The top ten myths of UTA: the eighth myth

Myth 8 – it’s the cheapest way to house homeless people

Like me you’ll have noticed that homelessness is rising, there are more people visibly living on the streets of Brighton than there were 5 years and on my frequent trips to up north I can say the same is true of Manchester. National statistics suggest that the housing crisis is tightening its grip on those who are most vulnerable, too many have already tragically died. It truly is a crisis.

So what is our response to homelessness? We place people in unsupported temporary or emergency accommodation for unspecified amounts of time; this is a service which some landlords will charge out at £250-£350 per week. With an estimated 100,000 vulnerable people living in this accommodation across the UK you can quickly calculate that- even at the lower rate we are racking up a bill of well over £1bn per year. Add to this the cost of treating the often lifelong physical and mental health conditions which are exacerbated during a stay in these places and you are looking at an unfathomable financial consequence of using our country’s current approach to homelessness.

And at the end of a year when we have spent well over a billion pounds placing people in substandard, unsafe accommodation which has such a devastating affect on their future prospects there will be no audit, no evaluation of how the money was spent, no outcome reporting, no accountability for the approach we have taken.The books will be closed on one year and another book will be opened and we’ll repeat the process for another 12 months. There is no plan, no strategy at all, but to keep pouring billions of pounds into the pockets of private landlords to provide a service which everyone knows is damaging to individuals, families and communities.

Together we can do better than this.

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.