Anyone who says we can END single homelessness or END rough sleeping is talking out of their arse either knowingly or ignorantly. At the absolute minimum a 1 bed property is needed to end rooflessness (rough sleeping) yet take a look at what 1 bed properties England has and the demand for each elusive 1 bed property below.
The 1 bed social housing property which is the bricks and mortar part of the solution to end homelessness or its rough sleeping subset (rooflessness) is simply not available. This housing part of the ESCAPE from the horrific state of homelessness is not available as the 25,000 SRS yearly supply of the elusive 1 bed SRS property needed to end single homelessness in all forms sees a yearly demand of not less than 1,200,000 for this same 25,000 supply.
Thus any so-called expert who says we CAN end homelessness is without any doubt or prevarication talking out of their arse and knowingly lying. We can debate which of the many alleged homelessness experts is most talking through their arse or which solution such as the Housing First model is the most delusional but it will not change the fact that there is not a hope in hell’s chance of ending homelessness in England. You can have as much delusional hope as you wish and you can scream from the rooftops that we all need to #BeKind but it still does not change the facts that England has a major structural problem with the 1 bed social housing property that is as rare as hen’s teeth.
The Housing First model and purported solution to rooflessness (i.e. rough sleeping) and which is heavily promoted by Crisis and the current Tory government is entirely dependent on the availability of the 1 bed social housing property. You cannot give a house first and then address the numerous and complex interrelated support issues after if the (1 bed) house is not or ever going to be there in the first place!
A cursory look at the countrywide Housing First model across Scotland sees an average of 5 months to find a suitable 1 bed property yet is lauded as a model for England to follow by the absurdly delusional Crisis and the idiots in government – the same homeless ‘experts’ who constantly state we CAN end homelessness and end it together.
The Scottish government rightly accept the minimum Shelter (Scotland) figure of 5,000 rough sleepers per year (417 per month) so by the time the average property for 1 of them has been found under the Housing First (sic) model another 2,100 rough sleepers have emerged from the street or under a hedgerow to add to the demand. In fact the 200 rough sleepers this “successful” Housing First scheme rehoused in a year across Scotland is the number of new rough sleepers Scotland has every fortnight. When “success” is equated with 4% of the need you begin to see the basurd hyperbole that surrounds the Housing First model
Those who zealously and absurdly proclaim we can end rough sleeping are innumerate not just knowingly deceitful. The same innumeracy is seen with Crisis getting into bed with Iain Duncan Smith’s CSJ think (sic) tank the CSJ to proclaim that only 16,450 of England’s minimum 50,000 pa rough sleepers need (Housing First) support to be able to transition from the street to sustain their own tenancy.
On the surface Crisis and its curious right-wing CSJ bedfellows are saying 2 in every 3 rough sleepers require no support whatsoever to transition from the street to a 1 bed property of their own and sustain that tenancy. Even more absurdly, these queer bedfellows are saying that 16,450 is the finite limit and each requires support for a 3 years average duration by which time 150,000 rough sleepers have emerged (50,000 x 3 years) which equates to Crisis / CSJ saying just 16,450 of 150,000 rough sleepers need support and 8 in every 9 rough sleepers need no support to sustain a tenancy!
That is not even viable on the planet called Cloud Cuckoo Land – a term coined by Jonathan Swift who also told us the Liliputians needed 37 wheelbarrows to take away the morning dump of Gulliver – an apt analogy for the Housing First model’s chance of ever ending rough sleeping in England don’t you think?
If you think this is rant I haven’t even begun to; and go back and look at the 1 bed social housing supply and demand graphic above. England has a massive structural problem with its socially rented housing supply with 1,200,000 single households all competing for the 1 bed property each and every year. The bare numbers say 47 out of every 48 single households below sheltered housing age (all 18 – 54 year olds) who need and only qualify for a 1 bed SRS property due to Bedroom Tax will NOT get a 1 bed property. England’s social (sic) rented sector (sic) can only meet 2% of the yearly need and yet we see daily social landlords announcing new builds and new developments and none of them ever include the 1 bed social housing property at the social rent level for those of working age.
Just build more bloody social housing goes the refrain from council landlords, from housing association landlords, from housing and homeless lobbies, from politicians, from housing activists and many other ignorant quarters. Who the hell are you building for is a question that is never asked or considered!
These housing and homeless actors may well be well-intentioned but there is no doubt that they are either ignorant or do not want you to know about the basic SRS housing facts which scream that England has no chance whatsoever of ending homelessness and is still fixated on a housing-led (that is bricks and mortar) approach in attempting to end or reduce homelessness when all a bricks and mortar approach can ever manage is to end rooflessness.
The general public has a very eclectic relationship with homelessness and the pandemic or the Beast from the East cold snap sees anger over those who are roofless but they conflate to be the only homeless when rough sleepers account for a single figure percentage of all England’s homeless and are merely the only visible homeless cohort.
Unless we can build 250,000 social housing 1 beds alone each year for the next ten years and as an absolute minimum and all of them at the social rent level and make the provision of homeless support a fundamental right, then ALL housing-led proposed solutions to homelessness are doomed to fail – not opinion just basic simple arithmetic and numeric fact … but we all so want to believe we can end homelessness and hope beyond hope that hope alone is enough when it can never be.
You have to be cruel to #BeKind when the irrefutable facts slap you around the head with a wet fish even if you constantly wear a blindfold. One such fact and the one that so so many do not want to read or hear or accept is England can never end rough sleeping and never end homelessness.