Sunday, 1 June 2014
Secret Hidden Homelessness.
It’s a tragic, hideous, inevitable, and scandalous but sure and certain fact that homelessness is rising everywhere.
Paradoxically, the causes are both simple and complex: there is a straightforward lack of homes with scant new building, in some areas of high demand rents are rising and those on no/low pay (even anyone on moderate wages) can’t cover their rent. Then we have the tyranny of no fault and revenge evictions, coupled with both the bedroom tax and the benefit cap.
It all adds to desperate people with nowhere to live, and to councils without council housing to place even those in need. There’s more to this than the ultimate, abject misery of rooflessness. There are many vulnerable people who are just about clinging on by their fingertips to having a roof over their head, with many, varied groups who live under the constant threat of being turfed out; in constant danger having nowhere safe to go:
1. Adult children outstaying their welcome, certain that the next row or even disagreement could see them shown t he door.
2. People whose relationship is over, but who are stuck in one home when they cannot afford to separate and each find somewhere new to live.
3. Tenants aware that their rentier (or so-called ‘forced landlord’) who couldn’t sell when in negative equity is itching to sell up and give them notice asap. They might only discover this when people call to ‘view’ their home. They will be given two months notice.
4. Those who gratefully endure a punitive, grinding chain of perpetual sofa-surfing, house-sitting, returning to stay with family at weekends or when work is slow and bleak, but who cannot present to local authorities as homeless due to having no local connection or insufficient ‘priority need.’
5. Homeowners who are behind with the mortgage, and who try so hard to keep up with agreements to pay the backlog but who are just not earning enough. They will wait until the day the bailiffs arrive and the stress is crippling.
6. Those who know they can be bedroom-taxed when their adult child leaves home, but who can’t downsize.
7. Tenants in areas of high demand (especially London) who read property sites in terror, bracing themselves for the horrendous rises in rents and house prices, keenly aware that their home is not a home but an asset to be sold on to the highest bidder whenever possible. There is no such thing as a sitting tenant in these circumstances anymore. They’ll be out in two months.
8. People who work on short term contracts with insecure jobs and low precarious pay, who know that few bad weeks will put them behind.
They’re not quite homeless. Not yet homeless. Not yet out on the street. But inevitably they will be out. A home is a right not a privilege. So just imagine how difficult daily life is, for the worried people who make up this enormous social group: pity the soon to be homeless.