As winter sets in and we venture outdoors to shop and meet friends in warm cafes it is hard not to notice those people left behind, struggling to survive on the streets. Over the course of this year we have been greatly saddened to see a persistent rise in the number of people who are without a home locally, and across the UK. In 2015 there were an estimated 22 people considered street homeless in the B&NES area (not accounting for the much larger number of hidden homeless; those living in shelters, temporary accommodation, and on friend’s sofas). In 2016 this figure rose to 25 people and the latest stats for 2017 show 34. Since 2010 the national count of rough sleepers has increased by a staggering 132 per cent. A recent report by the charity Shelter stated that 1 in every 490 people in the South West is now homeless.
The demographics of homelessness are also shifting, as Channel 4 reports. More families are living in temporary accommodation today than during the economic crisis, wherein 128,000 children were without a permanent home this Christmas. People younger than 25 are increasingly at risk and seeking help from local councils. At Lifeline, our daily drop-in centre, we have seen an eight-fold increase in requests for support from people who are at risk of eviction and struggling with accessing benefits.
The reasons for these worrying trends are many, and often involve a complex mix of issues. This year at Genesis Trust we have supported a huge number of disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our community and have been helped by many supporters. We have provided basic resources for people such as food and clothing, and once re-housed, furniture. We have offered one-to-one advice sessions to help people move forward in their lives and signposted them to other local services.
Our principle mission is to see an end to homelessness in Bath and to equip people with the skills needed to make positive changes in their lives. We will continue to do this in the face of the challenges ahead and will make every effort to improve the situations of those most in need for the future. For more information on the services that we offer please click here.
To read the reports referenced please see the following links: