Soaring numbers of desperate pensioners being made homeless as charities slam high rents and benefits cuts

Charities have said brutal benefits cuts are behind a growing number of desperate elderly people being made homeless.11709489_985449581488924_1385951511306534685_n

Department of Local Government and Communities figures analysed by Mirror Online show 1,300 elderly people were classed as homeless or in ‘priority need’ of emergency accommodation last year.

The figure is 10 per cent up on two years ago, when 1,180 people over-65 needed emergency help from local councils to find shelter.

Charities have said Government cuts to benefits and homeless services and rising private rents are to blame.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive for homeless charity Crisis, said: “The reasons for this rise are clear – more and more households are struggling to pay their rent in an increasingly insecure rental market, while cuts to housing benefit and services that prevent and solve homelessness have left the safety net in tatters.

“Homelessness is a harrowing experience for anyone, but for older people, some of whom will have disabilities or physical health issues, it can be particularly distressing.

“For anyone finding themselves in financial difficulty, the prospects are decidedly bleak.

“In theory older people should be able to get help from their council, but there is always a danger they will slip through the gaps. It would be far better if they never had to face homelessness in the first place.”

Of th 1,300 classed as homeless last year – 420 were over 75.

According to Crisis figures there has been a 26 per cent increase in homelessness since 2009/10 – the year the Conservatives came to power.

Local councils must provide people with emergency accommodation once it has established they are not ‘intentionally homeless’.

A spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said the government had delivered more than 14,000 affordable homes for elderly people since coming into power.

He said: “We have made over £500million available since 2010, to support the most vulnerable in society and to guard people against the threat of homelessness.

“And we have already provided 14,000 homes for older people with more to come.”

From: The Mirror


#benefit-cuts, #cut, #cuts, #homeless, #homelessness, #pensions

People are good-

A 35-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department has been lauded online after an image of him buying a homeless man a Chipotle for lunch went viral.
Sergeant B Hagarty was buying himself a meal in the Mexican eatery on Friday when he noticed the man rooting in the bins outside and invited him in for some food.


Source- The Daily Mail

#homeless, #homelessness

Man hands out leftover sandwiches to homeless after getting sick of work canteen wasting food

All of us have seen food going to waste – but this man decided to do something about it.

Sick of his work canteen throwing copious amounts of food in the bin on a weekly basis, Simeon Gayle put it to good use instead and fed the homeless.

In a video, shot on his mobile phone, the 27-year-old explains that as each Friday rolls around, staff in the canteen at his place of work end up throwing perfectly good sandwiches away after being unable to sell them.

These sandwiches, he adds, are usually on sale for up to £5 each.

“Basically, at my workplace every Friday, there’s a whole heap of sandwiches that they usually sell for £3, £4 or £5,” he says.

“But because they can’t sell them on the weekends, they end up throwing them away.”

“I walk past a bunch of homeless people, hungry people on my way to work. I can’t let that happen,” he added.

Simeon then approaches a group of three homeless men sat on the street and hands out sandwiches to them.

He explains that he’ll be around each Friday to hand out the food, and encourages the three homeless men to tell as many people as they can.

[ Source- The Mirror]

#food-poverty, #homeless, #homelessness, #sandwiches

Cousins on a crusade to help the homeless in Scunthorpe

TWO young girls from Scunthorpe are raising money to make kits for the homeless as part of Operation Lifestyle.


The scheme, launched by Humberside Police 26 years ago, encourages thousands of youngsters to dedicate their time to helping their community during the school summer holidays.

Children aged between 10 and 18 are asked to form teams and choose a project to do.

Each team records its activities in a log book which they submit to the annual awards.

They then have the chance to win exciting prizes such as a safari in South Africa and a visit to Disney Land Paris.

The two young girls from Scunthorpe, who are cousins, have teamed up to become The Cousin Crusaders.

Lauren Woodcock, aged 12 and her cousin, Ellie Tyas, aged 11, are putting together kits containing thermal blankets, toothpaste and tooth brushes to help the homeless.

They have also helped out at the kitchen in New Life Church in Scunthorpe, providing the homeless with meals and preparing vegetables.

Ellie, who has just finished at Brumby Junior School, said: “I feel quite proud to help someone that needs help.

“It is good to be helping out people – they know people are there to help and that people are around.”

Lauren, who attends Outwood Academy Brumby, added that although she was upset to learn about the life of a homeless person, the project had made her want to do more.

“It has made us feel sad.

“But is has encouraged us to do more outside of the project,” she said.

Mum to Lauren and auntie to Ellie, Joanne Woodcock has been advising the girls on the project.

She said the project has taught the girls to appreciate what they have.

“They have realised how privileged they are,” she said.

She added that to raise money for the homeless kits, they are having a car boot sale and a sponsored sleep out.

“We are having a sponsored sleep out in the back garden with the equivalent of what a homeless person would have.

“We are hoping to get sponsors.

“We don’t have an amount in mind – we just want to put together as many kits as we can,” she said.


