Homelessness In England: It’s No Cup Of Tea

Unfortunately, San Francisco is not the only city in the world populated by the homeless. London, another major city of the world, has had an increasing number of “rough sleepers” over the past 6 years. In general, the number of rough sleepers in England has more than doubled since 2010. While the number of people sleeping rough in England was only 1,768 in 2010, it climbed to 4,134 in 2016. Additionally, not unlike San Francisco, many of those living on the streets in England, particularly London, are affected by alcohol abuse, substance abuse, and mental health problems. In fact, 40% of rough sleepers in London abuse alcohol, 30% abuse some sort of substance, and 45% suffer from a mental health problem. Only about a quarter of those who sleep rough in London, or 25%, do not abuse alcohol, substances, or suffer from some mental health issue. The infographic below presents theses statistics as well as others regarding the rough sleepers of England and London.

Additionally, just like the homeless of San Francisco, the rough sleepers of London are trapped within a system of sleeping rough that disables them from ever escaping it. Many of the rough sleepers in London site a housing shortage as their reason for sleeping on the streets. Many of the homeless of San Francisco also site this as the cause of their homelessness. The housing shortage causes any cheap housing options to become more expensive. Ultimately, this traps individuals in a state of rough sleeping or homelessness, which they cope with by abusing substances or alcohol. This can lead to mental health problems if those individuals did not already suffer from them. In discussing whether implementing my particular solution in a foreign country like England would or would not work, it is important first to look at any resources that England has for its citizens who are sleeping on the streets.


Resources For The Homeless Of England

One resource for the homeless of England that I came across is “Shelter,” which can be found at http://england.shelter.org.uk. The website is comprised of a number of resources that the homeless can use. It contains different sections that a visitor can click on to explore more information regarding the subject. For example, some of the sections are titled “Where to stay in an emergency” and “Temporary and long-term housing offers.” Diving into one of these sections deeper, the “Where to stay in an emergency” section has a subsection titled “Nightshelters and hostels.” Clicking on this subtitle brings you to a page that provides the visitor with the phone number for Shelter’s Housing Advice Helpline (0808–800–4444), a link to the Homeless England Directory, which can be used to search for emergency accommodations, as well as numerous other links to other resources related to nightshelters and hostels around England. Clicking on any of the other subtitles brings you to a webpage similar to this with information relevant to the subject of the subtitle. In my search of resources for the homeless of England, I found this website to be excellent because it had a plethora of resources in one easily accessible location. In my research of homelessness in San Francisco I never came across a resource quite as extensive as this and is something I believe that should be constructed so that resources for the homeless can be found in one accessible location online.


The Solution

Transitioning towards discussing why my solution would or would not work if implemented in England, specifically around London, I believe that there are reasons why it would work as well as why it would not work. First, what exactly is my solution? I believe that it is necessary for someone afflicted by homelessness to remove themselves from all of the negative influences around them that they see everyday given that they are homeless. It is no secret that a high percentage of those affected by homelessness use drugs, alcohol, or some combination to cope with their reality. This can lead to mental health issues in the future. If a homeless individual wants to remove himself or herself from homelessness, it is vital that they feel no temptation to abuse drugs or alcohol because this could bring them right back to square 1. Therefore, I am proposing the construction of a location where someone who is homeless can focus solely on his or her own personal health and rehabilitation. As stated previously in this post, only 25% of the rough sleepers of London did not abuse drugs, alcohol, or have some sort of mental health issue, which could have easily been as a result of extended drug or alcohol abuse. So, keeping this proposed solution in mind, why would it work and why would it not work?


Why It Will Work

One reason that I believe that implementing this solution would work relates very much to what I have already discussed in this post. I believe one reason that the rough sleepers in London have increased every year for the past 6 years is that they become trapped in a cycle of drug and alcohol abuse that prevents them from ever escaping it but consumes more people year after year. I believe that my suggested solution could help to solve this problem. Another reason why I believe that my solution would work is because it is different than the traditional homeless shelter for the homeless. As opposed to the traditional homeless shelter, my solution is intended to be a place that nurtures and fosters healthy living and a healthy lifestyle. I believe that this non-traditional method of housing for the homeless will have added benefits.


Why It Won’t Work

While I do believe there are reasons why my solution could work in a country like England, I am a realist and do believe that there are also reasons why my solution could not work in a foreign country like England. One reason, which also applies to implementing my solution in San Francisco, is the availability of land to use. For my solution to be effective, I do not believe the location could be within a city such as London or San Francisco. Land within major cities is scarce enough, as well as expensive. Therefore, my solution requires purchasing land outside of the city but close enough to where the homeless can return to the city when they are ready to implement their healthy lifestyle. Looking at the geography surrounding London and the surrounding communities, I believe that it could be a challenge to find the perfect location. Another reason that I believe that my solution would not work, which just like the other obstacle can apply to implementation in San Francisco as well as London, is funding of the “camp.” In order to get a camp running it requires a sizable investment. Because of this, it would be necessary to find investors who are as committed to this solution as I am. This is always a challenge when it comes to trying to fund any new project.


While there are reasons why my solution could work as well as not work, I believe that if it were to become a reality, no matter which country it becomes a reality in, it would result in people looking at solutions to homelessness differently. In fact, researching homelessness in the foreign country of England has caused me to look at homelessness from a different perspective given their different policies and resources. When it comes to perspectives, achieving a different one is never a bad thing.

If you would like to read any further into homelessness in England, click any of the links below.

Sources

Resources

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/homelessness

Articles

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/21/homelessness-england-rising-scandal-rough-sleeping

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/25/number-of-rough-sleepers-in-england-rises-for-sixth-successive-year

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/01/london-rough-sleepers-double-in-five-years

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/04/rough-sleeper-numbers-homeless

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/40-million-homelessness-prevention-programme-announced

http://www.bbc.com/news/education-38157410

Statistics

http://www.homeless.org.uk/facts/homelessness-in-numbers/rough-sleeping/rough-sleeping-explore-data

http://www.streetsoflondon.org.uk/about-homelessness

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/homelessness-statistics