Street Link failing to help homeless people?

Feature image from Wikimedia

London is notorious for its homelessness because of the lack of affordable housing. Welfare reforms and benefit cuts are a nation-wide issue, especially in London as people are struggling to pay high rents.

On Wednesday night, pulling into Wembley Park tube station, a man was asleep across the seats. Nothing peculiar at first, but looking closer, his arm was in a cast, his head had been cut open, a can of beer hung loosely from his hand. He was surely not okay.

After attempting to talk to a woman working for TFL, who seemingly did not want to help, the next step was to contact Street Link– a non-profit organisation that apparently helps the homeless. On the phone they ask for his phone number, considering the man didn’t have a place to call home, how would they expect him to have a phone? Alas, they were unable to help, so off we went to get food. Martin began crying. Martin, a 50-year-old man cried, over a burger. This isn’t right.

The growing number of homeless people in London is becoming dangerous. According to Streets of London over 8,000 people slept rough in London throughout 2015-2016. More than doubling over the past five years. Although there are numerous charities and shelters trying to tackle the problem, it seems that they are unable to keep up with the rising demands and the government are unwilling to support them.

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Homelessness has more than doubled over the past five years. Credit: Leanne Hall     Source: Crisis

A spokesman from Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people said “The best thing to do would be to ring Street Link who can help find the person shelter.” But what if Street Link can’t help? “They should come out and meet them, but there is a high demand that is difficult to keep up with. We advise people to find other local charities but there isn’t a huge amount that can be done.”

Crisis are currently pushing the Homelessness reduction bill, which has been debated in The House of Lords today, and passed. This means that local councils will have to supports single homeless people, this bill could transform homelessness across the country.

Street Link have responded by saying that there must have been some confusion as they do not require a mobile number for a referral and that the outreach service is not an immediate service due to the number of referrals they receive. However, as the main outreach service in London Street Link have a responsibility to answer every call.

Next week, Connie Ball will reveal how she helps the homeless as a student in Winchester by starting a soup kitchen, and gives advice on how you can too.

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