National Homelessness News

October 2020

Prime Minister finally gives way to Marcus Rashford in a second u-turn on child food poverty. 

After weeks of increasing pressure, Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally gave way to calls from footballer Marcus Rashford and a number of charities to extend free school meals for children from low income families during future school holidays in England, 

The new government package on offer will include a £170 million Covid Winter grant scheme to support families in need and an extension of the holiday activities and food programme through next year’s Easter Summer and Christmas breaks.  

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October 2020

The businesses that stepped in to provide free meals for children

Across the UK thousands of café owners and other catering businesses listened to the appeal from football start Marcus Rashford and took up the challenge of feeding schoolchildren during the school holidays. The businesses stepped in to fill a gap left when the government voted down a motion to provide 1.4 million disadvantaged children in England with £15-a-week food vouchers during half-terms and holidays until Easter 2021 

The volunteer group All Of Us Together has created an interactive map of all the businesses offering meals.  It said at least 20,026 meals were provided by 411 organisations in the first few days of the week. 

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October 2020

One million people sign Rashford’s petition to end child poverty

The England and Manchester United footballer’s petition is one of just five parliamentary petitions to have drawn a million signatures. It calls on the government to extend access to free school meals, to provide meals and activities during holidays and to expand the healthy start scheme for young mothers on benefits. The success of the petition is increasing pressure on the government to rethink its position. 

Labour’s shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds said  “It’s unbelievable that this government would refuse to provide food to the country’s poorest children at the height of the pandemic”

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October 2020

This is what it’s like to stay in a ‘high risk homeless hostel’

A systematic review just published by the Centre for Homelessness Impact shows that accommodation interventions which include high-levels of support are more successful in terms of both housing stability and health outcomes. It also shows that the most basic types of accommodation could be worse for individuals than providing no intervention at all.

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September 2020

Former addict’s ‘illegal’ van for safer drug use in Glasgow hailed as ‘lifesaving’

With the drugs death rate in Scotland three times higher than that in any other EU country, and with the majority of fatalities occurring in Glasgow, former addict Peter Krykant decided to take action. He set up a mobile drug consumption facility in the city, operating out of a van. Now, despite technically being in breach of the law he has been praised for his crucial service by users and also by local SNP MP Alison Thewliss.

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September 2020

Former addict’s ‘illegal’ van for safer drug use in Glasgow hailed as ‘lifesaving’

With the drugs death rate in Scotland three times higher than that in any other EU country, and with the majority of fatalities occurring in Glasgow, former addict Peter Krykant decided to take action. He set up a mobile drug consumption facility in the city, operating out of a van. Now, despite technically being in breach of the law he has been praised for his crucial service by users and also by local SNP MP Alison Thewliss.

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September 2020

Tenants facing harassment and violence from landlords despite evictions the ban.

Although the government extended its ban on evictions, new figures from the charity Safer Renting reveal that  harassment and illegal evictions have almost tripled in parts of the capital’s shadow rental market since lockdown began on 23rd March.

Roz Spencer, director of Safer Renting explains “We regularly see tenants threatened or coming home to find the locks changed and belongings dumped on the street.”

Nationally, data from Citizens Advice shows a 95%  increase in people asking for help with illegal evictions between the end of March and end of July, compared with the same period in 2019.  

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September 2020

Renters living in some Covid-19 lockdown areas may avoid eviction during the lockdown. 

Court proceedings for evictions are due to resume in England and Wales on the 21st of September, having been suspended earlier in the pandemic. However the housing secretary Robert Jenrick, MP  has confirmed that in any area experiencing a local lockdown which includes a restriction on gatherings in homes, evictions will not be enforced by bailiffs until the lockdown has been eased.  He also announced there would be a ‘truce’ on enforcement over Christmas apart from in cases involving domestic abuse or anti social behaviour

August 2020

Woman living in ‘extreme poverty’ found dead next to her one year old child.

A 34 year old Ugandan mother died in her flat on the Southside of Glasgow after becoming destitute when she lost her job. Mercy Baguma’s leave to remain in the country had expired and she was having to rely on donations from charities and friends to feed herself and her baby son. The one year old was found by his mother’s side. He was suffering from malnutrition and needed hospital treatment. Mercy has been described as “an amazing mother, sister, best friend and friend, loved by all.” 

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August 2020

Homeless charity handing out phones as part of a connectivity drive. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of technology and digital connectivity to homeless people as a key survival need. With the lockdown leading to the closure of walk-in services including council offices and job centres the ability to make contact using the internet or telephone has never been greater. In response, the homelessness charity Crisis is issuing thousands of devices and data packages. 

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