Homelessness – Janina Ahmed

As of 2016 there are over 4000  people who will be forced to go to the streets in order to find a safe and warm place to sleep. This is an outstanding 16% increase from the increase of homelessness in 2015 and this number is only going to increase if something isn’t done to change it.

Homelessness is said to have increased consecutively for the past three years and only the government can be held to account for this shocking statistic. Over 185,000 people are now affected by housing shortages and benefit cuts.

Coventry alone has been titled the ‘homeless hotspot’ as the number sleeping on the streets has drastically increased over the past few years. All one has to do is walk through the streets of coventry to see how bad the homeless epidemic really is with there being a homeless person, in some areas, on the corner of every road.

The number of people sleeping rough on the streets in coventry is three times higher than the national average with the number of people homeless soaring by more than 50% in just one year. With the weather conditions having reached as low as -4 it is clear that getting these people off the streets should be a priority for the sake of their well-being.

With this being said there were many homeless shelters open during the snow period offering shelter from the unbearable ice cold wind that was circulating. However this is not enough. Once the weather reaches legal conditions these people are forced to take back to the streets where they have to fend for themselves.

One homeless man by the name of William explained how being made redundant almost 5 years ago is what lead him to be in the state he is today. He has spent over a year and a half on the streets of coventry trying to find a way to get back on his feet again however with little to no help from the council, he sees his chances of getting his life back together again almost impossible. “It is reassuring to know that there are people who care. I get people helping me out all the time. Occasionally i also get a meal bought for me but the government should be the ones helping, not random locals.”

The As-Suffa institute located in Birmingham help the homeless by offering food for those who need it. They started off in Birmingham with a small stall where they were feeding over 50 homeless people every Wednesday. Since then they have expanded and have stalls in Birmingham, Bolton, Coventry, Leicester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Walsall with designated days and times for each city.

I spoke to a member from the institute and here’s what he had to say:

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It is the councils responsibility to do something to help get people off the streets and get a fresh start for their lives. It is especially important to ensure they at least have somewhere to sleep at night and at least a meal a day before they are able to support themselves independently once again.

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