauts to hang out to dry because they were in trouble? No, at NASA, they believed there was and must be a solution to that problem and they brought to bear the highest most best of human ingenuity on the problem, sought and found a solution (most importantly, absolutely, doggedly, refused even to consider thinking of giving up) and brought the Astronauts home. And, indeed, not only was it the finest hour in NASA's history, it is one of the pinnacle-hour of human ingenuity.

Hence, we repeat: there cannot a be a problem without having an inherent solution inside it (for without that it is not a problem, Mathematically speaking).

And The Humanion believes we can resolve the problem of homelessness if we seek to do it by making a choice that we simply won't accept homelessness.

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How

End Homelessness The Humanion Campaign

The Campaign is not, in a traditional sense, an organisation. But we seek to bring together as many and as diverse range of organisations in the entire length and breadth of the country from working with and among the peoples of all nations on the British Isles as well as individuals.

Does it cost anything: Nothing

Does anyone make money out of it: None. No one

Is The Campaign Raising Money: No

Is anyone getting promotion out of this: No one.

However, one might argue The Humanion gets benefitted; however, The Humanion is a Human Enterprise (that does not believe in money nor in making money: rather in human enterprises that belong to all those who chose to belong to them which requires neither money nor the idea of it. And in this sense, The Humanion is a not for profit/charitable body. Or that The Humanion Editor or people involved in The Humanion Team ( to which anyone can join if they believe in what The Humanion stands for and is doing) would get free promotion: no one in The Humanion including the Editor makes any money from or off The Humanion. The Editor thinks/writes/does the work for The Humanion for nothing. Nor does he rely on income from his books for he works to earn a living.

So what does the Campaign do? This is How and What it Does

Individuals

Individuals can join and support The Campaign. To do so is simply to send an email to editor at thehumanion dot com with Subject Line End Homelessness The Humanion Campaign Individual.

If you like, your name would be added on the page for individuals supporting the Campaign with the name of the place where you live (if you provide that information), if you don't want that, instead, your number would be added there, with the information as to where you live. That's all you have to do as an individual to join and support the Campaign

What do the supporters do?

The following

You use a link to the Campaign Page in your emails that you send out

You do anything that you can to spread the Word of the Campaign

You place a link to the Campaign Page on all your Social Media/Websites

If you are working in the fields with homeless people and can write/have time to write about issues relating to homelessness then write about these issues for The Campaign Page.

If you work in the media/PR/charities/any other fields relating to the areas concerning housing issues do everything that does not cost anything to promote The Campaign. You become the PR of End Homelessness The Humanion Campaign

For Organisations

To join, you might want to speak with us. Send us an email. Otherwise, send us an email to editor at thehumanion dot com with Subject Line End Homelessness The Humanion Campaign Organisation

We would add your organisation on the Organisation Supporter Page

What do you have to do

Place a link of The Campaign on all the websites that your organisation has, expressing your support

Use the Link of The Campaign Page on all your outgoing emails

Mention your support in all your promotional literatures/materials to The Campaign

For Media

Whatever media outlet you are, please, join The Campaign. Let us End Homelessness in the UK

For PR

Whatever you are promoting join The Campaign and you can spread the word far and wide without spending a penny on the cause but your will to make a difference

Charities Working with Homeless People

Join The Campaign and spread the word.

Let us End Homelessness in the UK

 

Thank you

The Humanion

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