Homeless news updates

from The Guardian

Gentrification isn't a benign process: it forces people from their homes | Dawn Foster

Few things are more likely to make your latte taste bitter than being confronted with the human reality of gentrification.

Invariably, on leaving King’s Cross station in London every morning, the first person to speak to me is not an editor or colleague, but a complete stranger who explains they’re homeless and would appreciate any change.

It’s rare to see the same person twice: many homeless people sit outside the station whatever the weather. The Financial Times columnist Janan Ganesh perhaps sees a different King’s Cross to me, focusing on the joys of private members bars and snooker clubs in this area. As with many places in London, King’s Cross has changed a great deal in the last five years and gentrified considerably. Unsurprisingly, many people have been wary of this, not from fear of progress but from fear of displacement and financial exclusion masquerading as “progress”.

Related: People’s homes are not commodities: cities need to rethink housing

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Tiny houses: salvation for the homeless or a dead end?

Depending on who you ask, moving homeless people into wooden cabins either rescues them from the streets or paves the way for shantytowns

Othello Village is on a plot of land behind a gas station, surrounded by a chain-link fence. It consists of 28 wooden huts and 12 tents that flap in a bitter Pacific wind. Residents share a shower, toilet, and kitchen tent, with food stored in plastic boxes to keep out the rats.

Until recently the cabins lacked heating or electricity, and the children who live there – currently 11 of its 67 inhabitants – had to use flashlights to read their schoolbooks. This is how Seattle, one of the richest cities in the world, flush with cash from Amazon and Microsoft, houses some of its poorest residents.

It’s empowering for the people involved … As opposed to feeling crushed under the weight of circumstance

Related: Outside in America: learn more about our ongoing homelessness project

You have to put homeless people somewhere. If the shelters can’t take them, where should they be? On the streets?

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

The tiny houses where homeless people seek shelter – in pictures

Wooden cabins are increasingly viewed as a quick and cheap solution to homelessness and, with minimal public debate, are mushrooming across the US

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

How Finland solved homelessness | Interview: Juha Kaakinen

The Nordic country is the only EU state not in the midst of a housing crisis. Juha Kaakinen of the Y-Foundation explains how Housing First works

This week’s report by EU housing organisation Feantsa has found every country in the EU in the midst of a crisis of homelessness and housing exclusion – with one exception: Finland.

Related: Homelessness at crisis point in all EU countries – except Finland

Related: Lessons from Finland: helping homeless people starts with giving them homes

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Homelessness at crisis point in all EU countries – except Finland

Report on ‘alarming evidence’ of rising homelessness singles out UK for criticism while warning that one in 70 Athens residents are homeless

A European housing body has warned that homelessness and exclusion from housing has reached crisis point in the majority of countries in the EU. European Union.

Feantsa, the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless, has released its second report on housing exclusion in Europe, in conjunction with French housing charity Fondation Abbé Pierre. The report highlights “alarming evidence of rising homelessness” and calls for EU member states to put eliminating homelessness at the core of their social policy agendas.

Related: Lessons from Finland: helping homeless people starts with giving them homes

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

My ambulance crew is forced to put a plaster over society's failure

Cuts to public services mean we visit people who don’t need medical help and cardiac arrest calls go unanswered

However good the NHS is, it is not a lot of things; it isn’t social care, it isn’t a hotel and it most certainly isn’t a miracle worker. I work as an emergency care assistant on ambulances at the weekend. I can see the amazing things the health service does, but also why it sometimes appears to be falling apart at the seams. The NHS is stretched to breaking point every day. There are a lot of reasons for this and some of them are easy to see.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been called to patients who aren’t really patients at all. They are desperately in need of help, but not medical help. They need social care. Or social housing. They need their basic needs to be met, but not an ambulance crew. It’s just that there is no one else who they can call on a Sunday afternoon when, for example, they are at the end of their tether. When the loneliness hits hard, the prospect of not seeing a friendly face for another week is more than they can bear.

Related: Paramedic: most patients we take into A&E don’t need to be there

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

I am a legal aid lawyer for people facing eviction – they are the real Daniel Blakes

From the care leaver paying £650 a month to live in a shed to the tenant with one light bulb, I never get used to the stories – and they are increasingly desperate

I’ve been a legal aid lawyer for 28 years and I’ve just had my first shed case. The tenant, a 22-year-old care leaver, had a video on his phone of the place he lived in. The small screen showed the outside of a shed he shared with the rats at the bottom of his landlord’s garden. He was paying £650 per month.

Inside was worse. There was no heating and very basic bathing facilities. He told me the plumbing didn’t work properly and the toilet was frequently blocked. His only cooking appliance was a microwave. It was cold and damp and it was summer. All was fine until he lost his job and his landlord wouldn’t let him claim benefit. How could he – it was a shed.

Related: It’s getting harder for us health inspectors to protect you from bad landlords

Related: I want to help you get the right benefits, but your landlord is taking up all my time

Related: I work in a council homeless unit, where not helping people is seen as a good job

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Downplaying Brexit to overseas investors won't help UK housing crisis | Dawn Foster

At luxury property jaunt Mipim, Brits are desperate to keep money flowing into UK housing. But Brexit will still see an exodus of construction workers

It’s that time again: La Croisette in Cannes is thronged with yachts and men in suits barking into their phones on the beach. Mipim, the world’s luxury property conference, has descended on the south of France boasting that the delegates pack away more champagne than the film festival.

Last year, as I traipsed from yacht to yacht battling seasickness and constantly being mistaken for a waitress, the atmosphere was bullish. Then, the prospect of leaving the European Union wasn’t remotely on the cards, and people remained convinced that London’s luxury property boom would last forever. This year, mercifully, I’m in England not France, but those on the ground say they’re battling to make the case for the UK, with cities, local authorities and housing associations trying to convince people to invest in post-Brexit Britain.

Related: At yacht parties in Cannes, councils have been selling our homes from under us | Aditya Chakrabortty

Related: Anger at Cannes property fair where councils rub shoulders with oligarchs

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness