I was delighted to attend the launch earlier this week of homelessness charity, Crisis’ new research into the treatment of single homeless people by local authorities. The research was carried out by people who had formerly experienced homelessness themselves “mystery shopping” 16 local authorities in England to check the quality of advice and assistance they provide to single homeless people. Crisis found that, while in 37 out of 87 visits, applicants were given adequate advice and assistance, in the remaining 50 they were not. Most of those were in London.
The report was introduced by Crisis’ new Chief Executive, John Sparkes, and MPs from each of the main three political parties set out their response to its findings. But it was formerly homeless, “Danielle” who stole the show. In a powerful presentation, she set out not only the difficulties she had in getting council officers to properly assess her situation, but the slew of jibes and negative comments she endured at their hands. On one occasion, she was told to go and ask a group of men hanging around outside the offices if she could stay with them. Continue reading