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Showing posts from July, 2013

The Bullshit Detector: Investigating a report into homelessness amongst former armed forces personnel

The Bullshit Detector

The Bullshit Detector being an occasional investigation into stories associated with homelessness and social exclusion, with a view to establishing their accuracy and veracity

The July 2013 Bullshit Detector
‘Up to 9,000 British heroes who served Queen and country are homeless after leaving the military’
What’s the story?
On 21st July 2013 the Sunday Mirror ran a two-page campaign ‘exclusive’ on the plight of British services personnel leaving the armed forces. The piece was highly critical of the government, claiming the situation has got much worst under the Coalition and, in an accompanying leader, comparing the UK situation unfavourably with that in the United States.  
The article centred on two key statistics. Firstly that 1 in 10 rough sleepers ‘across the UK’ had been in the armed forces, with the clear implication being that these are British ex-services personnel who ‘fought on the frontline but now sleep in doorways, graveyards and parks, begging from the …

These are the worst scenes of street destitution we have seen for 30 years, so let's keep quiet about it

What a truly complex job outreach work with rough sleepers is nowadays. Occasionally I attend meetings of our street teams and listen with amazement at the intricacies of the issues they painstakingly seek to unravel. Frequently these involve complex immigration matters. I recently asked an outreach colleague what single thing would help her most in her work. She unhesitatingly responded, ‘rapid access to decent immigration advice’.

The profile of rough sleeping in Britain changed profoundly following the accession of eight central and eastern European countries to the European Union (EU) in 2004, a further two following in 2007.In London in 2005-6, central and eastern Europeans comprised just 6% of the rough sleeping population. The latest statistics (2012-13) show that this figure has risen to  28%. In total, 1772 different individuals from central and eastern Europe slept rough in London over the year.  Now 53% of London’s rough sleeping population are non-UK nationals. In some part…