” Some Truth To Power “

25880382-monk-in-a-monastery-writing-with-a-quill-pen

” Some Truth to Power”.

Simon Danczuk MP said in Oral Answers to Questions Communities and Local Government in the Commons on 30 June 2014 that :

” Last year in Rochdale, the number of households that were homeless but not in priority need increased by 40%. There are now 320 households in this category in Rochdale with little access to assistance. Will the Minister consider reviewing the law on homelessness to ensure that all homeless people get the help they
need? [1].

Kris Hopkins replied that he thought it a “disgrace ” that 323 households were found to be in crisis but not in priority need .Concluding it was a ” disgraceful figure ” As indeed it is.

This at the same time as 47 MP’s have claimed more than the £1675 a month taxpayers money they re officially allowed. One MP gets £2,467 of taxpayers money to pay his monthly rent – the full list can be found at Generation Rents website at:

http://www.generationrent.org/mp_expenses

this is repugnant to most decent thinking people .

Especially now when ordinary people in the UK are crammed into some of the smallest per cubic feet houses in the whole of Western Europe and through no fault of their own people are being billed for ‘spare
bedrooms’ which are smaller in many cases than your average MP’s wardrobe.Yet facing eviction & homelessnessif they don’t or can’t pay.

Homeless Link found in their recently conducted survey Support for Single Homeless People in England: Annual Review 2014 that :

“69% of services surveyed reported having to support clients to deal with a reduction in their benefits due to sanctions.” [2].

The Report goes on to draw attention to the impact of Welfare Changes :

“Responses this year showed that welfare changes …are having a substantial impact on people who are homeless and those agencies which support them.

Day centres are advising a high number of people (on average 100 each month) on welfare benefits issues, mostly because claims are suspended without people knowing why (71% of day centres), a change in a
person’s fit-to-work assessment (70%), and because of benefit sanctions (68%). ”

Those using front-line homeless services were made up of 33% drug users, 22% mental health needs, 28% complex multiple needs,25% alcohol problems, 12% physical health and 7 % learning disabilities. [3].

The main reason for turning away homeless people in need from hostels was 91% people assessed as being a high risk to themselves, others and Staff , 74% had needs to high to be dealt and 72% of people seeking help were turned away simply because the Project they had turned to
for help was simply full. In the North West region we have only 937 bed spaces in accommodation projects for the homeless. [4] ,

This is not enough. And it is going to prove a catastrophically low figure if we have the kind of Winter this season that climatologists
are projecting .

“The world is almost certain to be struck by the “El Nino” phenomenon this year, with the potential to induce “major climactic impacts”
around the world,” [ 5].

the Met Office has warned.

The Met Office predict that he fallout could also be felt in Britain, where the last El Nino event in 2009/10 contributed to the heavy
snowfall in the UK that winter.

It may seem odd to be writing of warning of homeless people freezing
to death six months ahead of the fact. But my conscience at least
will feel assuaged knowing I have at least raised this issue in the
public domain of future concern for the homeless sector – and in
particular for those who will have to survive on the streets this
Winter – and spoken at least ‘Some truth to power”.

Oxfam warn that :

” The worst hit families in the country are losing out by £18 per week – £864 per year.
At a time when the 5 richest families in the UK have more than the
bottom 20% of the population. It is unacceptable that the poorest are
paying such a heavy price ”

The Trussell Trust add that :

” A record total of more than 913,000 people received 3 days emergency
food last year – with over 50% blaming benefit delays or changes ”

While faith groups conclude that :

” Although the UK is the seventh richest country in the world, it is
also deeply unequal, and millions of families across the UK are living below the breadline”

It is wrong that the loan shark, the food bank and homelessness are
an every present spectre on the horizon for millions nationally and
thousands locally.

This being Rochdale I doubt that anyone else in the local Housing & Homelessness Sector will speak out until the what Oxfam, Church Action on Poverty and the Trussell Trust have described as the “Perfect Storm ” [6] ,is on their securely mortgaged front door-steps.

APPENDIX :
[1]. House of Commons , Homelessness Households , Hansard , Column 577
.30 June 2014 Please see link at :
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm140630/debtext/140630-0001.htm

[2]]. Homeless Link , Support for Single Homeless People in England:
Annual Review 2014 , Please see link at :
http://homeless.org.uk/sites/default/files/site-attachments/Support%20for%20Single%20Homeless%20People.pdf

[3]. Table A5. Homeless Link

[4]. Table A2 / Table A5. Homeless Link

[5]. ” El Nino weather phenomenon will strike this year, Met Office warns ” , Tom Bawden , Environment Editor, The Guardian , 1 July 2014
,.Please see link at :
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/el-nino-weather-phenomenon-will-strike-this-year-met-office-warns-9577018.html

[6]. Please see :
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/oxfam-warns-bedroom-tax-benefits-3440624

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