Police dismantle soup kitchen for London homeless, evict activists.

Social justice activists determined to feed the homeless have faced eviction for the second time following their attempts to open a soup kitchen in Westminster, in the heart of London. They were forcibly ousted by police Tuesday night.

Following their eviction from a listed Victorian building near Trafalgar Square they had been occupying in the run-up to Christmas, the group decided to set up a soup kitchen outside.

Since December 25, they had been distributing food, coffee and tea outside the vacant offices to people sleeping rough on the streets of London.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, the group, who call themselves the ‘Love Activists’ said that the situation facing the homeless in central London has hit crisis point. Services to help the homeless in the area are woefully inadequate, they argued, with all dedicated centers due to remain closed until January 3.

Since charities like Shelter and Crisis have now finished their own Christmas campaigns that feed thousands of homeless ‘The Love Activists’ are one of the only groups protecting the vulnerable now the group warned saying it would not be moved on by the council,

But on Tuesday night, police officers and council staff forcibly ousted the activists from the area and forced them to dismantle their soup kitchen.

It is thought the authorities wanted to clear the street in preparation for New Year’s Eve festivities.

A member of the Love Activists described the standoff, which culminated in eventual eviction, as “class warfare.”

Prior to Christmas, the group occupied the building near Trafalgar Square with the intention of offering a free and nutritious festive meal to homeless Londoners on Christmas Day.

They made their way into the five-story building on the morning of December 20, having discovered a fire escape door that was open. Following their entry, the activists claimed on their Facebook page the building had been “taken by the people.”

The campaigners made the decision to occupy the premises and offer food to Londoners who have fallen on hard times in protest at rising levels of inequality in Britain, and an ever-growing housing crisis.

The protesters faced eviction from the building, however, on the morning of December 24. Nevertheless, a high court judge amended the eviction injunction that evening to allow the group to regain access to prepare a festive meal for local homeless people on December 25.

The Love Activists subsequently provided a simple lunch to homeless people who made their way to the office block on Christmas Day.

The building’s recent history resonates deeply with the focus of the group’s protest. It had previously been rented by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), a scandal-ridden bank which required an astronomical bailout at UK taxpayers’ expense.

One of the Love Activists, 22-year-old Danny Freeman, told The Guardian that the fact the building was previously leased by RBS made the group’s core message of “homes not banks” more profound.

In the aftermath of a 2008 banking crisis, which brought Britain’s economy to its knees, RBS was nationalized and bailed out by British taxpayers. It is currently 79 percent owned by the state.

Years later, a lawsuit against RBS remains ongoing. Former executives at the bank stand accused of deceiving its shareholders. In a climate of grueling austerity, characterized by relentless cuts to social services, the RBS bailout cost UK taxpayers £45 billion.

Earlier this month, it emerged that glaring failures by local authorities to protect vulnerable children and teenagers in Britain have reduced them to sleeping rough on the streets, on night buses, in police stations and in drug dens. Many are thought to be at high risk of abuse.

According to Crisis the leading homelessness charity in Britain, 2,414 people across the nation are estimated to be sleeping rough each night. This marks a 37 percent increase since 2010, when the current Conservative-led government came to power.

Despite Tuesday night’s eviction, the Love Activists are determined to continue providing food and clothing to homeless people in central London. The group reportedly re-erected their soup kitchen in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday morning in front of the National Portrait Gallery.

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Number of homeless families with children in B&Bs highest in a decade

A homeless family living in a B&B

New research also shows over a third of the 2,090 families living in B&Bs have been doing so beyond the legal limit of six weeks.

More families with children are living in bed and breakfast accommodation in England than for almost 10 years. There are 2,090 families living in this form of emergency housing, an increase of 8% on 2012, government figures show.

Homelesness legislation stipulates that bed and breakfasts should be avoided for families, but their use has been rising since 2009. The legislation also states that families should be in B&Bs for no longer than six weeks, but 760 of the 2,090 families had been living there longer at the end of June – a 10% increase on last year, according to research published by the housing charity Shelter.

More than 43,000 homeless households with children were living in other forms of emergency temporary accommodation – usually privately rented short-term flats, which are expensive – an increase of 9% on last year. Homeless families in this kind of emergency accommodation fell between 2005 and 2010, after a government commitment to halve the number by 2010, but they have been rising again since June 2011.

Research by Shelter, based on interviews with 25 families who were, or had recently been, living in B&Bs, found that most felt unsafe. Almost half said their children had witnessed disturbing incidents, including threats of violence, sexual offences and drug use and dealing.

“One of the reasons we left was one of the residents trying to sell us crack cocaine,” a mother of three told the charity.

