Gary Bishop - CEO of Justlife - is often asked why he's so bothered about unsupported temporary accommodation and why it is such an important issue to address.Over the course of the next few weeks, Gary is going to lay out ten myths about UTA and what makes them untrue. If anything, we hope unpacking these myths will challenge existing narratives of UTA in order to create true change - but also practically, we hope that through this awareness we are also able to raise funds for the operational work of Justlife. At the end of each 'myth' will be a link to our Justgiving page.Please read. share. give.
Myth 1: "It's only a handful of people"
Do you know how many people in your town, city or county live in unsupported temporary accommodation? Probably not. Before you reach for your smart phone and start googling the Office of National Statistics don't waste your time because they don't know either. You will of course find some government statistics regarding B&B accommodation, hostels, private rented sector places but those working in homelessness will tell you that there is no credible or accurate data. Furthermore, our research shows that the situation is dire for the families and individuals living in this accommodation, with abhorrent social and environmental issues.
The last serious head count took place by Shelter in 1997. At the time the government statistics showed 7660 people officially placed in these places, but the reality showed 72,550. We estimate that with current government stats showing 6,680 (rising from 3820 in 2013) that the real figure is 75 - 100,000 people living in UTA, the figure could be even higher!Later this year, 20 years after the last count, we plan to conduct a new count in order to shed light on the scale of the problem and develop a mechanism for tracking the live data in a more effective way. This is increasingly important as the current trend is for more and more people living and becoming stuck in this type of accommodation.Supporting Justlife will help us to make real and lasting system change as well as providing frontline service to hundreds of people in need everyday.