Johnny Void here points out another serious issue, which would otherwise go unnoticed. Unfortunately, he is right about the terrible conditions in some homeless hostels. The New York municipal shelter system in the 1980s was closed down and effectively privatised because of the violence and drug use amongst some residents. When Bristol Uni’s archaeology department ran a project on the archaeology of homelessness in Bristol, one of the project’s founders stated that one of the city’s hostels was actually so bad that one of the homeless people involved in the project actually moved out rather than stay there. As for altering benefits in order to force residents into such accommodation, you can see why both the DWP and the homeless charities will approve of it. The charities will get more money, while the DWP will use it to take homeless people of the streets. It will make them invisible, and so give the impression that homelessness has been solved. In the meantime, the sanctions system will lead to more people starving to death. It is also likely to lead to a massive increase in violent crime as people with absolutely no alternative source of income are forced to rob and steal simply to survive. Not that this will bother Cameron and Osborne, as they live in the leafy villages far from the urban centres affected by homelessness.
I also wonder whether these policies are deliberately designed to kill the homeless. In the 1990s during the war in Bosnia, extreme Rightists in Latin America took ethnic cleansing and decided to apply it to the social undesirables in their countries. They called it ‘social cleansing’. As an example, one of the British broadcasters showed footage of a tramp in Colombia being murdered by Fascist thugs on the street. Given the way a sizable segment of the present Tory party seems to have had links the Nazi right, would anyone be surprised if the Tories had cheered when the footage of this atrocity was shown, and thought it would be a good idea here in Blighty?
The homelessness industry is today welcoming an upcoming change in the law which could see homeless people forced to live in unsuitable or unsafe accommodation or face losing eligibility for benefits.
Homeless Link and St Mungo’s Broadway have published a gushing press release cheering amendments to the rules for Jobseeker’s Allowance set to come into force next month. The changes mean that newly homeless people may only be considered meeting the criteria for benefits if they take “such steps as are reasonable for him (sic) to take to find living accommodation.”
Homeless people will have an easement of jobseeking requirements if they follow these conditions, but this will usually only last four weeks, despite the average length of hostel stays being significantly longer than that. The minimum length of stay in one of St Mungo’s Central London hostels is eight weeks, with most residents staying an average of six…
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