Most of the families lived in one room, and half said their children were sharing beds with their parents or siblings. Twenty-two said it was very difficult to find a safe place for their children to play, 12 had to share kitchen facilities, and three had no cooking facilities. One family reported sharing a cooker and a fridge with 22 other people.

Two-thirds of the families interviewed said their children had no table to eat on, more than half had to share a bathroom or toilet with strangers, and 10 families shared with seven or more other people. Schoolchildren found it difficult to do homework.

Most said their children’s health had suffered through living in B&Bs. “It’s so hard to give him a balanced diet as it’s impossible to make proper meals here,” a mother said.

“I try to cook because it’s cheaper. but I can’t put stuff in the fridge because it’s too small so I can’t use fresh stuff. I’m using stuff in tins all the time,” said another.

The cramped nature of the accommodation was difficult for most families. “It was so unbearable eating on our beds, we had to go out a bit and obviously that is very expensive,” a mother said. A father told the charity: “You have 12 square metres, and have to spend all your time in this space. We didn’t want to open the door because the house was full of strangers.”

Campbell Robb, the chief executive of Shelter, said: “Our shocking findings have uncovered the shameful conditions homeless children will be living in this Christmas. Parents and children sharing beds, children forced to eat on the floor and being threatened with violence in the place they live. This shouldn’t be happening in 21st-century Britain.”

The housing minister, Kris Hopkins, said: “We’ve given councils nearly £1bn to tackle homelessness and to support people affected by the welfare reforms, so I am very clear that they should be fully able to meet their legal responsibility to house families in suitable accommodation.

“Families should only be placed in bed and breakfast accommodation in an emergency, and even then for no more than six weeks. The funding we’ve given, and our change in the law to enable families to be placed in suitable, affordable private rented homes, means there is no excuse for councils to breach this.”

PTSD and the 9,000 ex-service personnel homeless after leaving the military.

Homelesss

Up to 9,000 British heroes who served Queen and country are homeless after leaving the military.

Shockingly, ex-service personnel account for one in 10 rough sleepers across the UK.

And charities have warned that the problem of homelessness among former soldiers, sailors and airmen is a “ticking time bomb” which will only get worse if urgent action isn’t taken.

Yesterday Simon Weston OBE, who suffered serious burns in the Falklands War, accused the Government of “betraying” veterans after learning of the disturbing numbers without a home.

“A huge amount of rhetoric comes from politicians, but they never actually do anything,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s a betrayal.”

The Sunday Mirror this week heard harrowing stories from veterans who fought on the front line but now sleep in doorways, graveyards and parks, begging from the passers-by whose freedom they defended.

Many are having to cope with the devastating affects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which has led to a cycle of family break-up, addictions to drugs or alcohol and homelessness.

Peter Rawlings, a veteran of war in the former Yugoslavia, told how he was “flicked on the pavement” when he left the Army, with no help to adjust to life on civvy street.

Charities have warned that homelessness is fast becoming the next military scandal following PTSD – and that savage defence cuts would lead to yet more rough sleepers.

The Army has reduced the number of soldiers by 11,500 in the past three years. A total of 20,000 are due to be axed by 2017. The RAF and Royal Navy are each shedding 5,000 airmen and sailors.

Homes 4 Heroes founder Jim Jukes said there were an estimated 9,000 homeless ex-servicemen in Britain, including rough sleepers and those in hostels and B&Bs. He said: “With the redundancies coming up and more with PTSD this is only ­going to get worse. This is a ticking time bomb.”

His charity helps ex-service personnel in London, Brighton, Birmingham and Northampton, giving them sleeping bags, blankets and food.

Hostels for ex-forces personnel are opening across the country. One centre was set up last year by homeless charity Coventry Cyrenians. Spokesman Stuart Sullivan said that PTSD, combined with a lack of routine when troops leave the military, forced many into a downward spiral.

“What we were finding, particularly with rough sleepers, was that a high proportion were ex-services personnel,” he said. “It’s that lack of regime – they come out and it all goes. There’s no work and it results in all sorts of issues.”

Former Irish Guardsman Arron Jones, 24, is one of those being helped by the charity. He was discharged from the Army after suffering a nervous breakdown following four family bereavements in three months. Arron, from Coventry, said: “The Army helped me at first, but as soon as I left the hospital I was on my own.

“The hardest thing is finding accommodation. Because I’ve got such a nothing background, no one wants to know. I get turned away everywhere because they think homeless means trouble. The Government don’t offer anything for us.”

A report by homeless charity Crisis found that 500 people sleeping rough in London this year had been in the armed forces, compared with 330 the previous year. In 2010-11 there were just 77. The charity estimates that as many as one in 10 homeless people in parts of the UK are former service personnel.

