Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

current issue

February – March 2024 : The little things READ ONLINE


The Homelessness Awards

June 01 2022

Join our correspondent for a run-down of some of the contenders at the Homelessness Awards. A satire by Chris Sampson

When they’re not harassing female colleagues or watching porn in the House of Commons, British Members of Parliament often spare a thought for homelessness…and how to increase it.

And so we join our panel of down and outs on the once-red-but-nowscabby-pink carpet found in a skip on the decidedly non-glittering streets of London for this year’s Homelessness Awards, the annual ceremony where we discover which government department has done most to increase the number of people forced into rough sleeping during the last 12 months.

The hot favourite is, as ever, the Department of Work and Pensions. Cutting benefits and still leaving people without money for weeks when they’re forced to apply for Universal Credit – despite it being the 21st century, and it could all be done at the click of a computer mouse. What a dazzling future the founders of the welfare state in the 1940s might have expected!

Another contender is the NHS. Cutbacks on mental health services always increase the chance of having to sleep rough, and this year is no exception.

Then there’s the Department of Housing, obvs. Now called the Department of Levelling Up, Communities and Housing, it could be called Department of Jeremiah Plum for all I know. The point is, the charity Crisis estimates that 227,000 people are without a home, despite there being almost 250,000 empty properties in the UK. But no one in government has done the maths, sadly.

Maybe the Home Office model might help to solve the crisis? It's in-no-way-fascistic/bonkers plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda could be adapted: if only Putin hadn’t invaded Ukraine, Britain’s homeless could have been shipped off to Russia’s gulag archipelago… Hey, ho. So there we have some of this year’s contenders for the Homelessness Awards.

And the winner? Why, it’s the Department of Inadequacy and Irresponsibility, rumoured to be a certain haystack-haired Prime Minister’s new favourite branch of government.

  • The Pavement is constantly on the lookout for new content and ideas. If you have some writing, whether satire or serious, get in touch with the editor over email at