I am dealing with a really horrible homelessness case at the moment affecting a single man and his 13 year old child. It is harrowing, in fact. I can only imagine what going through this is like for the actual people involved.
It strikes me how well the welfare system is designed – if the intention of the system is to keep people sleeping rough, and to destroy families and individuals.
Bearing in mind that we have nowhere near enough social housing:
1) it is absolutely imperative that we ban ‘no DSS’ landlord advertising and contractual arrangements. Homes come before work, not the other way around. Landlords need to cover risk, but they should not do so at pain of discriminating against tenants.
2) we should tackle the genuine financial risk that housing benefit claimants do have to landlords by a) removing sanctions from the system b) if we have to have sanctions, providing a ‘strikes’ system c) disassociating HB from JSA generally, and especially in terms of sanctions.
3) Councils should strike a national deal with Royal Mail to provide PO Box type addresses to rough sleepers.
4) each rough sleeper within a local authority area should have a single caseworker contact, spanning housing, social work, mental health and addiction, etc. We have to stop people getting lost in bureaucracy and disengaging.
5) Councils could finance it, so we must must must build some bloody council houses.
If you care about your country, you should want it to be a place where people look after each other.