When you think of England, you might immediately think of Buckingham Palace, English Breakfast Tea, and a refined way of life. However, if you scratch beneath the surface, you soon start to realise that there is a deep-rooted issue with homelessness; with one in every 200 people in England without a home.
According to statistics released in December 2019; at least 280,000 were homeless over Christmas in a country with a population of just under 67 million. In contrast with the United States of America, where figures show that 567,715 people were living homeless in 2019, that rate of homelessness is considerably higher. You are statistically more than twice as likely to be homeless in England than you are in the USA.
Why Does England Have Such a Problem with Homelessness?
There are many reasons behind the problematic rate of homelessness in England, with local authorities suffering cuts to budgets as well as many businesses facing uncertain futures due to the United Kingdom exiting the European Union. The breakdown of a relationship, such as a marriage, is also seen as one of the main causes for someone becoming homeless – with the break-up of a unit that may have only just been making ends meet with two sources of income going their separate ways.
London is where the biggest problem can be found with the capital city accounting for more than 60% of the country’s overall population, with 170,068 registered as being homeless. That means that one in every 52 is without a home living in one of the richest cities in the world. This can almost certainly be put down to the inflated cost of living in London compared to the rest of the country, with the average Londoner expected to pay around twice as much rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre than they would for the same in Manchester city centre.
It is nothing out of the ordinary for capital and/or major cities, where the cost of living is inflated compared to other areas of the country, to have high rates of homelessness. To see this, all you must do is look closer to home, where the state of District of Columbia (DC) has a rate of 94 homeless people per 10,000, considerably higher than second-placed New York’s 46.4 per 10,000 population.
What is Being Done to Tackle the Issue
With so many local authorities such as councils having their budgets cut, much of the work that is being done to tackle the issue is being carried out by charitable causes. Citizens are volunteering their time to work in shelters and donating anything that they can to help make someone that is homeless as comfortable as possible. Other charities are working on behalf of the homeless to secure temporary accommodation in hostels and B&Bs, as well as apartment spaces.
The lack of having a permanent address presents difficulties when trying to find work or claim benefits that they might be entitled to. There are also many local businesses that offer services either for free or at a discounted rate for the homeless. When you consider some of the little things that you might take for granted, such as access to a shower, a washing machine and being able to get a haircut that someone who is homeless does not have, you soon realise how even just the smallest gesture can make a big difference.