Incredibly, the numbers have soared since the Government outlined its duty to serving and former personnel when the Armed Forces Covenant was enshrined in law in 2011. It says they “should have priority status in applying for government-sponsored affordable housing schemes, and service leavers should retain this status for a period of discharge”.

Jim

The covenant adds: “Support should be available for all service personnel in order to assist their transition from service to civilian life.

“Provision should include training, education, appropriate health care referral and job-finding preparation and assistance. It should also include information, advice and guidance on such matters as housing and financial management.”

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said ministers should care for ex-personnel “unstintingly”.

He said: “The vast majority of servicemen make a good transition back into civilian life. Some do not and sometimes this is due to the life they led in the service of their country. Those who are physically or mentally damaged by their experiences fighting for us deserve our support in return. The Government must look after them unstintingly, because whatever the cost to the taxpayer, it will be less than the debt we owe them.”

Labour MP Madeleine Moon, who sits on the Defence Select Committee, said: “The Military Covenant promises priority accommodation for ex-service personnel. The problem is most local authorities and housing associations are desperately short of accommodation. The two are colliding, and this is something we have to resolve.”

Shadow Defence Minister Kevan Jones called for veterans to be tracked once they leave the forces. He said: “Without a system, people will fall through the cracks.”

Mr Jones said redundancies could put greater pressure on housing, adding: “When there are people who have spent their careers in the services, suddenly being told they’ve got to leave, clearly that’s going to be a problem.”

Rough sleeping goes up 13 per cent in London in figures released just now

Hotspot news

The number of rough sleepers in London has gone up 13 per cent in the past year, according to statistics commissioned by the Greater London Authority and local authorities.

Homelessness charity Broadway released figures today Thursday 20th June 2013 showing the number of people seen sleeping on the streets of the capital between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013 was 6,437 compared to 5,678 the previous year.

Just over half of those seen rough sleeping were non-UK nationals (53 per cent). Twenty-eight per cent of these were from central and eastern Europe.

75 per cent of new rough sleepers to the streets – 3,255 out of 4,353 –  were only seen sleeping rough once. This was an improvement on 2011/12 when 70 per cent of new comers to the street were seen sleeping out for more than one night and 62 per cent in 2010/11, This could be attributed to the success of the no second night out scheme, that has now been running for two years and aims to stop new people to the streets spending a second night there. Fifty-one per cent of new rough sleepers to the streets attended NSNO, the Street to Home 2012/13 report shows.

The rise in rough sleeping is obviously concerning. London is leading the way in terms of finding and helping new rough sleepers. However, these figures underline the need to better target effective advice and support before individuals end up on the streets of the capital.’

The figures also revealed that 12 per cent of those sleeping rough in London over the past year were female (786) and three per cent (145) of the UK nationals on the streets were known to have served in the armed forces at some point.

Crisis says that Boris Johnson must act now to rein in soaring rough sleeping in the mayor’s city.

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said today on the homeless website: “The mayor of London pledged to eliminate rough sleeping in the capital by 2012. Instead we see today the number of people sleeping on London’s streets – in absolute destitution in one of the world’s richest cities – has more than doubled on Boris’s watch.

“He has the power to build tens of thousands more genuinely affordable homes and can protect services that prevent and solve homelessness, plus the clout to influence central government to reverse housing benefit cuts that have proved so damaging and are directly causing Londoners to fall into homelessness and rough sleeping. Continuing failure to do so will lead to more of his citizens facing the horrors of life on the streets.”

This latest rise in rough sleeping comes at a time when services to prevent and solve homelessness are suffering swingeing cuts from central and local government. Between 2011 and 2012 alone, 12 hostels or day centres have closed in London. There are 784 fewer bed spaces, with 58 per cent  of projects in London reporting reductions in funding and further cuts to come.

To make matters worse for poorer Londoners, government statistics show that rents in the capital for 2012/13 are up 8.6 per cent on the year before. Across the capital the lowest rents rose by 10.4 per cent and in inner London the price of renting the cheapest properties went up by 16.3 per cent.

Housing benefit has been cut and capped. Previous research for Crisis highlighted how in one London borough, just 1.7% of properties were affordable and available for an under 35 year old on housing benefit looking for a room to rent.

Single people end up sleeping rough as London’s boroughs only have to help those who meet strict criteria under the homelessness legislation. While some boroughs do help other single people, these services are under pressure or being cut back and many boroughs turn single people away with little or no assistance, leaving them with little option but to sleep rough or get by on friends’ or families’ floors or in squats.

The Street to Home report is compiled by Broadway from figures gathered by London outreach teams from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network. Eighty projects contribute to the CHAIN database, which holds comprehensive data on rough sleeping and the street population in London.

