It has been a lousy, cold, wet and windy winter so far, and though we are one of the richest countries in the world, we still have people sleeping rough in our towns and cities. There are two methods local authorities assess the number of rough sleepers in their area. One is by a count, the other is to estimate, most local authorities estimate, rather than count, so it is obvious that the figures can't be 100% accurate.
What we can be sure of is that there are far to many people having to face the winter on the streets of our country. The 2012 autumn figures for England, gathered by these methods was 2,309, an increase of 6% on the previous year, which was a massive increase 23% on 2010 figures. London, that city where the streets are "paved in gold", has the highest number of rough sleepers in the country, and there, like the rest of the country the figure is climbing. The figure for London Autumn 2012 was 24% of the total rough sleepers in England, 557.
Scotland is no different, according to figures from the report, Operation of The Homeless Persons legislation in Scotland, we have 1,737 people sleeping rough. The Glasgow Winter Night Shelter has been running through the winter months since 2010, It was the severe winter of 2010 that prompted some of the leading charities and voluntary organisations to set up the shelter. During that vicious winter it provided accommodation on approximately 2,000 occasion.
Edinburgh is the Scottish city with most rough sleepers, last year's figure was 363, while Dundee had 97.
In a country, that as a norm, suffers dreadful winters, with long dark nights, and weather from bitterly cold to extremely wet and cold, sleeping rough just shouldn't happen, no matter the circumstances that brought the individual to that position. Sufficient facilities should be in place and well publicised to make sure nobody faces the winter trying to find shelter. Just another aspect of a system that has bankers and accounts shaping our society.