Homelessness – unacceptable in a caring society

March 12, 2019
The increase in homelessness and the number of people sleeping rough is one of the most visible signs of a political system that is failing too many people, writes Shepway District Council candidate, Ross Carter. Preventing the devastating long-term effects of homelessness on the physical and mental health of so many people should be the number one priority for all politicians, but is clearly not.
Like most people, I feel ashamed and guilty when I see people sleeping rough but I also feel angry that we are not doing more to tell the government that homeless people dying from the cold  should never be acceptable in a caring, civilized society.
Growing inequality and Tory government austerity policies have been major factors in increasing homelessness. Politically motivated spending cuts have led to the hollowing out of many essential local government support services and we have a broken housing system where vast amounts of government money is paid to private landlords in the form of Housing Benefit, even when the accommodation provided is often of very low quality.
This money should be being spent on  providing  good quality social housing and supported accommodation for the homeless and vulnerable. Affordable social housing provides greater security to families and individuals and  also gives them a much better chance of becoming self supporting and financially independent.
We have some great work being done by local voluntary groups and charities but the  responsibility for reducing homelessness must lie with our government. There are no cheap, easy solutions but without a greater political will  to tackle these issues our communities and town centres will become sadder and more demoralised places for all of us.