The issue of homelessness is growing more and more every year in England. As the number of homeless people has increased by 14% from last year, it can be seen that it is an effect of the ever-growing unemployment rates due to the effects of the double dip recession. This is supported by the fact that homelessness has been depreciated since 2003 until 2010 where there was a small increase in homelessness. All over parts of England; unemployment rates have been increasing. The United Kingdom and more in particular England should be a place where people work together for economic prosperity; this is reflected by one of the purposes of the European Union. Countries like Norway have had a very low homelessness rate for years as they may have managed to tackle their problem which is what I aim to see in England. People across England as I too have seen homeless people continue to suffer while they go about their own lives and will find it tragic once they die one cold winter night. More concerning is that many other youth could be kicked out of their homes and unemployed due to a bad upbringing in a flash at this rate. Well I, a concerned citizen believes this shouldn’t happen and needs to be tackled as other people wouldn’t like to see people suffer like this for a long period in their lives in a country that should give them equal opportunities; a human right.
Our group determined that it was essential to ask citizens of an older age including teachers from our school to see if they agreed with our perspective of homelessness in High Wycombe. We have managed to conduct primary research to uncover some results. The forms of primary research we have conducted are surveys and interviews.
Prior to analysis of results gained from our primary research, we have discovered that 67% of people feel strongly about tackling homelessness in England. From this, we have thought that supporting the homeless and tackling homelessness are two different issues. The majority felt more strongly that supporting/tackling the problem of homelessness was more important than supporting them. My reaction was good as people had really thought about the two issues and had felt strongly about them which have drawn me to think about what issue should be addressed more formally. This has also been useful in the way that the problem is more highlighted and could become a higher priority to attend to.
An interview was arranged with our local MP about his own views about homelessness in Britain and more in particular England. He expressed strong feelings about the idea of how homelessness is affecting more people in Britain and how much it will affect their lives.
Other efforts are important in my eyes to see what a group have done or are doing to tackle homelessness. Oxfam is one of the biggest and well known groups we found which is a pressure group as well as a charity. Oxfam are in support of helping people in poverty in the United Kingdom by working with the people that are in poverty to improve their lives and by working with policy makers to tackle the causes of poverty. I believe that it is important that our campaign is involved with Oxfam because they are very well known and more people will hear about our campaign as well as Oxfam being a pressure group and having some of the same sort of ideas as us. Another organisation, Save the Children is passionate about tackling child poverty as we are.
The most recent act we have found is the Child Poverty Act that was passed in March 2010. This act had legally made the government into a commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020. We were pleased to find out that local authorities in England now co-operate with local partners to produce a needs assessment of poverty in their area and that they also develop strategies to end this as well as local authorities now involve children, family and young people in the process.
Survey results from the national Homes Campaign of 100,000 homes were leased this year. A report has said that 57 volunteers had administered surveys in the Orange County. What was distressing was that 29 of those 57 interviewed were identified as medically vulnerable – this means that they had spent over 6 months homeless and that all of these people had at least one serious health condition as well as the percentage showing this is in keeping with national findings. Again, I think all of this is very bad and serious and shouldn’t be happening across Britain.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP has said that all past policies have failed in relation to child poverty. He said that ‘There has never been a more pressing need for fundamental radical reform and we will waste no time acting.’ This means that it is a waste of time and that he is strongly against it. However, I believe that his mind could be changed when it is proven that the child poverty rates are announced and other surveys such as the national Homes Campaign are conducted which suggest on huge improvements towards child poverty making the act itself not a waste of time.
The primary research we have conducted and secondary research obtained supports that a lot of people are in favour of slowly eradicating these problems. I think that this is heavily supported by the Child Poverty Act that was passed in 2010 shows this. As well as this, the Child Poverty Act itself had stated that child poverty should be ‘eradicated’ by 2020.
The Wycombe Youth Council is an organisation in our town. Tom Pike MYP (Member of Youth Parliament) for High Wycombe attends a formal meeting every 2-4 weeks in the Wycombe Youth Council. By partaking in a formal council meeting, we can then introduce our problem and why the problem should be tackled. Hopefully, the MYP can put this problem forward and support us which would lead to more support for us and would lead to more people understanding this problem. Effectively, he would be a voice for us. With more support we could then continue our campaign with finding ways to help tackle homelessness and then we could pressurise the Government in some ways. Involving the community with other youth and parents to help develop ways to tackle homelessness could be a great part in the process of helping create acts such as the Child Poverty Act as well as helping pressurise the Government. However, this can only be done with a massive amount of support which we wish to gain.
I think that for our campaign to work we must intervene by sharing our attention on all the different stages of society. What I mean by this is that everyone needs to know just how big and deep this problem is that is facing our society today and how worse it could be in the future if we don’t attempt to actually tackle homelessness within Britain. I think that everyone needs to be involved to help tackle this problem in their own small ways as it is very huge.
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