How many homeless people? How many empty properties? Why? Find out, right now!
About 1 in 200 people are homeless in the UK. Think about that. No, really think about that!
If you work in a medium-sized business, which is most of you, chances are at least one of your colleagues does not go home at night, they go to a bench, under a bridge or, if they are ‘lucky’, ‘sofa surf’.
Why and how can this be the case?
The UK is the 5th wealthiest nation on the planet with a GDP of over $3 trillion. Yet, according to Shelter, there are over 280,000 people who do not have their own roof over their head. The establishment argument for doing nothing substantive about homelessness in the UK is cost. Whilst on the face of it, this assertion is clearly absurd, a simple Google search shows cost is not a barrier to providing homes for the homeless.
According to the Ministry of Housing, as of October 2019, there were c. 650,000 empty homes. Of those, nearly 250,000 had been empty for longer than six months! This seems to be a solution staring us in the face.
So, why is it not used?
Despite its own figures, the government claim that there are not enough vacant homes to solve the problem. In an interview with the BBC, the government claimed that the ‘200,000 long-term empty homes’ were not enough to tackle the problem.
If we take the government at face value, and there’s no reason to do so, as the data shows, instead of being able to house nearly 70% of our homeless straight away, the government chooses the status quo. This is an argument for doing nothing until the entire problem is solved! Instead of providing the bare minimum for its populace, HMG protects wealthy ‘investors’ who buy up properties and leave them empty to make financial gains.
The unwanted step-child of an argument that cohabits the awful notion that human beings are not entitled to a secure place to live is based on property rights.
Unless you own land and property, then you are not entitled to anywhere to live. There is no security, no roof over your head, nothing for you or your family to build a life from.
This is an argument for wealth being necessary for human existence!
‘Sorry, but if you don’t have wealth I’m afraid you can’t have a staple of life, shelter!’
Without inheriting it, how is it possible for a human to accumulate wealth before they exist? It isn’t!
Capitalism has taken us to the point that just about everything is commodified, land; food; shelter; YOU!
For humans to survive, they require air, food, water and shelter. Take a moment and apply the argument of property rights, ‘It’s mine, I can do what I like with it’, to water or air!
Would an Environmental Resources Developer, as surely they will call themselves, be allowed to and get away with saying:
‘I own the water and air. Whatever I want you to give me or do for me, you will.
You have no choice…unless you wish to suffer terminal dehydration or choke to death!’
Would they be allowed to get away with implementing it?
I’m not certain, but if history informs our present, there’s no reason to think they won’t try!
Second homes, holiday homes and ‘buy to let’ are a large part of the problem. They are not the whole problem but legislation to curb these insidious practices would go a long way to allowing people the dignity of their own home.
What can we do?
Contact your MP and demand to know what they are doing to help the homeless in your constituency.
Never contacted your MP before? No problem. Follow this link to writetothem.com and you will find out who your representatives are, including your MP, and they make it so simple to write to them.
Both Shelter and Crisis are at the forefront of fighting for those in our society who are homeless. Both these fantastic organisations have multiple campaigns which can be found at:
Social pressure to bring about just legislation is a powerful tool. Take to all the platforms you have, share articles, like this, pass on the links and make a noise!
This is a hard and ongoing fight, but the fight to help our neighbours who are homeless is necessary. There are many facets to the harm that homelessness does, the way that it is manifest, who it affects and why. The criminalisation of people because they have to sleep rough, the vastly increased risk of those ‘rough sleepers’ being violently assaulted, physical and mental health issues fuelled by insecurity and vulnerability, are just some of the many parts of the shameful story of homelessness in the UK.
This piece is just one of many that will cover the full, disgraceful picture, outlined above, that tells us the real state of society in the UK.
Help us continue the fight!
Check back here at https://creatingsocialism.org/ for more in this series. My Party Political Puffin content has this and much more social commentary through a left-wing lens (links below)
If you got some value from this piece or any of the work I do here and on my outlets (see below), please help me keep producing them by contributing to Party Political Puffin at any of the following links.
It is only your support that keeps the work alive. Thank you 🙂
If you liked the piece, you can find much more social commentary, politics, philosophy and many other topics that shape the society we live in. Join me at some of the platforms below. I really hope to see you again. Thanks.
Hi. I am Dave Elliott. I have been deeply interested and invested in politics as far back as I can remember and have been a Socialist since I was approximately seven years old. What a weird and creepy kid, right?
Despite being told that I would ‘grow up and out of’ my left leanings, I have moved further left over time. It has been this journey that led me to understand that my efforts within electoral and party politics were making little if any difference to the material lives of my community and society.
It was this realisation that gave me the kick I needed to make more direct contributions at the grassroots. The creation of the YouTube channel, Party Political Puffin and the associated website have been a way to communicate with Comrades on the left and challenge those on the right.
Whilst writing on a number of other platforms has been cathartic, being part of Critical Mass has opened the door to a place where I meet those that are so committed to each other and the wider movement that it can only inspire me and us all. It is my pleasure, and with pride that I am part of the Critical Mass writing team.
Whilst video production and writing articles are my passion, I still have to pay the bills. If you get value from any of my work please consider a Party Political Puffin membership on Patreon. Alternatively, if a one-off contribution suits you better, please take a look at my PayPal. Thank you for your support.