Read about what one man is doing to raise awareness for the homeless problem in the UK while raising money for ‘Help the Heroes’

Former soldier Christian is walking the entire UK coast line and you can see a little more about him when producer Johnny Lynch.caught up with him as he journey brought him through Norfolk earlier this month where a documentary filmed will be available soon.

https://ukhomelessnessblog.wordpress.com/christian

To donate use the link http://www.bmycharity.com/ChristianNock

Bedroom tax ‘could make thousands of poor people homeless’

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Tens of thousands of the poorest people in Britain risk being made homeless because of the bedroom tax, according to an analysis of councils’ assessments of the welfare cut.

From last month, housing benefit has been reduced to council or housing association tenants who ministers claim have more bedrooms than they need.

Data from 107 local authorities shows 86,000 households have been forced to look for one-bedroom homes, of which only 33,000 have become available in the past year.

The figures mask considerable regional variation. In Essex, 100 social housing tenants in Rochford were deemed to require a one-bedroom property because of the benefit changes but only five had become vacant the previous year. In Gloucester the council said 111 one-bed homes had been available last year, but almost 500 households needed them because of the bedroom tax.

Inverclyde in Scotland said 1,100 households would need to move into one-bedroom homes – of which just 96 had been free to rent last year.

Any tenants “under-occupying” their properties will lose 14% of housing benefit – an average of £9.25, according to the analysis – until they move into a one-bedroom home. The government’s impact assessment last summer warned that 35% of claimants affected “would be quite or very likely to fall into arrears if their housing benefit were to be reduced”.

False Economy, the trade union-backed campaign that used freedom of information requests to get the data, said it had chosen to focus on one-bed properties as ministers had been forced to acknowledge last year that there was a “shortage” of such homes but pressed on regardless with the policy.

A spokesman for False Economy said: “The disparity between the demand for one-bed housing and a whole year’s worth of supply is so severe that there is little hope of plugging the shortfall.” Without new homes being built, “tens of thousands are now facing a crisis”.

A study by the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, warned ministers that families unable to get a one-bedroom social home all moving to the private rented sector could increase benefit claims by £143m a year – despite government claims the policy will save money.

David Orr, chief executive of the federation, said: “For some the only option is to move into homes for private rent, which in many parts of the country are much higher than social rents, so the government won’t make the savings it hopes.

“The bedroom tax is an ill-thought-through and unfair policy that will cause distress for hundreds of thousands of people forced to move from homes and communities in which they have lived for years. It must be scrapped now.”

Homeless charities also called for the policy to be abandoned. Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said: “Without enough one-bedroom homes to move into, tens of thousands are powerless to avoid the anxiety, debt and arrears caused by the bedroom tax. Our fear is that many, through no fault of their own, will in the end become homeless as a direct result of government policy. Ministers must accept these facts and rethink the bedroom tax now.”

Labour described the policy as the “worst combination of cruelty and incompetence”. Liam Byrne, the party’s spokesman on welfare, said the bedroom tax was a “mess”. “Thousands of vulnerable households are trapped by this hated tax with no option to move, and if tenants are forced to go homeless or move into the expensive private accommodation the tax payer will be left to pick up the tab.”

The government said those losing out could make up the shortfall by moving “into employment, working more hours, or taking in a lodger”. A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Not all people affected by the changes to the spare room subsidy will need to move – it is wrong to suggest that all those impacted will have to downsize.”

Unbelievable govt comment this week on Foodbanks

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Johnny Lynch

Unbelievable govt comment this week on Foodbanks

I often pick up on interesting exchanges from the Commons. However, this week I came across one which went way beyond ‘interesting’ and well into the territory of ‘he can’t possibly have really just said that’.

I’ve written before about Foodbanks and spent the last bank holiday working for the one in Croydon and the appalling gall of David Cameron in trying to claim the exponential rise in their numbers as an expression of his ‘Big Society’. Cameron has also been incredibly disingenuous when criticised about this rise, claiming that ‘The use of food banks went up tenfold under the last Labour government’

Here’s what made my jaw drop. It’s a passage from the Hansard record of Commons debates last Tuesday, 14th May 2013. During a debate on the cost of living, Labour MP Huw Irranca-Davies challenged the government on the exponential rise in the number of people relying on help from Foodbanks:

Against the glowing backdrop that the Secretary of State paints, why do I now have a food bank in every single village in my constituency when there was only one three years ago? Why has there been a quadrupling of food banks under this Government? His record cannot be that good, given the backdrop of the inexorable rise of food poverty.

As we’ve seen, Mr Irranca-Davies actually understated the situation. The latest figures were released at the end of April, so he should have said that Foodbank use has gone up almost nine-fold under this woeful government. Close to Cameron’s misleading claim of a tenfold increase under Labour, but 9 times a far larger number to begin with. Perhaps Mr Irranca-Davies didn’t have the latest numbers, but it’s a pity he missed the opportunity to confront the government with its even greater culpability.

