Homeless news updates

from The Guardian

Homeless man and couple ‘completely made up’ viral story that raised $400,000

Couple and homeless man charged with theft by deception and GoFundMe money will be refunded, prosecutor said

A feelgood tale of a homeless man using his last $20 to help a stranded New Jersey woman buy gas was actually a complete lie, manufactured to get strangers to donate more than $400,000 to help the down-and-out good Samaritan, a prosecutor has said.

The Burlington county prosecutor Scott Coffina announced criminal charges on Thursday against the couple who told the story to newspapers and television stations along with the homeless man who conspired with them to tell the story.

Related: GoFundMe for homeless veteran who helped woman brings in $320,000

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

'A race to save lives': calls for action after deaths of homeless Indians in UK

Charities press for Windrush-style taskforce to help those who want to return home

Stuck in a bureaucratic limbo that left him unable to return home to India but also unable to work or access services in Britain, Sodhi Singh spent more than a decade sleeping rough on the streets of London.

“They don’t want me in India and they don’t want me in the UK. I’d rather be dead than living on the streets,” he said, two weeks before he died in hospital this month after being found unconscious in the car park of Redbridge council’s offices in east London.

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Shut out of society, young Londoners talk to UN poverty envoy

Philip Alston hears about overcrowded housing and the lure of crime on his austerity tour

A tide of gentrification is rising around the Bollo Brook youth centre in Acton, an area of west London troubled by gang problems and poverty. New flats costing up to £675,000 ring the centre’s temporary cabins, which more new homes will soon sweep away.

Unlike at least 81 other youth projects doomed by council cuts in the capital since 2012, the Bollo is not closing for good but will squeeze into a smaller space at the base of one of the new builds.

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Stacey Dooley: The Young and Homeless review – a perilous tale of life on the streets

Dooley continues to prove why she’s one of Britain’s most astute documentary makers, with a moving account of life for the UK’s hidden homeless

Josh has been working since his 16th birthday. He is now 18 and a grade-three mechanic. Beyond that, he is funny, generous, gentle and good-looking, and he ought to have it made. But his mum threw him out earlier this year (“Decided her boyfriend was better than I am, basically”), blocked him on her phone and told the council, when they went round to plead for her to take her son back in, that there was no chance of him returning. So, he went to Blackpool to look for work. He found work – a zero-hours contract at a fast-food place – but he also found himself part of the hidden homeless.

What began as sofa surfing gradually gave way to shelters and nights on the street. His boss offers to pay for a B&B when his shifts finish too late for him to get a shelter (you have to be there by 7pm to have a chance of a place), but he refuses to take her up on it. And – because there are girls who will have to stay on the streets if he takes up a bed (there are just eight in the Streetlife shelter, the only one in town that specifically supports young homeless people) – he stays out instead.

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Rule changes 'risk new social housing black hole' in England

Shelter says plans create ‘get-out clause’ for developers to avoid providing affordable homes

A proposal designed to speed up the creation of new homes in England risks “supercharging” a get-out clause allowing developers to build properties without providing social housing, the charity Shelter has said.

The government has proposed new rules that would allow builders to buy and demolish commercial buildings and create new homes without planning permission.

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

World Cup in Mexico offers sporting chance for homeless footballers

England’s 16-strong squad selected by Centrepoint have the chance to reconnect with life playing street football in a tournament comprising 500 players from 47 countries

As the clocks went back and another gloomy British winter beckoned, Craig McManus developed an enjoyable daily ritual. “I kept checking the weather forecast for Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been around 23C.”

McManus landed in the Mexican capital on Sunday but his trip is about much more than finding an antidote to vitamin D deprivation. The 43-year-old Glaswegian is a street football coach and senior development officer at Centrepoint, the youth homelessness charity, and he will spend the next week on England’s coaching staff at the Homeless World Cup.

Related: Different goals: what street kids want from the other World Cup

Nobody judged me. No one was asking if I was clean. I wasn’t defined by my past

People talk about second chances but some of our players never really had a first chance

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Half of young people facing homelessness denied help – report

Tens of thousands approaching UK councils for help last year got no meaningful support

More than half of young people facing homelessness who approached their local council for help last year received no meaningful support, potentially putting them at risk of sleeping rough, violence or abuse, according to a report.

More than 100,000 16- to 24-year-olds in the UK turned to their local authority for assistance in 2017-18 because they had either nowhere to live or because they were under threat of homelessness, research by Centrepoint found.

Related: ‘Discharged to the streets’: one homeless man’s struggle in freezing London

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Where the streets have no shame | The Upside

This week’s Upside digest looks at innovative ways of tackling the grotty nature of homelessness

Homeless doesn’t have to equal hopeless. The further the crisis extends around the rich world, the more clueless governments seem to be about taking care of their citizens.

Not so the private and charitable sectors, which come up with innovations and initiatives almost every week to address the precarious, insecure and grotty nature of life on the street.

Please would you consider covering how the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, provides healthcare to rural areas through its programme of having graduates work in hospitals in remote areas? The college also provides low-cost healthcare in urban areas. It would be sincerely appreciated.

Smita, by email

Fantastic idea. The notion that washing, self or clothes is low priority is very blinkered. As the article states, the physical and psychological benefits are immense, and from such a simple thing that most of us wouldn’t think twice about, until we weren’t able to do it.

Angela Gill, commenting on the article about mobile laundries for homeless people

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness