News

Another night on the streets, when will we tackle the homeless crisis?

How much progress have we actually made in finding a solution?

603
homeless

“The hostel I stayed at had around 40 people living there, all with their own challenges, drugs and alcohol were common and easy to get hold, this brought its own separate problems.”

“The police were called regularly, and it was a chaotic environment. It was a struggle to stay on the straight and narrow, so I got involved in the gym, working at the allotment and cooking lessons.” – Mylo Kaye, CEO of Pledge

As the colder months draw in, the government will once again face increasing pressure to tackle the homeless crisis head on.

It’s an issue that we continuously fail to address. In Autumn last year, more than 4,500 people were recorded to be sleeping on the streets, on any given night. A figure that has doubled since 2010.

Last year, a homeless man was found dead on the doorstep of parliament, driving home the an issue that the government could no longer avoid. It was now on their doorstep.

Despite this, visible progress has been questionable. As winter approaches we face the same reality of thousands spending winter on the streets.

Assembling a true representation of how bad the issue actually is has proved tough. Many of those who are sleeping rough, don’t appear on official statistics. Basically, we know the issue is bad but just how bad?

Crisis estimates that 62% of single homeless people fall into this ‘hidden homeless’ segment. This includes people staying in temporary accommodation, staying with friends, living in squats or staying in other insecure accommodation.

Once homeless himself, Mylo is now the CEO of Pledge, a Manchester-based charity dedicated to reducing poverty in the city. Seeking to help those who are experiencing homelessness, unemployment and exploitation.

Mylo, once homeless himself, is now the CEO of Pledge, a Manchester charity dedicated to helping the homeless.

 

“It’s not an experience I would wish on anyone, for me it happened at the flick of a hat, it was surprisingly quick and arrived out of nowhere.”

“The hostel I stayed at had around 40 people living there, all with their own challenges, drugs and alcohol were common and easy to get hold, this brought its own separate problems.”

“The police were called regularly, and it was a chaotic environment. It was a struggle to stay on the straight and narrow, so I got involved in the gym, working at the allotment and cooking lessons.”

Whilst media attention is essential in addressing the issue, the work of charities like Mylo’s are essential on a ground level, in helping those who need it whilst raising awareness amongst those in a position to help.

“I think there are always issues in society that need our attention, it just so happens that homelessness is one we can see every day, so it’s interesting to see that going back two years ago, people would die on the streets, and you wouldn’t read about it anywhere.”

“It’s up to charities like Pledge to keep the topic relevant and make it easy for the public to make a difference.”

Of course, this is not as simple as heaping blame on those in political positions and waiting for a solution. Not by any means. To truly fix the issue this must be a joint effort.

Sure, those running the country are a vital piece of the jigsaw, one that needs to quickly adapt to a growing problem. But if we don’t have the funds to properly tackle this, there needs to be alternative options.

“It would be easy for me to say that the government can do more. We should always be looking at ways we can work together for the greater good. Do we need more money from the government, yes? Will we take it and use it anyway, yes.”

“There are so many complex challenges we face as a society, and sadly we don’t have the money to fix all of them right now, so we have to work together to do what we can.”

This lack of funding and in many ways, lack of progress, places the onus on charities like Pledge. These are the people witnessing the issues first-hand on a daily basis, experiencing the real scale of the problem much more than those in power. 

“On an individual level support a locally based charity that is working directly with those in need. When you sponsor a local charity, you truly are making a massive difference to people on the ground. You can shout about a local charity that matters to you, fundraise for them and become their biggest fan.”

“On a national level, we need to encourage co-production where those with experience of homelessness work with policymakers to design strategies that work, not just on paper, but on the street. We already see this happen slowly, but more needs to be done.”

Jeremy Corbyn claims Labour would invest in 8,000 homes for the homeless.

 

The factors that lead to an individual becoming homeless differ from person to person. No two cases will ever be the same and it is impossible to form a blanketed answer. 

Though there are a number of common themes that combine together, resulting in tragic circumstances.

“The most common reasons change regularly, for example at the moment its ‘changes in benefits’ that is most likely to make someone homeless, then their ‘relationship breakdown’.”

“There are individual circumstances, such as mental health, grief. There are also wider forces such as poverty, inequality, lack of affordable housing. Mix all these together, and you get some really complex cases.”

We asked Mylo for the one bit of advice he would give someone who found themselves in a similar position that he did. His message was one of remaining positive, even in the most adverse conditions and insisting that someone will always be on-hand to help.

“I would say there is light at the end of the tunnel. Even though you may be lonely, in a dark place, there is always someone willing to help. Take every opportunity you can, also if you think it won’t make a difference because when you take small steps, you’ll make more progress than you might think.”

Forming any kind of conclusion on the topic is a near-impossible task. It’s clear the work that homeless charities do is essential in the short-term. Though if we are to truly solve the issue further steps need to be taken in Parliament to implement a meaningful change.

One thing we can take from it? Whatever is going to happen, needs to happen much faster than it is right now.

Send this to a friend