Last year marked the 20th anniversary of Intercounty. As part of Intercounty’s commitment to local charities, they are trying to raise £20,000 for the homeless charity, Shelter, by asking buyers to pay £20 on exchange, and they will match it, this is part of a series of funding raising events planned to run throughout this year.
Since the start of the recession, the amount of homeless people has been on the rise. It is estimated there are some 20,000 people in the UK who are either homeless or who have experienced homelessness. Figures released last month showed that 1,768 people are forced to sleep on the street each night.
The worse effected areas of the country for ‘rough sleeping’ according to the communities and Local Government report, were in London, the South East and the South West, the number of rough sleepers were 415, 310 and 270 respectively. The North East had the lowest number with 49.
The reports’ definition of a rough sleeper is:
People sleeping, about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) or actually bedded down in the open air (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments). People in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as stairwells, barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations, or “bashes”).
The definition does not include people in hostels or shelters, people in campsites or other sites used for recreational purposes or organised protest, squatters or travellers.
Bedded down is taken to mean either lying down or sleeping. About to bed down includes those who are sitting in/on or near a sleeping bag or other bedding.
Shelter, is urging the government and mortgage lenders to genuinely commit to sensible lending to prevent people from needless arrears and repossession.
In the last quarter of 2010 there were 7,900 repossessions, Shelter’s Chief Executive Campbell Robb said: ‘Whilst it is welcome news that repossessions are falling, we still cannot underestimate how hard homeowners are finding it right now to keep a roof over their heads’.
A combination of public sector cuts, high inflation, an increase in unemployment has meant that some homeowners are finding it harder to pay their mortgage.
However statistics released from the Department last week show that between 2008 and 2009, 130,000 households in England were prevented or helped in finding alternative accommodation by their council. The campaign, which is backed by £170 million has been funded by central government, has enabled local councils and charities to work together to help combat homelessness.
These preventative measures include councils in some cases providing rent deposits for people to use in the private rental sector, mediation and support for those at risk of relationship or family breakdowns.
Although there are many campaigns to help the homeless, it seems it is just the tip of the ice-berg, much more will need to be done to ensure a downward curve in the amount of homeless currently in the UK.