Government minister Ed Davey gave his staggering response:

People who run food banks are doing an extremely good job and deserve credit for their work. However, it is completely wrong to suggest that there is a statistical link between the Government’s benefit reforms and the provision of food banks. It is good that people are helping others. I hope the hon. Gentleman supports that.

Not only does Davey repeat Cameron’s hubris by claiming the increase in Foodbank use as a social good – he claims that the rise has nothing to do with the government’s benefit ‘reforms’.

I have news for Mr Davey. The number of people coming to the Foodbank for help in Croydon i helped out on doubled overnight when the government’s latest ‘reforms’ kicked in at the beginning of April, including the cancellation of the ‘crisis loan’ programme.

There can no doubt whatever in the mind of any reasonable, honest person that the government’s persecution and impoverishment of those who are already poor and disadvantaged is directly responsible for the massive increase in the number of people in such desperate straits that their only option is to accept the humiliation of admitting to strangers that you literally have no food to put on the table for yourself or your family.

That ordinary people have galvanised themselves to save others from starvation is amazing, and heartwarming.

That our government is increasing the number of people who need saving by around 350 people per day for the whole of last year (a number that unquestionably continues to accelerate) should have the Tories and LibDems cowering in shame – and make them unelectable forever. Instead the government is claiming ‘It’s nothing to do with us, guv‘.

Anyone who would think for even a nanosecond of voting for either party in the next general election needs either their head or their heart examined – or both. #justsaying

Johnny Lynch

Homelessness warning as London’s young find it impossible to rent a room – Published by Central Government

Homelessness warning as London’s young find it impossible to rent a room
People under the age of 35 and claiming benefits are finding it increasingly difficult to find an affordable room to rent in London, according to new research published today.

Homeless Link’s ‘Nowhere to Move’ report shows that only 5.5% of shared properties in the capital are affordable to under 35-year-olds claiming benefits while less than 1% of landlords said they were willing to accept this type of tenant.

Last year, the government made a change to the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) – the level of housing benefit that applies to single people in the private rented sector – that placed restrictions on claimants under the age of 35.

Launched today at Homeless Link’s national conference on housing, the report’s findings strongly suggest that welfare reform is adding to an already severe housing crisis in London.

The SAR is limited to a maximum amount based on what is seen as appropriate rent for a room in a shared property. Until January 2012, this only applied to 18-24 year olds but was extended to include all benefit claimants under 35. According to the government’s own figures this added a further 12,000 people to those already competing for shared accommodation.

Government sets housing allowance limits so that 30% of properties in an area are affordable to those who claim it. However, the report reveals that the actual figure in London is much lower – just 5.5%. The allowance hasn’t increased in-line with the significant rises in private rental prices, pushing more and more properties out of reach.

The report also suggests that the attitudes of private sector landlords could be putting benefit claimants at a severe disadvantage. From our sample of properties, less than 1% had landlords that explicitly stated they were happy to rent to benefit claimants.

These findings present a situation in which changes to the welfare system could be further limiting access to affordable accommodation for people under 35. The report suggests a number of recommendations in order to avoid potentially forcing people into homelessness. Primarily, housing benefit rates should be adjusted to reflect the real cost of renting shared accommodation in London and ensure that claimants have access to at least 30% of properties in their local area.

This report clearly shows that the recent changes to the system have left it falling far below the mark and could be putting many people at risk of homelessness.

The bottom line is that the housing crisis must be fixed and the dysfunctionality of the housing market needs to be addressed. In the short-term, government must make in-roads by ensuring that more properties are affordable and encouraging landlords to open their doors to those on benefits.

There is also evidence at Broadway of the negative effects of the housing benefit changes. People are losing their homes and those looking for accommodation from the streets are finding the move on from temporary accommodation increasingly difficult.

We can only see the situation getting worse unless urgent action is taken to make properties more affordable for those on benefits.

Homeless Link examined data taken from 55,537 property listings in London to assess the impact of this change.

Crisis.

Youth unemployment has increased by 340 per cent in the past two years, according to new figures released this week.

This means the number of young people aged 16-24 out of work and on Jobseekers’ Allowance remains close to the one million mark and almost 74,000 of those have been unemployed for more than a year.

Youth unemployment has dropped a little in the past few months, but only by 17,700 since December 2012. This figure is just too small to make any real dent and this remains a concern that youth unemployment now will have a lasting impact on the future.

Unless we support under-25s into work now, we risk storing up economic and social problems in the future, The government must urgently review whether apprenticeships and the youth contract are reaching those young people furthest from the labour market and should consider implementing pre-apprenticeship schemes to address any failings.

