As in any other metropolis, there are plenty of homeless people in London. A person without a fixed place of residence has no nationality, country, gender, race, age – absolutely any of us can be on the street.
What the statistics say?
According to Shelter, a UK-registered charity that helps homeless people, there were 300,000 homeless people in Britain in 2017, 13,000 more than in 2016. In London, their peak number is concentrated: 1 out of 59 people lives on the street. Newham became the region-holder for this criterion, where every 25th has no roof over his head.
The Shelter says the official figures are inaccurate because they do not take into account the so-called “hidden homelessness” – a definition that refers to people who have lost their homes, but do not appear in the official data because live with relatives or friends. A 2013 poll by the national British charity found that 32% of those surveyed, either on their own or through the example of an acquaintance, had a similar problem.
The mortality statistics, according to crisis.org.uk, are even more dramatic: the average life expectancy on the street for men is 47 years old, for women – 43 years old. While the indicator of life expectancy for the country as a whole is 74 years old for men and 80 years old for women. In every third case, the cause of death of homeless people is alcohol or drug addiction. There have also been many deaths due to suicide and infections.
Shelter CEO Polly Neate commented on the shocking data, saying the organization is seriously concerned about the rise in homelessness in the UK and is asking for public support to reach everyone in need.
Where to address?
Shelter provides hotline numbers: you can call here to get help, advice, and to report a homeless person.
- 0808 1644 660 – if you have nowhere to sleep, you risk spending the night on the street or are in immediate danger in your current living conditions;
- 0808 800 4444 – if you are not currently in danger, but you may need housing assistance in the future;
- 999 – if you are under threat of violence or you need immediate medical attention;
- 116 123 – if you need psychological support.
Use StreetLink to report a person sleeping on the street or living in a hazardous environment. It runs on a mobile app platform for IOS and Android, as well as streetlink.org.uk and has a telephone line in England and Wales. The service is designed to indicate the time and location of a homeless person. Four clicks – and a special team will immediately go in search of to transport him to a safe place.
StreetLink urges to pay special attention to people sleeping outside in sub-zero temperatures. Such a campaign is called SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol) and its goal is to ensure the immediate movement of people to a safe environment. At the end of February, when it was freezing in the UK, StreetLink recorded a record number of messages per day – more than 3,600.
The state does help homelessness
While charities in Britain are working to help people already on the streets, the government is working to prevent this problem from occurring. According to gov.uk, since 2010, the government has sent about £ 500 million to local municipal services, which has helped out more than a million Britons avoid losing their homes.
In April 2018, a law comes into force, which provides for the provision of living space not only to families with children and disabled people, but to everyone who is at risk of being left without homes. To achieve these goals, the government promises to allocate another £ 72.7 million.