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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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News in brief 140 : October-November 2022

October 01 2022
World Homeless Day on 10 October.  © Carousel by Milena for Cafe Art World Homeless Day on 10 October. © Carousel by Milena for Cafe Art

Our monthly round-up of what‘s been happening...

Mark the calendar ...

Cafe Art’s annual MyLondon calendar launches in mid-October, shortly after World Homeless Day on 10 October. The MyLondon calendar features photographs taken in London by people with lived experience of homelessness. All profits from the calendar go to the photographers, with £2,000 in prize money also allocated to selected participants. A fundraising campaign was launched in September for the project. Each year Cafe Art hands out 100 single-use cameras to people with lived experience of homelessness and photographers are given seven days to “capture London”. 

  • For more information about Cafe Art’s MyLondon calendar, including purchase details and how to get involved in the project. Visit: www.cafeart.org.uk


New strategy

At the beginning of September the government announced “landmark plans” to end rough sleeping, by adding an extra £2bn funding to existing funding streams. Under these initiatives the government aims to provide 14,000 beds and 3,000 staff across England, as well as provide further funding to a list of existing services across England. They have also announced plans to build an extra 2,400 long-term supported homes for those with complex needs. Whilst extra accommodation is welcome news, figures taken from Big Issue show that in London alone during April-June 2022, 3,000 people were counted as sleeping rough. The figure points towards the scale of action required from the government to meet the demands of London, never mind the entire country. 


Hopeless

Priti Patel’s new £120m pound scheme was set to deport UK asylum seekers to Rwanda, moving them into hostels, such as Hope Hostel in the capital, Kigali. The Guardian reports that in order to meet the demands of this deal, the hostel hastily kicked out all of the former residents, all of whom were survivors of the Rwandan genocide, leaving them homeless and without long-term support. Some of the residents had lived there for over eight years and many were still students with no other support systems or safe places to live due to the genocide. The Rwandan genocide took place in 1994, with mass killings leaving hundreds of thousands of people dead. With the pressures of the pandemic, many former hostel residents feel unable to ask for support from friends, meaning they are forced to sleep on the streets and abandon their education. However, due to legal challenges to deport people to Rwanda, no one from the UK has been sent over – meaning the hostel remains empty.


Monsoon mysery

Severe flooding in Pakistan has killed at least 1,391 people and has left half a million people homeless. Although contributing less than 1% of global emissions, Pakistan finds itself on the front line of the climate crisis, with 33 million people affected by the months of heavy monsoon rains and flooding. For the time being, the Guardian reports many of the people displaced have pitched tents on roads or paths on higher ground. Aid has arrived slowly and there are fears more rain – as has been forecast – will force them to move on once again.


Cost of giving

Research conducted for estate agents Savills warns that in London, 125,000 households are at risk of homelessness due to the increasing pressures caused by the cost of living crisis. These households, in the coming months, are calculated to not have their benefits meet the cost of rent. Boroughs are urging the government to increase Local Housing Allowance rates to cover at least 30% of market rents to help prevent further increase of homelessness among the approximately 500,000 people most at risk in London. The research also looked at the effect of the benefit cap, finding that less than 1% of single family households with two children over four are within budget, meaning the vast majority of these families are at huge risk of homelessness. The need to increase Local Housing Allowance is clear.


Scotland

Unsuitable suites

Glasgow City Council has admitted hundreds of homeless people in the city are placed in temporary accommodation legally defined as “unsuitable”. Glasgow Evening Times reported in August that there were 374 breaches of the Unsuitable Accommodation Order among temporary accommodation premises for homeless people. The council released figures relating to one day, 30 June 2022. Glasgow Evening Times had also revealed in August that in one temporary accommodation premises, the Queens Park Hotel, there were 221 breaches between September 2021 and March 2022. 


Fringe players

The Fringe comedy festival in Edinburgh returned in August after a Covid-induced hiatus of two years. Although much-loved, the festival places the city’s housing – and homelessness – crisis in the spotlight. Edinburgh’s population balloons during Fringe, as hoards of comedy-lovers from across the world descend upon the city. According to Helen Russell, progression manager at a Skylight centre run by Crisis in the city, homeless people are edged out of the city to make room for Fringe-goers: “We have seen individuals and families offered accommodation as far away as Leicester, Newcastle and Aberdeen.” The i notes accommodation prices soar during Fringe, pricing the council out of acquiring more temporary accommodation in the city.


New trim

In September East Ayrshire Council approved a £75,000 grant for East Ayrshire Churches Homelessness Action (EACHA) to run a mobile barber and barista van for homeless people. Reported in the Daily Record, EACHA’s application for the grant outlined “the vehicle will provide an inviting, safe, comfortable space for community members to attend to have their haircut.” Going on to add that “local services will use the project as a mobile engagement platform where connections, advice and support will be offered and developed.” 



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