In the last few months Team MoH has been busy recording the names and stories of those who die homeless. Below is a transcript of Jess Turtle’s statement made today at the start of Evidence Week in the House of Commons.
The Museum of Homelessness was set up 5 years ago by people affected by homelessness in response to this crisis. Our Dying Homeless project, taken on from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism this year documents and remembers all those who have died, in all four nations of the UK so often before their time, due to homelessness.
If this is about evidence, I’m here today to say we have the evidence. More than enough. Statistics on deaths collated by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Museum of Homelessness and figures collected by the ONS all point to a significant and avoidable homelessness crisis.
What will it take for MPs and policy makers to respond meaningfully?
Today, the government made a statement about funding an increase in beds and specialist staff in response to evidence that the local authorities with the most significant cuts have the highest number of deaths.
This response will not reverse almost a decade of austerity which the evidence so clearly shows has caused this crisis. It will not bring back those we have lost. It is nowhere near enough. We also know that this is one of the top issues that constituents write to their MPs about. The country is angry about the amount of people who are becoming homeless.
Why won’t politicians respond properly to this evidence by reversing the austerity policies that are causing the crisis?
£100 m has so far been given towards ending rough sleeping in 2018 and 2019. To put this into context, there have been £16 billion worth of cuts to local authorities during this administration. £100 million is a drop in the ocean. To respond properly to the mounting evidence of a humanitarian crisis, we must end austerity, reform the private rental sector and build council housing. MPs must make sure that their policy is informed by our (those of us on the grounds) evidence and must hold the government’s feet to the fire.