Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Mark Wadsworth blog
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Homelessness and the housing shortage

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

If you Google/Bing those phrases, you end up with lots of statements like this (from Crisis):

A shortage of homes and high rents both cause homelessness.

Statements like this have always struck me as fatuous, based on the most tenuous of links. They have both got to do with ‘housing’ but that’s about all.

For example, there are some people in the UK who have barely enough to cover the essentials, but do we exhort farmers, clothes manufacturers, power stations to produce more? Do we say that people can’t cover the cost of essentials because food, clothes, power prices are too high?

And while superficially a housing shortage causes high rents, what about all the vacant and derelict housing? If rents were even higher, wouldn’t the owners be motivated to get them done up and back on the market?

‘Homelessness’ clearly exists, it’s a serious issue, but it is difficult to define and there are endless categories and degrees. Rough sleepers are clearly homeless; then there are people on welfare who have been evicted and are living in temporary accommodation; people who are couch surfing at friends’ homes or who have moved back to their parents; tenants whose leases are about to expire who have to live with the stress of finding somewhere new sharpish; people sharing a flat who can’t stand each other any more etc etc.

Where exactly do you draw the line and say which people are truly homeless and which ones are on the other side of an arbitrary line? What about a youngster who has run away from home? Maybe their parents are violent shits who have more or less thrown them out (I’d consider them truly homeless), but what if they ran away from reasonably nice parents just to teach them a lesson (voluntarily homeless)?

And there are also endless reasons why somebody is in the mess they are in. There are the Ds: drugs, divorce, debt, dole. Ex-military and people who grew up in foster homes or care homes often struggle. There’s no point apportioning blame, there’s a sliding scale between ‘it’s your own fault’ and ‘that was a string of really unlucky events’. Girlfriends chuck out their boyfriends, people lose their jobs, people run up rent arrears etc. And once you have no fixed address (somewhere to shower and put on clean clothes), it’s difficult getting back into work to rustle up a rent deposit, get a fixed address etc in a vicious circle.

Given the infinite permutations of personal predicaments, does anybody really think that adding a few hundred thousand new dwellings every year would make a difference, or that all the ‘homeless’ would magically find somewhere to live if rents only came down by a few percent?

To sum up, these are social or personal issues and not really related to housing supply or rent levels at all. So the only solution is political i.e. build more social housing (always a good thing) for the hardship cases, regardless of their ability to pay.

Which would ameliorate things, but it’s a moving target. If the council says that anybody who has been homeless (as defined) for more than a certain period gets bumped up the priority list, then wouldn’t some people make themselves voluntarily homeless (as defined) for a period in order the jump the queue? That could lead to an apparent increase in the number of people who are officially homeless.

This is just something that has been bugging me for decades, all I can say is that the problem is huge and vague and that there are no easy answers (and I’m not offering any).


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.