Homelessness is part and parcel of this system of exploitation that we live under, a home is not seen as a basic right, but as a source of wealth creation for a handful of greedy individuals. Nor will the powers that be ever resolve the “housing crisis”, as that would interfere with the profitability of house building companies and developers. As long as there is a “scarcity” of houses, the price of buying and renting, will continue their upward surge, more profit for that brand of business. The so called housing problem is not a problem, it is a policy. Are our learned politicians sitting in the Westminster Houses of Hypocrisy and Corruption, telling us that there is not enough raw materials in the country to build enough houses, or are they saying we don't have the skills? We can build expensive abodes for those with deep pockets, we certainly can create opulence for the few, but are deemed incapable of creating decent houses for the many? Without the building of more homes for the ordinary people, people will obviously look to solve the “problem" by themselves. Our cities and towns are awash with empty premises, people are without homes, put the two together and we have a temporary solution, until we can take control of our own society, and create that basic right of all, a decent place to lay your head.
Squatters of London Action Paper (SLAP!) is a new London freesheet for squat news, actions, history and events. Paper copies soon available at Freedom Bookshop in Whitechapel and 56a Infoshop in Elephant and Castle. (Read Slap! First issue pdf)www.radicalglasgow.me.uk
At worst, homelessness can mean sleeping rough on the streets.
Government statistics show 2,744 people slept rough in England on any one night during 2014 - a 55 per cent rise on 2010
Local agencies report 7,581 people slept rough in London alone throughout 2014/15 - A 16 per cent rise on the previous year, and more than double the figure of 3,673 in 2009/10 However, the problem of homelessness is much bigger than that of rough sleeping.
More on rough sleeping
112,330 households applied to their local authority for homelessness assistance in 2014/15, a 26 per cent rise since 2009/10.
The vast majority of single homeless people who are not entitled to housing, as well as those who, for a variety of reasons do not even apply for homelessness assistance, end up surviving out of sight.
Many stay in hostels and there are just over 38,500 be spaces in hostels for single homeless people in England but there are other ways to get by. This might mean staying in squats or B&Bs, in overcrowded accommodation or ‘concealed' housing, such as the floors or sofas of friends and family.
If you do not qualify for local authority housing assistance, if you are sleeping rough, staying in a hostel, a squat or some other form of unsatisfactory or insecure accommodation, then you are one of the countless thousands of hidden homeless people.
More on hidden homelessness More on hostel accommodation More on squatting