24% rise in deaths amongst the homeless.

Posted by: Bob the Builder on 21 December 2018

Whilst Parliament argued over what Jeremy Corbyn did or did not say (and please Iím not interested in that either way) he pointed out that a homeless man died on the street outside parliament. 

After looking the incident up I discovered the depressing fact of a 24% rise in deaths. 80% men with an average age of 44 and that a very large percentage were caused by drugs and alcohol doesnít make it any less depressing. 

 

Posted on: 21 December 2018 by Huge

My work in the mental health sector makes me acutely aware of that, but a viable solution to the problem is extremely difficult to find and competes for resources with so many other burning issues.

With the current political situation, this is very likely to be greatly exacerbated in the next 6 months and ongoing after that - across the whole of the mental health sector we are expecting a significant increase in demand for all our services.

Posted on: 21 December 2018 by Loki

The situation is acute in Manchester, but despite all the good works of  local support groups/charities, the drug ring vultures scavenge and prey on the vulnerable. The incidence of  'spiced' people is a worrying and depressingly regular occurrence for the defenceless and easily conned who cannot afford it and yet are sold 'an escape'. The police try to stop drug crime, but are under-resourced as are the mental health and housing services what try to step in when they can.

Posted on: 21 December 2018 by Simon-in-Suffolk

and it can be a vicious circle - certain so called recreational drug use can significantly increase  mental injury and damage mental health, some of which is not recoverable.

I really don't think there is single answer - alas it is far from straightforward - and certainly not all about state resources - though clearly they can help mitigate and provide respite and support   for some .. I believe society expectations and 'norms' can push some people to go outside of it and reject it  - and I don't think there is any quick fix to that.

Posted on: 21 December 2018 by Bob the Builder

Unfortunately it isnít a burning issue for some and the idea that many homeless people choose that way of life and enjoy it is sadly widely believed. 

It is such a complexed set of circumstances that set people on this path and leave them unable to break the cycle that itís all to easy for people to shrug their shoulders. The problem is that the numbers of homeless and their problems will grow and grow unchecked in the coming decades and the few tents we now see pitched in our cities will grow and grow until they become tented communities. 

Posted on: 21 December 2018 by Jonners

I saw an interview on Channel 4 news with James Brokenshaw on Wednesday, he sounded like a man who was completely clueless and had been prepped at the last minute. It was the typical "we need to look at the root causes and do more to help these people who live their miserable lives under the radar".  He was followed by his equivalent at Labour who had herself lived homelessly for a spell in her twenties and really knew her stuff. Labour's solution? Free up 88,000 empty council run properties to get them off the street and into the system and provide a budget of £3m for support services. 

Posted on: 21 December 2018 by Massimo Bertola

I am ill at ease to speak about England or the USA, but Italy is presently growing economically a tad less than Greece Ė which was one step before default and disaster Ė and is in the hands of people I wouldn't rent to clean my bathroom plumbing.

That said, a 24% increase is a sign that the distopic futures we enjoy in movie theaters are, obviously, a likely portrait of an incoming reality. I cannot say whether drugs and alcohol are the cause or the effect of living on the road, and if such cases are choices or simply that people found themselves suddenly, perhaps surprisingly, without a home; but Bob's last remark, that we are going to have tented communities in our towns seems perfectly sensible to me. I don't believe that much can be done with the average governments we have. I am happy to know that I could die in a few years (or weeks or days), but am profoundly worried for the little kids I know and love in my family Ė or in anybody else's family, for that.

Posted on: 21 December 2018 by Bob the Builder

Sadly the outrage shown over a member buying a diesel powered car recently was far, far greater than has been shown at the news that over 600 homeless people died on the streets of our towns and cities last year.   

Where I live homelessness is an ever growing problem and the age of those rough sleepers is getting younger and younger and though they are predominantly male the amount of young women is also growing too.  These homeless young men and women I see everyday are all using alcohol and drugs some quite openly I saw a couple smoking crack within yards of a main railway station busy with hundreds of people but as Massimo says it is hard to say wether these young people are homeless because they became addicted to drugs and alcohol or are taking them to ease being homeless but one thing is certain the reason that they are in the predicament they are in is a result of the society we are apart of and have helped to create and so they are our problem and unless we try and address it we will find this death rate rising year on year and the age of death falling year on year.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Posted on: 21 December 2018 by hungryhalibut

Seeing homeless people on the street and hearing these stories is heartbreaking, and clearly something is wrong in society, but I wouldnít really know where to start to address it. I wonder what practical steps you suggest should be taken to alleviate the problem. 

Posted on: 21 December 2018 by TOBYJUG

Something's are difficult to have an opinion about. Like me saying that I love animals, yet I'm not a vegan and can be regularly seen in the butchers buying some sausages and bacon.

Homelessness is going to get worse for us, yet more empty properties seem everywhere

Posted on: 21 December 2018 by Tony2011

This is not a UK only issue which has far reaching political and social ramifications.

