The Blog

'I get scared if I sleep alone': street children in Bangladesh

Discrimination and neglect are the biggest threats to the wellbeing of the world’s poorest children and, according to a report by Save the Children, things are getting worse. Part of the NGO’s work includes supporting the street children of Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, by offering shelter to those who sleep rough

All photographs by CJ Clarke for Save the Children

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Utah says it won 'war on homelessness', but shelters tell a different story

A year after officials announced that chronic homelessness had been nearly wiped out, a battle is brewing over the future of the largest shelter in the state

A year after Utah officials announced to great fanfare that chronic homelessness had been nearly wiped out, a battle is brewing over the future of the largest shelter in the state.

Not because the Road Home, in Salt Lake City, and its 1,000-plus beds aren’t needed in the Utah capital – but because they are.

Related: ‘Housing first’: Dallas’s new strategy for the city’s most costly homeless people

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The first Street Child Games has already brought the Olympic spirit to Rio

The Olympians going to Brazil are following a group young athletes from around the world who made their own remarkable journeys to Rio earlier this year

With only 100 days until the world turns its eyes towards the Maracanã for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games, serious doubts remain about Brazil’s capacity to deliver the event. But Rio de Janeiro has already hosted an alternative Olympics this year. The inaugural Street Child Games gave former homeless children the chance to become medal winners last month, offering an inspiring example of how grassroots sport can elevate the most marginalised groups and give them the opportunity to show their potential.

Take the cases of 14-year-old Hepsiba and 20-year-old Innocent, who were both among the medal winners. Hepsiba, who lives with her mother in a night shelter in Chennai on the Bay of Bengal, picked up gold, silver and bronze medals for India in the 100m, 400m and 100m hurdles, giving her the confidence to continue training and pursue her dream of becoming a professional athlete.

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Welsh law shows that early support prevents homelessness | Kate Murray

Impressive results in Wales are fuelling calls for England to adopt a homelessness prevention law that obliges councils to help people in housing crisis

A list of landlords’ phone numbers would have been the only support Alice Rivers could have expected from her local council if she had become homeless a few years ago. But following trailblazing legislation in 2015, Welsh councils have transformed the way they respond to people who have been evicted, as well as those at risk of losing their home, by intervening earlier and more creatively to prevent homelessness. So when Rivers, 18, was recently thrown out of the family home after coming out as transgender, Flintshire council found her a place in a temporary “nightstop” and is now helping her to move on to a place of her own in north-east Wales.

“I was so worried – I thought the council wouldn’t be able to help,” says Rivers. “I burst into tears when they told me they could find me somewhere.”

Related: We need to change the law so homeless people get the help they need

We estimate that for every pound we spend, we are saving £4

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The shelter that gives wine to alcoholics | Tina Rosenberg

Giving free booze to homeless alcoholics sounds crazy. But it may be the key to helping them live a stable life

On a grey January morning at 9.15, residents of the Oaks shelter for the homeless started lining up, coffee mugs in hand, at a yellow linoleum counter. At half past the hour, the pour began. The Oaks’ residents are hard-core alcoholics. They line up to get what most people would consider the very last thing they need: an hourly mug of alcohol.

Dorothy Young, the Oaks’ activities coordinator – a stocky, always-smiling middle-aged woman who is part cheerleader, part event planner, part warden, part bartender – stood behind the counter at a tap that dispenses cold white wine. She poured a measured amount of wine into each cup: maximum seven ounces at 7.30am for the first pour of the day, and five ounces each hour after that. Last call is 9.30pm.

One man was taken to A&E 109 times in six months. Another was picked up by the police or paramedics 314 times in a year

Windsor was drinking eight to 10 bottles a day. He drank until he lost consciousness. The next day he would do it again

But younger people don’t feel comfortable in the Oaks, which Muckle called ‘a nursing home of sorts, with alcohol’

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Westminster council turns away homeless Jesus

Officials reject application for bronze statue near Houses of Parliament to draw attention to rough sleeping

Huddled figures on park benches are a common sight in Westminster, but a plan to draw attention to homelessness with an evocative statue in the heart of the UK’s political establishment has been met with a curt rebuff from officials in the London borough.

An application to place a life-size bronze cast of Homeless Jesus, a sculpture by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz, in front of Methodist Central Hall has been rejected on the grounds it “would fail to maintain or improve (preserve or enhance) the character or appearance of the Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square conservation area”.

Related: Pope Francis tells teens ‘happiness is not an app you can download’

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'This is beautiful': after 16 months in a shelter, New York family finds a home

Shakira Crawford and her children struggled to find full time housing despite the city’s offer of rental subsidies and promise to fine landlords refusing such vouchers – a program that so far has failed to deliver as advertised

  • Published in partnership with WNYC radio

In late December, three days after Christmas, Shakira Crawford left her three children with her neighbor at a homeless shelter in East New York and rushed into the night to look at an apartment.

“I’m excited,” she said, exuding her usual cheerfulness, despite the near-freezing temperature.

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Cuts mean families are packages in a cross-country pass the parcel

Once one city is full, another is used as a dumping ground. Does this continue forever until cities are hollowed out citadels of wealth?

Homelessness is hell: all forms of poverty are misery-making, but having nowhere to sleep on a long term basis compounds the experience.

Whether you’re placed in short-term accommodation, sleeping on friends’ sofas or, in the worst case scenario, rough on the street, not having your own home as a sanctuary erodes self-worth and self-confidence. When you have children, the fear and guilt can be overwhelming: families I’ve spoken to were homeless because of outside circumstances they had no control over – landlords selling up; revenge evictions; cuts to income through housing benefit cuts, job losses, or diminishing work hours; or fleeing abuse. But everyone absorbed the stigma society attached to the homeless and poorly housed and felt, in turn, they had failed their children.

Related: If council housing is in such demand, surely private renting is broken?

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