Simon Hattenstone and Daniel Lavelle name for Boris Johnson to assist a coverage of Housing First, an effort to supply folks with housing and solely later attempt to handle some other wants, comparable to dependancy (Johnson has a chance to end homelessness now – if he dares to seize it, 28 December). This coverage is frequent sense, however there are good grounds to be sceptical of the way it may be applied.
Prof Nicholas Pleace from the College of York has proven how assist for Housing First from some corners of our political debate can mirror very totally different agendas. For instance, the Centre for Social Justice – based by Iain Duncan Smith – helps Housing First, however in methods very totally different from what Hattenstone and Lavelle take note of. For this facet of the political debate, Housing First can sit with denying the social causes of homelessness and the dysfunctional housing system.
Housing First is broadly applauded and more and more evidenced, but in addition contested. Johnson and his authorities might leap in assist of what may very well be labelled Housing First, whereas nonetheless taking no systemic motion on entry to housing, funding for psychological well being companies or the supply of drug and alcohol companies. We must always search Johnson’s consideration to Housing First, but in addition guarantee that a chaperone retains watch on what occurs later.
Senior lecturer in social science and well being, King’s School London
The article on homelesseness unearthed disturbing reminiscences. In 1990, I went to the Royal Opera Home and parked someplace close to Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Surrounded by attorneys’ workplaces and wonderful homes, the inexperienced sq. within the center was a tented camp for homeless folks. When Tony Blair got here into workplace in 1997, homelessness did considerably lower via the tough sleepers unit. On a wet night in 2017, I got here out of a theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue. The homeless folks had been again. Doorways, damp sleeping luggage and cardboard once more sufficed for shelter.
There could also be many the explanation why individuals are homeless, however the actions of governments during the last three many years have been the primary motive: no constructing to interchange offered council homes; the bed room tax; the introduction of punitive common credit score; the two-children-only profit; lack of safe work; lease rises; austerity to make up for lax banking controls. “Everybody in” could also be a part of the reply, however it’s pitiful in opposition to the true causes created by successive governments: poverty and lack of reasonably priced first rate homes to lease.
The searing article on the expansion in homelessness beneath Boris Johnson makes comparisons with humane and efficient insurance policies on homelessness within the US and Finland. However throughout the UK, Scotland has efficient insurance policies – as set out in its authorities’s 2021 Ending Homelessness Together report.
Beneath these insurance policies, Scottish night time shelters are saved closed by offering better-quality emergency lodging; 100,000 genuinely reasonably priced houses had been introduced on stream. The short-term ban on the enforcement of eviction orders was prolonged, to supply renters with protected houses throughout the pandemic. Hardship schemes had been launched to assist these struggling to pay their lease and other people with no recourse to public funds had been helped to keep away from destitution. Most significantly, laws was amended in order that no homeless family has to remain in unsuitable lodging for greater than seven days.