Posted on: 21 December 2018 by Bob the Builder

Just because a problem is very complexed doesn't mean there are not solutions and saving our outrage for problems with an easy fix doesn't help.  Blanket solutions will only work for some and completely miss the needs of others of course we need more homeless shelters, GP's in speacialist clinics prepared to deal with the very complex needs of the homeless and some very radical thinking regarding drugs policy, safe injecting centres would be a good start.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Preventing young people from becoming homeless is also key and again this needs to be a multi faceted approach. Firstly we have a duty of care to children brought up in our care homes that should see them through into adulthood as we would our own children too many of these young homeless men and woman have come through our care systems and then been left to their own devices.

Secondly rents in this country have become ridiculous perhaps a rent cap on the under 30's and tax relief for the landlord.  Also tenancy agreements for people in shared housing renting rooms should be law so that both tenant and landlord are protected and so before a landlord evicts a tenant they should be brought before a court to see if a deal cannot be worked out perhaps rent and arrears could be stopped at source by employers.

I work with many young men under 30 and I would say that at least 50% of them use cocaine every weekend some more and also smoke weed and drink alcohol daily.  A recent random drug and alcohol test on the site I'm working on saw five out of the ten tested red carded for positive test results no offer of help or probation with drug awareness just banned from that one site and for three years on any site by the same developer.

These young men are the potential homeless,  loss of employment and a drug problem could see them made homeless very quickly in this country so why no intervention at this point to avoid possible problems down the line because these random drug and alcohol tests are not about social welfare but are to do with the developers insurance policies.

Clearly I'm no expert but there needs to be a dialogue and awareness of these problems even though they do not win votes,  modern, forward thinking policies need to be implemented to avoid a huge rise in homelessness because whilst we are all outraged at the fact Jeremy Corbyn may have called Theresa May a stupid woman or that someone would drive a diesel powered care young people are becoming homeless and are dying at an ever increasing rate.

 

Posted on: 21 December 2018 by thebigfredc

Ii don't know the source of the map but nearly a million homeless in Germany can't be right.

If the data is correct then the UK number of homeless seems comparitevly small although even 1 person in this predicament is a tragedy.

I was shopping in Cambridge yesterday and I noticed quite an increase in the number of those sleeping rough.

Ray

Posted on: 21 December 2018 by osprey

The data concerning Germany can be broken down as following:

∑     Of Germany's 860,000 homeless, 440,000 are refugees.

∑     Excluding refugees, of the 420,000 remaining homeless people, 52,000 live on the streets.

Note though that this refers situation a few years back. 

Posted on: 22 December 2018 by Huge

In terms of drug use, for the traditional drugs I support legalisation of their use (above age 21 only for reasons of brain damage in people below 25yrs of age).  This will require licensing and regulation of the supply chain; the model for this would be similar to that for alcohol and tobacco.  Registration and monitoring of use would also be required with the information being passed to the user's GP.  The monitoring is necessary to allow advice to be given or assistive action (as healthcare) to be taken if a person's use starts to get our of control.  It MUST be clear that such action is assistive not punitive (see below for funding this properly).

However, the ban on the most damaging drugs (e.g. spice, PCP, PDMA -as opposed to MDMA) and 'novel substances' should stay as they cause particular difficulties for hospitals, the police and society in general.  The fact that 'clean' licensed product is available will massively reduce the actual price and so markedly reduce the illegal market and the problems caused by that.

Strict limits on use (and residual levels) will be needed in situations where other peoples' safety is dependant on personal judgement.

It's very likely that this will be not just a zero cost measure but actually raise more tax revenue than the cost of running both the licensing and the healthcare schemes and this can be used to assist with the treatment of co-morbidity issues often associated with drug dependency, thus reducing the damage further.  This wider level of mental health support may also perhaps reduce the number of people getting into drug dependency in the first place and will benefit society as a whole.

Posted on: 22 December 2018 by Rich 1

I suspect the reasons for homlesness are as many as those that are homeless. How about asking the ex homeless what they would like to to see happen and the reasons they became homeless and then zoom in on that. I'm sure we'll never have a completely homeless society but we need to do a lot more, especially for the more vonerable. We also must be aware that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink and what we can do in such cases. Rich 

Posted on: 22 December 2018 by Bob the Builder

I completely agree with HUGE on the subject of drug legislation because it is the only way to combat the problem of drug abuse we have tried prohibition and it has failed totally.

And what RICH 1 says is partly true there will be those who do not respond to help of any kind or agree to interaction with the relevant agencies but that is also true of some smokers, drinkers, over eaters and gamblers but it doesn't mean that the offer of help is withdrawn.                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Posted on: 22 December 2018 by TOBYJUG

The other week whilst in London we thought it would be nice to revisit Tate Britain, took the lift to the top viewing area that has a full 360 vista.

great views but right next are several new high rise apartments with what looks like all glass walled open planned and all kitted out with flashy interior furnishings. Closer looking it was clear that these are all people less. Maybe it's a new building waiting for young moneyed folk to just move in or something.  Looking around and behind the Tate front I could see even more new high rise apartments with the same style of interior design and nobody.  Perhaps I was the time of day and all the residents are out working hard paying for it, but they all just looked like a show home would with no real evidence of individual tastes.  It just seemed very weird.    There was even a notice on the door to get out on the Tate view saying " please respect our neighbours" as they are very close - but who ?

