Pressure on the government to tackle Britain’s homeless crisis has hit breaking point following the tragic discovery.
The man’s body was found in Westminster tube station, right on the doorstep of the Houses of Parliament.
According to The Connection at St. Martin’s homeless charity, the man was a former model and had recently applied for a job as a waiter.
It’s no secret the UK’s housing situation has been worsening for years now, however the discovery of a dead body on the doorstep of the very people supposedly responsible for tackling the issue has something of a grim symbolism about it.
Housing charity, Shelter, conducted a study that found 307,000 people in Britain are now homeless, that’s equivalent to every one in twenty people. It’s also an increase of 13,000 from the previous year, with figures rising six years in a row.
According The Independent, homelessness has increased by 34% since the Conservatives entered government in 2010. Predictably they have come in for criticism from the Labour Party and their leader Jeremy Corbyn.
I’ve just been told about the death of a rough sleeper right by the entrance to Parliament. The powerful can’t carry on walking by on the other side while people don’t have a home to call their own. It’s time all MPs took up this moral challenge and properly housed everyone.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 14, 2018
Heather Wheeler, the minister for housing homelessness also took to Twitter to react to the discovery.
Dreadful news of a suspected rough sleeper dying in Westminster Tube. Stories like this push me on to find solutions and work to eradicate Rough Sleeping for good.
— Heather Wheeler MP (@HeatherWheeler) February 14, 2018
Changes to welfare benefits, like the introduction of Universal Credit, cuts to housing benefit and a very obvious, well-documented lack of affordable homes have all been cited as causes for the growing crisis.
A change in law in 2011 has also played a huge part. Following the Localism Act 2011, councils were given greater power to restrict access to social housing. Before 2012, councils had to consider all housing applications. However now, a local connection to a specific borough is required by 35% of councils to access the housing register.
Since the change, 700,000 homes disappeared from waiting lists across England.
Obviously large cities, like London, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham suffer the most visible issues – but much of the problem is hidden away, with thousands sofa-surfing, living in temporary housing and hostels across the country.
However, the crisis has now quite literally been placed on the government’s doorstep. In the open and for all to see. It’s an awful analogy to make, given that this is, in fact another human life that has been taken.
Their failure to tackle the growing problem has finally piled so high, they can no longer turn a blind eye to it. Having to step over the bodies of the very people they’re meant to be helping, to get into the very place where they are meant to be doing it.