Helen Barnard is Research Programme Manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), the social research policy charity of Quaker origins.
The JRF conducts a range of research into welfare issues, and created the MIS, the Minimum Income Standard, estimating what is an adequate income based on what the public believe to be minimum living standards.
The spare bedroom tax: a mess of contradiction and impossibility | John Harris – And what of the chronic shortage of smaller properties in such places as Hartlepool? In response to this question, I get a remarkable reply: despite the fact that the same statement bemoans people living "in homes that are too large for their needs", it also acknowledges that "most people will not move" and claims that "there are other options available such as taking up employment, increasing hours worked or taking in a lodger".
The Guardian’s Randeep Ramesh reports today on the use of bed and breakfasts to house families beyond the legal time limit of six weeks.
The national picture is that half of the 242 authorities who responded had placed homeless families in private accommodation for more than 6 weeks since April 2010. But what’s your local picture?
A good first stop is your local authority’s expenditure above £500. To find this, try a search like ‘expenditure 500 site:bolton.gov.uk‘ – but replace the last bit with your own local authority’s website (excluding the www.).
Less than 300 days left till the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The clock is ticking, but not only for the international sport event. Rough sleeping should also have its days counted – in theory.
In November 2008 the British government launched a £200m strategy to end homelssness in London by 2012, including a more “compassionate” approach towards rough sleepers. Three years on, how close are we to achieving that goal, and is there enough compassion in the way the homeless are being treated?
Kristina Khoo, a journalist with an MA in International Journalism from Brunel University, has produced an investigative documentary (video below) looking into the government’s pledge to eliminate homelessness and the scepticism surrounding it.
Her investigation gives voice to grassroots charities and rough sleepers, who are not normally included into the government’s strategy. The documentary follows the journey of Mohammad, who has been rough sleeping on London buses for the past 10 years, and reveals some of the crude tactics employed to get the homeless off the streets.