UK: Thousands to see in the New Year sleeping rough on the streets


UK: Thousands to see in the New Year sleeping rough on the streets

Margot Miller

28 December 2017

Thousands of UK families are suffering acute social distress, their lives blighted by low income, debt or homelessness.

Last week, a committee of MPs in the cross-party Public Accounts Committee were forced to acknowledge that homelessness was a “national crisis.” They cited a report from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman that more than 9,000 people are rough sleepers and 78,000 families are living in temporary accommodation in England alone, including 120,000 children. Many of these are working families who have been made homeless due to the rocketing cost of private rent.

Fourteen million people live in poverty in the UK today—one in five of the population—including 8 million working age adults, 4 million children and 1.9 million pensioners.

And the numbers are rising.

Tents of homeless people in Manchester St Anne’s Square in 2015 before they were served an eviction notice by the city council

Among the poorest—those at or below 60 percent of the median income—are some one-and-a-quarter million people classed as destitute, including 312,000 children.

The destitute, as defined by the Joseph Rowntree Trust, are “people [who] have: slept rough, had one or no meals a day for two or more days, been unable to heat or to light their home for five or more days, gone without weather-appropriate clothes or gone without basic toiletries.”

The figures are startling in one of the richest countries in the world. Hunger has now become endemic, with severe levels of poverty forcing many to turn to food banks or other charities just to survive.

Research by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation indicates that one in five children in the UK…

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