The vast majority of homeless young people want to work and the government must respond to their commitment and end this tragic trend of long-term youth unemployment.

Homelessness

£10m for homeless after hospital stays

HEALTH minister Anna Soubry has announced a £10 million boost for homeless people who are leaving hospital.

It is estimated that 70 per cent of homeless people are discharged from hospital without their health and housing problems being properly addressed.

The cash will support voluntary organisations to help them work with the NHS and local authorities to ensure homeless people receive the best possible support and care after leaving hospital.

The £10 million will also be spent on intermediate care after discharge – vital for recovering from health problems such as tuberculosis.

Ms Soubry, the MP for Broxtowe, said: “Homeless people are too often discharged back on to the street without their problems being properly addressed. This is damaging to their health and increases NHS costs through ‘revolving door’ admissions.”

In relation to this and a little digging on the Internet I found details that The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has said housing can help health and wellbeing, but the sectors need to work together. The report shows how good housing can help people leave hospital more quickly and help care to be delivered more effectively.

The CIH have called for housing associations and landlords to work more closely with health and social care providers, to get the benefits from the partnership.

They have suggested a localised approach to this, and have suggested that housing organisations approach local GPs and new commissioning groups to offer local services, such as supported housing, housing-related support, housing improvements, adaptations and palliative home care.

This can improve people’s health and well-being as well as save money for health and social care providers.

The report is based on meetings held by the CIH earlier this year, delivering housing, health and care outcomes, where people expressed interest in promoting the application of assistive technology.

Johnny Lynch

Cash boost to improve rent options for single homeless people

The Government announced at the Homeless charity Crisis conference on Monday 13th of may a £1m funding to help single homeless people find accommodation in privately rented properties. Crisis, will be given £800,000 to help set up new shared tenancies for single homeless people in privately rented accommodation. The rest of the funding will be used to work with landlords to help vulnerable people find homes in the private sector.

Communities minister, Don Foster, said:at the conference ‘No-one should have to face the frightening prospect of homelessness, and for many, particularly younger, single people, renting a room can be an affordable alternative to a flat or house.

‘We want to ensure that option is widely available, which is why today we’ve provided Crisis with a million-pound boost, helping hundreds more vulnerable people into tenancies that work for them, and finding a way forward to make rented rooms a reality right across the country.’

Eight schemes across the country will help landlords create more rooms for rent in shared accommodation. The project will also work with those facing the threat of homelessness.

Johnny Lynch

Councils have received increased requested for emergency welfare following the introduction of the bedroom tax.

Also from the Crisis conference it was stated that 60% of the people of those it effected most was the disabled. There has been a sharp increase reported from councils across Britain for an emergency hardship fund to help cover the personal shortfall in money.

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is intended to be paid out as an emergency when someone claiming housing benefit or council tax benefit is having difficulty paying the rest of the rent themselves.

Since the bedroom tax was introduced on 1st April last month, numerous councils in Britain a reporting a huge increase in the demand for the fund.

The government allocated initially £60 million but has had to increase this to £155 million to DHP, and the rise in demand for the fund is the first quantifiable sign that the bedroom tax is making it harder for tenants to meet living costs.

Leeds Council has received 1,256 applications compared with 226 last April.

Sefton Council received 321 applications since 1 April, which is 9x their normal amount.

Southampton Council had 295 applications compared with 75 in April 2012.

Birmingham Council received 2,000 applications in the first two weeks of April, which is 50% more than the figure for the whole of the first quarter of the 2012/13 financial year.

Glasgow Council has received 5,501 applications for April, compared to 1,437 for the same period last year.

Liverpool Council received 1,265 applications in April when it receives an average of 138 a month.

Sheffield Council received around 1,400, compared to an average of just 100 per month throughout the 2012/13 financial year.

Hull, Leicester and Southwark councils all received at least five times as many applications as they would normally receive in a month. Waltham Forest Council’s received 226 applications when their average monthly amount is 72.A total of 12 other local authorities also reported increases.

Spelthorne, Oxford, Harlow, Amber Valley, Suffolk Coastal, Maldon, Wycombe, Welwyn and Hatfield, Telford and Wrekin, Craven, Eastbourne and Derbyshire Dales councils have reported combined DHP applications of 1,070 in April this year, compared to 252 in the same period last year.

This is having a knock on effect on the councils, many expecting a shortfall themselves to cover the necessary funds that are given out to struggling claimants.

DHPs are intended as short term solution, and the government have provided funding as a temporary solution, so what will happen if these short term problems continue to happen every month now that the cut has been introduced?

