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HOMELESSNESS IN THE UK

Homelessness in the UK has reached a new high since the outbreak of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Thousands upon thousands of people in the UK, especially young adults, have been left out on the street. The COVID 19 pandemic has pushed young citizens who are already struggling with the financial crisis over the brink. Over 90 thousand people in the UK face the risk of becoming homeless and at least half of them are already sleeping rough.

The living condition of these rough sleepers can be a danger to their physical and mental health due to the lack of the bare necessities of life. Also, compared to an average person, these young homeless people are more likely to commit suicide and face other health risks as a result of drug use caused by depression.

Furthermore, with the massive increase in the rate of unemployment, most families are struggling financially and are unable to pay their bills and most times even go to sleep hungry, however, they continue to suffer in silence as they are too ashamed to ask for help.

Based on the data from charity homes, a new group of homeless people have gone unnoticed despite the governments’ “Everyone In” program and ban on eviction policy which was aimed towards housing the homeless during the COVID 19 pandemic.

The majority of these homeless people are young adults who have lost their jobs, especially those who work in the hospitality sector (restaurants, hotels, theme parks, coffee shops), these young people are struggling financially, and have no protection from the eviction ban due to their unstable living arrangements.

Although many charities across the UK are working relentlessly to curb homelessness and assist homeless people (on a local and national level) younger people are falling through the crack. Now, more people are being laid off work in the second wave of lockdown and are facing the risk of being homeless.

With more people becoming homeless safety measures and practising social distancing in homeless shelters is nearly impossible, therefore these homeless people face a double threat from harsh cold winter and transmission of coronavirus from living in cramped places.

HEALTH CONDITIONS OF THE HOMELESS

Homelessness and poor living condition can trigger mental health problems such as depression and stress which often leads to the use of drugs, also, rough sleepers are prone to physical hazards due to the unhealthy sleeping arrangement. Another consequence of being homeless is violence on the street (which contributes to over 440 death record of homeless people in a year) and the lack of access to health services many homeless people suffer from.

HOW CAN YOU HELP THE HOMELESS THIS WINTER?

There is never a good time to be homeless, but winter is the hardest period for the rough sleepers, the importance of providing shelter and warmth for them cannot be overly emphasised. Although the charities and the government are working to help provide shelter and support to the homeless people, the funding might not be enough to go around.

Your donation of £50 can provide someone with warmth and comfort, also donating clean blankets, beddings and clothes (socks too) to shelters close to you can go a long way to making shelter homes more warm and conducive for the homeless when the temperature falls below freezing points.

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