Homeless news updates

from The Guardian

What you can do to help rough sleepers this winter

Cold weather can be fatal for homeless people but there are practical steps you can take, such as volunteering or using an app to alert professionals

As the nights lengthen and temperatures nosedive, staying indoors becomes more tempting. But for homeless people there is no such luxury, and while sleeping rough is never an enjoyable prospect, it becomes even more dangerous – and often fatal – in the winter months.

Homelessness rates have risen dramatically, with rough sleeping doubling since 2010 and increasing by 30% in the last year, leaving huge numbers of people at risk. ,

Related: Fining homeless people for being homeless is cruel and unworkable

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

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Tackling today's problems: who's on the 2016 Guardian Charity Awards shortlist?

Charities old and new are on our shortlist of 30 small and medium-sized organisations up for the top awards in December

A charity just three years old and one that has been operating for more than 150 years are among the shortlisted entries for the Guardian Charity Awards 2016.

West Kent Befriending Service, founded in 2013, and Providence Row, established in the East End of London in 1860, have both made the last 30 for the awards which recognise excellence in small and medium-sized charities.

Related: Awards timeline and FAQs

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

I was homeless but denied help. No one should be turned away | Lee Foxall

Care worker tells of his two weeks sleeping rough after a council refused help and why he backs the homelessness reduction bill

On Friday, the homelessness reduction bill comes before parliament for its second reading. The private members’ bill presented by Conservative MP Bob Blackman would make sure no one is refused help because they’re not considered a “priority”. I hope that as many MPs as possible will back it, because this is what happened to me.

In 2015, I became homeless at the age of 47. Before then, I’d had a 20-year career in the care industry, supporting individuals with challenging behaviour, learning disabilities and mental health issues. I rented my own room, and had done for a good few years. One evening I had a phone call while I was at work informing me that my mother had passed away. I was working with young adults with mental health issues at the time, there were attempted suicides, and I found it hard to continue going to work. I didn’t see it at the time but I was depressed, and obviously grieving. I couldn’t cope, so I left my job and continued living where I was, supporting myself with the money I had in the bank. Everything was a blur around me and I just never got myself out of that darkness. Eventually, I was evicted because I couldn’t afford the rent anymore.

I sat behind a wall all night, wondering what to do, where to go. I felt like I didn’t exist

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

MP’s push to extend homeless safeguards gets cross-party support

Bob Blackman’s bill aims to prevent people without children from being told by councils to fend for themselves

The government has said it will support a backbench MP’s private member’s bill that would impose a statutory duty on councils to help people who are in danger of becoming homeless.

Under the bill, councils in England would be legally obliged to provide free advice and support for anyone at risk of homelessness, regardless of whether they are deemed to be in “priority need” under existing laws.

Related: With winter coming, would my homeless clients be better off back in prison?

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Drug dealers target rough sleepers with ‘spice’ linked to prison violence

Westminster councillor Nickie Aiken says nearly a quarter of the London borough’s street homeless were using the drug when asked earlier this year

“I call it the suicide drug: it will send you on a long, long buzz – four to five hits and you can’t move.” In a hostel in central London, James Alexander, 40, recalls trying “spice” for the first time when he was in prison.

“You get an instant buzz, you go from one to 100 straight away,” he said, shaking his head. “You get a different buzz from weed – but I don’t like it; it’s not a drug you want to be messing with. I had some the other night and the moment the buzz started I said to my mate, ‘Tear it up, put it in the bin.’”

‘The cost to the public purse is out of control. Charities we work with say they have never known anything like it

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

With winter coming, would my homeless clients be better off back in prison?

I sometimes question why I chose a career trying to house rough sleepers, especially those like Bob, a convicted arsonist with nowhere to go

When I turn up at work there, waiting for me as he does every morning, is Bob. Every day he is the first at the door for breakfast. I manage a small, independent homeless charity helping rough sleepers to access accommodation – not an easy task.

I say good morning, ask him how his night went, and let him in. As I watch him make himself a cup of tea, I feel sad. Sad because it’s now more than a month since he left prison. In that time everyday he has been the first in for breakfast, and every night he has slept rough.

Related: As public cuts leave people destitute, it’s charity workers like me who pick up the pieces

We dehumanise the situation and make it more palatable for us to live with.

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

Homeless vote: 11 tent city dwellers on Clinton, Trump and choosing a president

In Seattle and Portland, camp residents discuss the Hillary Clinton’s emails and whether Donald Trump would take us ‘back to the dark ages’

Amyann Darden believes Ronald Reagan was America’s last great president. This election, she’s voting for Hillary Clinton.

Darden, 55, used to manage an accounting firm. But her life changed after a nervous breakdown. Now relying on social security, she was forced to leave her Seattle apartment when the rent went from $950 to $1,450 a month. She’s been staying outdoors at Tent City 3, an encampment operated by homeless residents, while trying to save for a rental deposit.

Related: Seen and not heard: homeless people absent from election even as ranks grow

Related: Wealthy San Francisco tech investors bankroll bid to ban homeless camps

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

Homeless people with brain injuries are still invisible to the NHS

Being homeless is linked to much higher rates of traumatic head injury. But professionals are still misdiagnosing and mistreating people

Homelessness is on the rise and has been for the past five years, with government statistics suggesting a 55% increase in the number of people homeless in 2015. Despite this, people living on the streets still remain largely invisible to regular NHS services, leading to a big problem in health inequalities.

Brain injury presents a particular challenge. Homeless people are five times more likely to be hospitalised due to head injury, compared to the general population and US research suggests that roughly half of all homeless people may have had a traumatic brain injury. . These figures are higher still if we include dementia and substance-related brain injury, such as alcohol-related brain damage. Yet we still do not have properly-funded support for homeless people who have sustained such traumas.

Related: With supported housing in limbo, vulnerable people face homelessness

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness