Homeless news updates

from The Guardian

'It’s a catastrophe': low-income workers get priced out of California beach city

Rapidly rising rents, exacerbated by the tech boom and short-term rentals, have made it impossible for many working-class Americans to remain in Santa Cruz

At first, Jamie Kahn tried ignoring the repeated knocks on her front door. It was September 2015, and the 52-year-old Santa Cruz woman had recently faced an unexpected 40% rent increase that she could not afford.

After missing a rent payment, her new landlords in the northern California beach city quickly moved to evict the single mother and her two children. Kahn thought that if she refused to open the door and accept a summons, she could bide some time to fight the increase from $1,400 to $2,000 a month. She was wrong.

Related: Ordinary people can’t afford a home in San Francisco. How did it come to this?

California is a monster. If you don’t keep up, you end up on the streets, and nobody cares

People are living in all kinds of alternative housing – converted garages, cars, chicken coops, you name it

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Poorer renters at risk from homelessness as benefit shortfall grows

Hundreds of thousands of households face a £100-a-month gap between private rents and housing benefit by 2020, says study

Hundreds of thousands of low-income households in Britain are facing a living standards crisis that by 2020 will see them struggling to meet a £100-a-month shortfall between rents and housing benefit payments, according to the Fabian Society.

Many private tenants could become homeless if they cannot find the money to meet the shortfall, while others will be forced to turn to food banks or “black market” cash-in-hand jobs to make ends meet, says the leftwing thinktank.

Related: Private landlords get £9.3bn in housing benefit from taxpayer, says report

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Londoners only see what they want to see. The night tube won’t change that | Ben Judah

As I bedded down among the capital’s homeless community, revellers rushed past searching for sex, drink, skunk or home. We were completely invisible

They say the night tube will open up the London night, that four newly launched night lines will reveal it. No chance. The night is not what’s out there. The night is only what we want to see. Just ask those who know the night like no one else, the thousands of Londoners who sleep on the streets.

Related: London night tube: meet the people who travelled on the first night

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Sex in return for shelter: homeless women face desperate choices

If the government’s response to homelessness doesn’t explicitly recognise the needs of vulnerable women they’ll continue to be exploited and invisible

The vulnerability of homeless women has been highlighted by reports of adverts offering women accomodation in return for sex. These stories appeared just as a committee of MPs released a report on homelessness which acknowledges that homeless women are particularly at risk of sexual violence.

Offering sex for accommodation is not a new form of exploitation, and seedy suggestions about lower rents in return for “favours” affect women across the income scale. But for homeless women, desperation can often make unwanted sex the seemingly safer choice. Twenty eight percent of homeless women report having had unwanted sex (pdf) just to get a roof over their heads.

Related: Homelessness shames our country – we need to tackle the root causes I Clive Betts

Related: Scared, lonely, invisible; hunt is on to find hidden army of homeless women

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

What’s needed to tackle Britain’s homelessness scandal | Letters

Each person sleeping rough is a sign that our society has fallen short, and successive governments have pledged to tackle homelessness. Labour has always been committed to ending homelessness, indeed under the last Labour government it fell by 62%. Yet under this Tory government rough sleeping has doubled and homelessness is up by a third. Behind each figure lies the story of individual suffering, whether it is rough sleepers huddled together in doorways, or those placed in emergency accommodation with their children by their local council, unsure of where else to turn or what is next. This is the harsh end of the housing crisis and we must fight it.

It is Labour that is tackling rising homelessness, in government in Wales and in Labour-led local authorities up and down the country. And in parliament, it is Labour that is exposing the Tories’ failure on homelessness. The Labour Campaign to End Homelessness appeal (Letter, 17 August) is a welcome intervention. It is right that Labour recommits itself to ending homelessness and explores proposals to provide greater support to those facing homelessness.

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Homelessness shames our country – we need to tackle the root causes I Clive Betts

With cuts to funding and no clear statistics on the extent of the problem, homeless people are being failed repeatedly

Our report on homelessness makes for very sober reading. More and more people are finding themselves, through no fault of their own, with nowhere to live. When they seek help, they are all too often treated with disdain and some are simply turned away with futile advice.

We on the Communities and Local Government select committee have made recommendations on how these issues can be addressed and support a private member’s bill on homelessness reduction presented by our colleague Bob Blackman MP. We plan to follow up on our recommendations next year and will also take evidence on the bill when parliament returns from recess in September.

Related: Domestic violence victims are disappearing from homeless statistics

Local authorities are under huge financial pressure, but treating people humanely costs nothing

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

New homelessness strategy is a must, say MPs

All-party committee of MPs says law must force councils to provide proper support for all people in danger of homelessness

The crisis of soaring numbers of people living on the streets or at risk of losing their homes should be tackled with an all-out attack by the government on homelessness, an all-party committee of MPs has said.

It calls on ministers to back proposed changes to the law to force councils to provide proper support for all people in danger of homelessness, and says that welfare cuts and affordable housing shortages will exacerbate England’s housing crisis.

Related: Homelessness shames our country – we need to tackle the root causes I Clive Betts

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

We call on Labour to pledge to end homelessness | Letters

A year ago we launched the Labour Campaign to End Homelessness (LCEH), asking the Labour party to include, in its next manifesto, a pledge to end homelessness – something it has never before done. This is not a pipe dream. Leading homelessness charities such as Crisis and Shelter believe that we can end homelessness too. Yet only Labour can deliver on this in government. Under the last Labour government, homelessness fell substantially, but it was not eradicated. Moreover, homelessness under the Tories is soaring, with rough sleeping in London more than twice what it was in 2010, according to Department for Communities and Local Government statistics.

So far, we have been grateful for the support of many Labour politicians, including James Murray (deputy mayor of London for housing), and our patrons, Teresa Pearce MP (shadow minister for housing) and Tom Copley AM (Labour housing spokesman, GLA). However, we now want Labour to make formal its support for our aim of ending homelessness. To make a Labour pledge real, we ask the party to consider five key policies which will go towards eradicating homelessness. We also ask that the next Labour government enacts these policies in the order set out below:

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness