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Homelessness in the UK

Written By Charles Kerr 18 Oct 2017

Homeless in the UK is increasing year on year at alarming rates...

Homeless man in red sleeping bag.

Homelessness in the UK has been increasing year on year for the past six years. The latest measures estimate an increase of 16% in the population of rough sleepers from the in a year alone. It is easy to see these figures simply as numbers but there is much more to it. Behind the statistics are individuals, often in poor hygienic conditions and with insufficient clothing to be sheltered from the elements. These are people who have gotten used to being overlooked, often with mental health issues and crippled poor self-esteem that impair them from improving their conditions.

The average life span for an individual living in rough sleeping conditions in the UK is 47 years old. Every individual sleeping on our streets is a person whose needs are not being addressed. People with talents and stories, and people which we want to empower to improve their life.

All around our cities homelessness is steadily increasing. In Bristol, homelessness has increased by 90% in the last three years, in Birmingham the homeless population has more than quadrupled since 2010, Manchester is overrun by excessive amounts of homeless camps, in Cardiff the number of homeless people has more than doubled since 2013, and in Nottingham the number of rough sleepers this year has been the greatest in the past 20 years. And of course, London boasts the highest percentage of homelessness in the nation, with 1 in 51 people being homeless.

Unfortunately, despite the great work done by individuals and organisations, issues of perception and misunderstanding about the homeless reduce the community as a whole’s capacity to work. People often go about the wrong way to solve the problem, a recent example being the ‘homeless spikes’ introduced in Manchester. It’s time we rethink what we as a community can do to improve the lives of more than 250,000 people living on the streets of our country.

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