#help, #homeless, #homelessness, #protest

Homeless Charity Slams Welfare Cuts As Figures Show 47% Rise In Evictions

Homeless charity Shelter has slammed “relentless rent rises and welfare cuts”, which they claim “has contributed to thousands of hard-pressed families losing their home”.

Figures published by the Ministry of Justice show a 47% increase in evictions by bailiffs since housing benefit cuts were introduced in 2011. More than 10,000 households lost their homes between April and June 2015.

The data shows that the majority of landlord repossession claims came from social landlords. Between April and June 2015 there were 21,160 (58%) repossession claims from social landlords, compared to 5,038 (14%) from private landlords.

10,014 (28%) claims were made using accelerated procedures, The proportion of repossession claims made using these provisons increased from 7% in 1999 to 22% in 2014. As much as 64% of these in 2014 were made by social landlords, while only 14% were made by private landlords.

All but one of the top twenty local authorities with the highest proportion of repossession claims were in London. The London borough of Newham came top with 552 per 100,000 households.


Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: “These figures are a stark warning that relentless rent rises and welfare cuts have contributed to thousands of hard-pressed families losing their home.

“Every day at Shelter we see the human cost of the country’s unfolding affordability crisis with growing numbers of families finding themselves on the verge of homelessness, and petrified that any small drop in income could leave them with the bailiffs knocking at the door.

“More cuts to housing benefit, while doing nothing to tackle the ridiculous cost of housing, is short-sighted at best.

“If the government really wants to fix the housing crisis and bring down rents so people can afford them without needing support, the only answer is to invest in building genuinely affordable homes.”

#cut, #cuts, #evictions, #homeless, #homelessness, #welfare-cuts

Manchester’s homeless protesters lose battle against council in eviction fight


Homeless protesters, raising awareness of how many people sleep rough in Manchester city centre, are to be evicted from St Ann’s Square and Castlefield camps on Friday.

Manchester City Council won a wide ban on the camp on July 31 after it was set up in April by campaigners unhappy about the unfairness of the council’s homelessness policy and lack of support for them.

Representatives of Manchester-based human rights organisation RAPAR as well as members of the public and supporters attended a rally for the camp in May.

The protesters’ representative, Ben Taylor of WTB Solicitors, said: “The County Court has informed the homeless camp that the County Court Bailiffs will attend the campsites at St Ann’s Square at 7am on Friday.

“Because an appeal of the possession order has not been launched, the eviction will go ahead as planned and the campsite will have to leave by that time.”

A further injunction order was granted to the council which prevents future protests about their homeless policy.

The council has specified that while homeless people are disallowed from using tents to sleep in they may occupy sleeping bags, blankets, cardboard boxes, benches, doorways, bus shelters, hostels and charity accommodation.

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#homeless, #homelessness, #protest

Activists reclaim vacant Dublin building to house homeless

Housing activists in Dublin have “reclaimed” a former hostel that has been vacant for three years, saying they will soon open it up to house homeless families.


Formerly known as Bolton House, the building on Bolton Street is owned by Dublin City Council and was used to accommodate homeless people before being closed in 2011.

The property had been deemed “not fit for purpose”, a council spokeswoman said. “Upgrading works need to take place and plans for this are being considered by the local authority.”

In recent weeks however, organisations that have emerged in response to the housing crisis came together as the Irish Housing Network and identified the building as one they could quickly put back to use as emergency accommodation.


“We researched it and found it was owned by the council,” said Séamus Farrell, a teacher involved in the network.

“So we entered the building a few weeks ago. It was in very good condition, considering it’s been empty for three years. We knew with a bit of work it could be really nice.”

Plumbers and electricians have been in, on a voluntary basis, to ensure wiring is safe, to fix a leaking pipe and make sure taps and toilets are working.

There are six bedrooms over three floors, three bathrooms, a kitchen and a number of living areas. There is more communal space in an adjacent building, which was also part of the original Bolton House.

The stairs are carpeted and the rooms are clean, albeit in need of redecoration. Rooms are sparsely furnished but new curtains and bed linen have been donated.

The “liberation” of the building – renamed the Bolt Hostel – has been publicised on social media and the group had stalls on the street last weekend to tell the local community what they were doing.

“There has been an outpouring of support from people,” said Mr Farrell.

Homeless people and families have been in touch asking about moving in.

“We got a letter dropped in yesterday from a couple who have been living in a tent for 18 months.”

Direct action

Among the nine groups involved are the North Dublin Bay Housing Crisis Committee, the Housing Action Network, Lending Hand and An Spréach, which means “Spark” in Irish.

“When you see so many buildings like this boarded up, and thousands of people who need a roof over their heads, direct action like this is common sense,” Mr Farrell added.

“There are a lot of Nama buildings that need to be reclaimed for the people, and there are a lot of people who support actions like this.”

Dublin City Council is to meet An Spréach and the Network to discuss the future of the building.

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#activism, #activists, #homeless, #homelessness, #love, #protest