Just seems weird that so much funds are pumped into these things and sit empty, like an investment for some very wealthy individual and their portfolio.

Posted on: 23 December 2018 by hungryhalibut

Iíd give councils the power to requisition empty properties to be used as social housing. Itís outrageous that houses and flats sit empty when people are sleeping on the streets and there are families squeezed into undersized accommodation. What London in particular needs is not £4m flats for foreign investors to leave empty, but social and affordable houses for ordinary people. Iíd also charge double or quadruple council tax on second homes to help support local business and homelessness budgets. Itís wrong that people have two or more houses while others have none. 

Posted on: 23 December 2018 by Timmo1341

As the owner of two houses, you wonít be surprised that I donít agree with you in respect of your proposal to quadruple my council tax! I agree that all properties remaining empty after, say, 6 months, should be compulsorily requisitioned. To say that I should be penalised because I chose to spend some of my pension on a property that my children  can rent from me whilst saving for deposits is rather unfair and not very well thought through. If what you really mean is the targeting of holiday homes that sit empty for most of the year, then I think you may have a point, although it does seem unfair that those who choose to spend their wealth on Statements, Rolexes and Maseratis and the like get off scot free! 

Posted on: 23 December 2018 by hungryhalibut

Yes, absolutely, I was thinking of holiday homes. The difference between housing and Statements is that housing is an essential and is in limited supply, while a Statement is neither. And as a resident of Cornwall you will know that holiday home owners push prices beyond the reach of local people and contribute diddly squat to the local economy. 

Posted on: 23 December 2018 by TOBYJUG

Not the Tate Britain, but the Tate modern - my bad.

Posted on: 23 December 2018 by Bob the Builder
Timmo1341 posted:

As the owner of two houses, you wonít be surprised that I donít agree with you in respect of your proposal to quadruple my council tax! I agree that all properties remaining empty after, say, 6 months, should be compulsorily requisitioned. To say that I should be penalised because I chose to spend some of my pension on a property that my children  can rent from me whilst saving for deposits is rather unfair and not very well thought through. If what you really mean is the targeting of holiday homes that sit empty for most of the year, then I think you may have a point, although it does seem unfair that those who choose to spend their wealth on Statements, Rolexes and Maseratis and the like get off scot free! 

Timmo

There are different ways of looking at it someone who can afford to buy a home so that their children are not homeless whilst they save for a property to secure the fact that they and hopefully their children are not homeless in the future may very well be someone who should be targeted for tax to help with the homeless problem however I think that a quadruple increase in council tax is unfair but  perhaps the money the government already take in tax on second homes and rental income should be directed to the problem of homelessness. Also someone with a portfolio of rental properties should be targeted for some type of stealth tax to help build more affordable housing and companies who buy and sell in bulk off plan properties should be targeted and whilst requisition of penthouse flats in mayfair to house homeless people in isn't really a feasible option a monthly penalty paid on empty properties might be an option.

These are ideas for funding will never happen though because targeting the rich is and never will be a popular long term plan it's a bit like s******* on your own door step to those who have a hand in ruling this country, no it is the man in the middle who gets penalised, the man or woman  who gets up and works each day and who has a family to keep who is the main target for taxation in this country.

 

Posted on: 23 December 2018 by Rich 1

Blanket statements are of little use or help. People have housing portfolios for multiple reasons, pension top ups etc. I do think that there should be a rent cap dependent on area and rateable value (council tax). Yes, second home's as in holiday homes should be 'super taxed'. Unsold but up for sale housing should be exempt.

Posted on: 23 December 2018 by hungryhalibut

To be clear, when I mentioned higher council tax I was referring to holiday or weekend homes, rather than all second homes and I should have been clearer. Buy to let is a different issue and income should be dealt with through the tax system. We also need proper rent controls and more security for tenants. All too often we hear stories of people being thrown out, maybe because they lost their job, and all too often these people can become homeless through no fault of their own. 

Posted on: 23 December 2018 by Don Atkinson
hungryhalibut posted:

Iíd give councils the power to requisition empty properties to be used as social housing. Itís outrageous that houses and flats sit empty when people are sleeping on the streets and there are families squeezed into undersized accommodation. What London in particular needs is not £4m flats for foreign investors to leave empty, but social and affordable houses for ordinary people. Iíd also charge double or quadruple council tax on second homes to help support local business and homelessness budgets. Itís wrong that people have two or more houses while others have none. 

There are some very pointed views here, and I normally respect most of them and the people making them. But for people on this forum, with bloody expensive hifi kit by any standard, to make statements like "it's wrong that people have two or more houses while others have none" is beyond hypocrisy.

Sorry HH, but on this occasion I don't agree with your last point.

BTW I do consider that society should provide funds and expertise to deal with homelessness, and I consider that higher taxation (business, income, VAT, Local Fuel duty etc) could and should provide these funds.