Thursday, 5 July 2018

Britain is no country and a country for more and more homeless old men

People over the age of 60 are now twice as likely to register with local councils as homeless than they were seven years ago, with the figure having risen from 1,210 in 2009 to 2,420 last year and the data shows that of these, 61% were over the age of 65 and 21% were over the age of 75. Given the fact that the lion's share of these will be men, rather than women, that means 500 old men will sleep homeless tonight.
Imagine them bedded down en masse :

What is more, the Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, warned that based on existing trends, the scale of elderly homelessness is set to double by 2025. The Association has said that these old men are presenting to councils with a range of complex health conditions, often having suffered physical and mental health problems, alcohol abuse and gambling problems.

In light of the figures, Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said : “The fact that the number of older people who are homeless has risen by so much is very worrying. To avoid these figures going even further in the wrong direction, we need a proper safety net for when people are unfortunate enough to fall on hard time. It is outrageous to think that any older person should be homeless – these people are the most vulnerable often with physical and mental health issues.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, said the charity had seen a rise in the number of homeless elderly people using their services and urged that in order for the “nightmare” to end, ministers must freeze housing benefit and commit to building more affordable homes. She said : “It’s astonishing that our housing crisis has got so bad that a record number of elderly people are turning up at their councils needing help finding somewhere to live. Sadly, we’re seeing this in our own services too, with older people regularly needing our advice and support when they become homeless.”

Izzi Seccombe, Chair of the Local Government Association's, 'Community Wellbeing Board,' warned :  “Traditionally homelessness is associated with young people and it is a tragic fact that a person suffering homelessness lives to an average age of only 47. But we are facing a ticking time bomb in older homelessness, with an alarming rise in the number of older people becoming homeless. While the actual numbers are relatively low, at the current rate, this will spiral in just a few years."

As the 500 homeless old men bed down under tonight, many of them under the stars, they can take solace in the fact that a Government spokesperson has said : “Homelessness amongst older people has its particular challenges and we know how important it is that everybody has a secure home to call their own, as well as access to expert help and advice at times of need. That’s why we’re spending £550m until 2020 to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, as well as supporting the Homelessness Reduction Act. This will mean more people get the help they need and prevent them being homeless in the first place.”

Problem solved.

No comments:

Post a Comment