The recent fire in Grenfell Tower has left hundreds of people homeless, many of whom have no where else to go. Theresa May has been criticised for her lukewarm response to this tragedy, interacting with few of those affected and initially providing little substantial aid.
The government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire raises worrying questions about its commitment to supporting the homeless. The recent election of 8th June saw pledges by all the major parties to help reduce and prevent homelessness within the UK. The Conservatives, amongst other things, committed to implementing the Homelessness Reduction Act, producing a million homes by 2020, and–ambitiously–to end homelessness entirely by 2027. (See the manifesto pledges relating to homelessness for all three major parties here). In spite of these apparently benevolent intentions, however, if the government’s slow response to the homeless victims of the Grenfell Tower fire is indicative of their wider response to homelessness, it is imperative that individuals seek to prevent homelessness within their own communities on a local scale.
With rough sleeping throughout the UK increasing rapidly every year, it is essential that action is taken before more individuals find themselves out on the streets. For those who live in London, the #homelesshack event from 23rd-24th June will tackle the common myth that there is nothing you can do. The event is an ideal way to learn exactly how you can help, both from experts and from brainstorming with like-minded people. If you can’t make that date, consider taking part in the Sleep Out: Sleep Out events take place across the country, and aim to make people aware of the reality of sleeping rough, whilst raising money for the young people who do so. If there isn’t a Sleep Out in your community, consider organising your own!
Homelessness has an impact on the mental well-being, job prospects, and physical health of individuals. No society as wealthy as ours should accept an increase in homelessness from year to year. Get involved in one of the above events, and make it clear to our government that we will not stand for the homeless being ignored.
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