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We want these young people off the streets and into a home and a job. Please help bring awareness to this growing problem and sign the petition. Thank you. http://www.eyh.org.uk/news.html

So have you ever wanted to know what happens to your toiletries when confiscated at the airport well a business man from Slough did and decided he could put them to a use

Slough homeless given hundreds of abandoned airport toiletries
Continue reading the main story

Hundreds of toiletries left by passengers at an airport have been donated to homeless people in Slough. Up to 200 items left at Heathrow Airport security check-ins have been given to ‘Slough Homeless Our Concern’

The charity collects donations every two weeks which are then handed out to its clients at Serena Hall.

Airport restrictions mean liquids are only allowed in hand luggage in containers holding 100ml or less so many items are left at security gates.

Georgie Takhar, director of Maidenhead recruitment firm Muse Resourcing, set up the project after coming up with the idea while queuing at the airport.

Homes brought back to life thanks to Norwich’s homeless.

A project that sees homeless people learning construction skills as they refurbish empty homes and bring them back into use has completed its first flat,

The Make A House A Home scheme is run by St Martin’s Housing Trust in partnership with Norwich City Council, Norwich Leap, Building Futures in Norwich, and CTS (Construction Training Specialists).

It is aiming to bring 10 homes which have been empty for at least six months back into use by April 2015.

Work on the homes is carried out by homeless city people, supported by St Martin’s Housing Trust and Norwich Leap, who are keen to develop new skills, move forward with their lives, and gain a recognised qualification.

Yesterday, the keys for the first refurbished flat were handed over by CTS to St Martin’s Housing Trust, who will now find someone in need of a home to take on the tenancy.

Each construction trainee who has worked on a property will get the chance to bid for it and become the tenant.

The construction trainees complete a six-week training course where they are taught a range of skills including brickwork, carpentry, joinery, painting, plastering, plumbing and wall-papering, as well as gaining an understanding of health and safety issues.

At the end of that course, they head into the property for some real hands-on experience.

One of the success stories is Shaun Newton who hopes the skills he picked up during the eight-week refurbishment will lead to a job.and yesterday, he joined the project’s partners at CTS’ base at White Lodge Business Park in Norwich to collect a certificate acknowledging his hard work and the entry-level qualification he has gained.

Together with five other homeless people, he has helped to get the first flat in Mile Cross ready for a new tenant. Mr Newton who is the same age as me at 42, had been living in a hostel when he first got involved with the project. By the age of 28, both his parents had died and he was struggling to cope. He fell behind on rent payments and became homeless. This scheme has helped Sean (Below with his certificate) and he’s been able to move forward, gain confidence and belief in himself that he can get a job in the future. I wish you luck on the project and in the future.
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Travellers jailed for treating homeless men as slaves

The head of an Irish Traveller family and his son were jailed for a total of 13 years yesterday on the 7th May for keeping homeless and vulnerable men captive and treating them like slaves.

Tommy Connors Senior, 53, known as ‘Lyncham’, and his son Patrick Connors, 21, were sentenced to eight and five years respectively.

A jury heard how the family recruited homeless out of work men, often alcoholics, from soup kitchens and off the street with a promise of paid work, food and lodgings.

Judge Michael Kay, passing sentence on the father, said this was a ‘monstrous and callous deceit’ because they were forced to work with no wages and kept against their will in squalid accommodation.

One worker told the police: ‘It was like being an animal in a cage. The animal tended to fly about, then automatically go back to the cage because it was used to it.

‘There was always something, “Clean the cars, clean the yard”. There was never a good day. The travellers used to say: “No pain no gain”.’

Judge Kay said the Connors had recruited hundreds of vulnerable workers over the years who had been subjected to intimidation and threats of violence.

They were forced to live in accommodation such as horseboxes or cold caravans and sheds on a Bedfordshire Travellers’ site and driven to a service station or leisure centre once a week for a shower.

Their heads were shaven and they were given a basic diet such as of biscuits, Pot Noodles or beans and eggs.

Workers were forced to do back-breaking work including paving and laying tarmac and gravel but were not paid while the Connors made thousands of pounds.

The police found £16,000 of cash in the father’s luxury static home on the site and evidence that he had £130,000 in bank deposits.

After the month-long trial yesterday, the jury failed to reach verdicts on two other sons, Tommy Junior, 27 and James, 25 and the prosecution formally offered no evidence against them.

The father and son were sentenced yesterday for crimes they were found guilty of last July of conspiring to hold a person in servitude and conspiring to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour.

The charges involved two different workers and they were also convicted at the time of assaulting them occasioning them actual bodily harm. The retrial was held as the jury failed to agree on further charges in July last year.

All four members of the Connors family in the latest trial pleaded not guilty to three charges of conspiracy to hold a person in servitude and three of conspiracy to require a person to perform forced labour. The jury retired to consider the verdicts last week, but yesterday announced they were unable to reach verdicts on any of the charges against the four meaning the father and son could be sentenced for the crimes they were found guilty of in the summer last year.

