Adam Chapman

Homelessness In Liverpool

I was inspired to write this piece after last night when a walk around town became an eye-opening experience.

As I’m sure you’re all very much aware, I’m currently based in Liverpool, a great city for me, small enough to have that community feel, but large enough that you’re not recognised by everyone on your way to Tesco. The Architecture is breathtaking in certain parts, the people are friendly beyond belief and are proud of where they call home. Honestly moving here just over a year ago was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my 25 years on this earth.

However, Liverpool does have its faults, as with any other place in the world, but one thing stands out. In 2 hours out and about the city I was approached and asked for money no less than 15 times, not one person asking me twice. How can this be the case in a prominent western city in 2018?

I’d like to think I’m a generous person, however, I’m not a rich person. If everytime I was to leave my house I was to give everyone who asked a pound I’d be as broke Oliver Twist within a week. It’s just incredibly upsetting and something that shouldn’t be happening.

Homelessness in Liverpool reached record numbers last year with national numbers increasing yearly. In fact, rough sleeping nationwide has grown a staggering 134% since 2010. Horrifyingly a homeless man in his 40s was found dead in a Liverpool City Centre gateway in January of 2017 after a night where temperatures fell below freezing. An awful and lonely way to leave this world and something that no one should be facing in the UK in 2018.

These are just the people we see on our way to work, to meet friends or nip to the shops.

It’s not just people who are sleeping on the street who are technically homeless. The rise in what is known as “Hidden Homeless” is reaching incredibly concerning levels. These numbers include those who are “Sofa Surfing” with friends and family, living day to day in hostels or who are constantly being moved about from accommodation. Families in temporary accommodation rose by 60% since 2011. SIXTY PERCENT!

According to Shelter at the end of 2017, one in every two hundred people are now technically homeless.

So what’s causing this sudden increase in people finding themselves with nowhere to live?

Well, there are a number of factors.

House prices and rent especially has risen constantly throughout the past 5 years. Anyone working will know that your money doesn’t seem to go as far as it once did. This also comes at a time where many peoples benefits have been cut dramatically. This alongside the 2015 announcement of a “four-year freeze” to housing benefit that was implemented in April of 2016 is slowly pricing people out of a basic human right to shelter.

The argument of “just get a job” doesn’t apply here, it’s an archaic and disgusting attitude. The job market right now, to put it lightly…it’s a honking great pile of shite! Unemployment numbers are unbelievably high with basic positions having on average between 50-100 applicants. Now, who are most employers going to accept, the person who’s got a stable address and work experience for the past few years or the person who’s fallen on hard times of late?

As previously mentioned, even with a job, a minimum wage job, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to support yourself or a family as everything is on the rise. You just have to look at the age-old argument of the price of Freddos, anyone else remember when they were 10p? I swear to god I saw a place selling them for 50p last year. All little increases but they all add up. When people are having to choose between eating or heating then surely that shows a society is failing its most vulnerable.

So what is being done to help?

The honest answer is not enough.

It’s all well and good the Government putting policies into place such as the Homelessness reduction act that requires councils to actively look to lower numbers of homeless people in their area, but if you’re then also going to cut council funding it’s just a pointless act done for nothing other than covering your own backs.

Furthermore, the amount of homeless charities out there that have seen their funding cut by up to 50% just again acts against such acts. It’s giving with one hand and taking with the other. It’s despicable but totally expected under this Government.

I’m sure we’d all love to change the world but unfortunately, 99.99% of us are not in a position to do so.

If you do want to help even the tiniest bit then check the information down below.

You can help anyone you find sleeping rough by ringing 0300 123 2041 or emailing The Whitechapel Centre is Liverpool’s leading homeless and housing charity and can offer support services and help for anyone who finds themselves in such a dire situation. 

Such programs are ones like No Second Night Out that actively aims to prevent anyone spending more than one night on the streets.

That’s all for now, I don’t have the answer to solve this increasing issue in our soceity but then again it seems like those at the top don’t have a clue either.