National Audit Office (NAO) report released in September 2017, shows there is a sharp rise in homelessness over the last 5 years resulting in a cost of approximately £1 billion per year to local authorities. The issue has been brought into the public eye with the help of philanthropic celebrities forming homeless hotels and subsidised housing estates; including Russel Brand who has requested individuals to sign his petition to help homeless as a perfect wedding present for Prince Harry.
Royal Wedding causing a debate with the Homeless
In preparation for the Royal Wedding in Windsor this year, it was requested by the Windsor and Maidenhead Council leader Simon Dudley that the police crackdown on “aggressive begging”. This has sparked controversy and debate in regards to cleansing the visual problem of #homelessness for tourists planning to attend the area this year.
The wedding is estimated to increase tourism and spending, it seems to be considered appropriate that the already vulnerable homeless people will be the ones sacrificed in the name of keeping up appearances and promoting this tourism. But where will they go? It is disheartening to hear that those elected to represent their community have opted to treat their homeless constituents like chewing gum blasted from pavement.
Fortunately, a petition has been launched by Brand for Slough local authority to donate a building to the charity in the name of the Royal Wedding, in a bid to aid the homeless and those to be affected by this event. Having obtained over 147,000 signatures and counting it must be deliberated what more can be done to support the homeless without the excuse of a wedding.
More for the homeless
It is apparent in light of these statistics that more effort needs to be made to address key issues with #ukhousing such as cuts to housing benefit and increasing private sector rents.
It is therefore suggested that the government invest more in the costs of preventing homelessness in opposition as opposed to simply incurring costs in hiding an increasing problem that cannot be ignored.