At the end of the first trial last year, the daughter of Tommy Connors Senior and her husband were jailed after being convicted by a jury of keeping vulnerable men in servitude and requiring them to perform forced labour.

Travellers James John Connors, 34, and Josie Connors, 31, were convicted of two counts each of keeping people in servitude at the Greenacres site and jailed for 11 years and four years respectively.

James John Connors, known as ‘Big Jim’ was also convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Bedfordshire Police mounted a raid on the Greenacres Travellers site near Leighton Buzzard in September 2011 to free 13 ‘workers’ being held against their will by Tommy Connors snr and other family members.

Homeless Coat

A coat developed by a social entrepreneur and designed for homeless people is now a somewhat hot item in the high-end fashion world.

Earlier this month, 23-year-old Veronika Scott said that she had plans to add a for-profit arm to her non-profit company, The Empowerment Plan, which has donated over 1,000 coats to the homeless since launching in late 2010.

Scott’s foray into the private market comes after she debuted the coats at last year’s Aspen Fashion Week to much fanfare, helping her land a $100,000 investment from the billionaire founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely.

Designed for the homeless in her hometown of Detroit, where winter temperatures regularly fall below freezing, the coat doubles as a sleeping bag. And therein lies its instinctive appeal.

“At the end of the day, people gravitate to the coats because it’s easy to understand,” Scott told Crain’s Detroit Business, referring to the apparel’s ability to adapt from clothing to bedding. “But the uniqueness is in what we do and who we hire.”

The Empowerment Plan employs formerly homeless women and trains them to produce the coats. There are now 10 women on staff who were all able to acquire housing after receiving a job and sewing training from the company.

Empowerment aims to make more than 4,000 coats this year, according to PBS. Inspired by the Tom’s Shoes “one-for-one” model, the company plans to donate a free coat to one homeless person with every purchase, Scott told Sustainable Industries.

Known as the “Crazy Coat Lady,” Scott is one of a number of young entrepreneurs in the Detroit area building businesses that seek to solve the city’s social problems, such as its high unemployment, poor access to housing and deficient public transportation.

Want to know what inspired to make this film about ‘Homelessness?’.

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Want to know what inspired to make this film about 'Homelessness?'.

The image shows me and a few of the walkers for the dedicated charity ‘Crisis’ when we embarked to walk from Canterbury Cathedral to Londons Southwalk Cathedral as we passed through Rochester where we was joined by Mark Reckless MP where he symbolically walked across Rochester Bridge for photos and interviews to help us bring awareness to the problems that anyone of us could face if they found them selves without food or shelter. Its wrong we should need a charity in 21st Century Britain society today and know I won’t solve the problem but if more people know then more people may help. Everyone of the 6500 Londons Homeless as at risk and today I have persuaded 2 homeless people to go to a shelter tonight. I started this journey back then and see no better way than this to continue it..

Bedroom Tax

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Bedroom Tax

The last thing I want this film page is political but we do have a social housing dilemma in the fact that the new bedroom tax is going to put pressure on some of the people who are closer to the bread line and are the ones that need the most help so it seems silly to me that under new laws you can evict a family for the sake of £11 a week. Its a crime that we need charities in 21st Britain to help with homelessness and I hope in a small way that the money raised from the making of this film and bringing awareness to the dilemma of so many families will go to help some of our most vulnerable people in the UK today

5 in 10 homeless services saw their funding fall in 2012, while homeless numbers increased by 10%

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5 in 10 homeless services saw their funding fall in 2012, while homeless numbers increased by 10%

With the number of homeless people increasing by 10% in 2012 , the annual ‘Survey of Needs and Provision’, found that nearly five out of ten projects saw their funding fall – by an average of 17%.

With most services reliant on local authority funding, the findings indicate that the capacity of the sector to house and help new homeless people has fallen.
In the year to November 2012, 58 accommodation projects closed and 1,811 bed spaces were lost.

The number of full-time staff has reduced by 16% since 2010.

There has also been a decrease in the number of services offering targeted support to help clients with the most complex problems.

I know we won’t solve the Homeless problem alone but I hope from the bottom of my heart that it will do some good in bringing awareness to this problem in Britains society and am compelled to make this. Thanks to all that are supporting this page, film you and you doing so will help some of the UKs most vulnerable people.

Help is needed NOW

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Help is needed NOW

The number of people turning to food banks triples in a year. More than 350,000 people turned to food banks for help last year, almost triple the number who received food aid in the previous year and 100,000 more than anticipated, according to the UK’s biggest food crisis charity ‘The Trussel Trust’ With the profits raised from the making of this film we will be directly helping some of those needy of people. We would love it if you shared this page.