Shelter has a very annoying indeed habit of claiming vast numbers – 320,000 today – of homeless people when in fact this is the number of people that we’ve saved from being homeless through the useful trick of having a welfare state. The correct response to this sort of lie is for us to be shouting “Bulls**t!” at the top of our voices until Shelter changes its ways and starts reporting upon reality. Not that they will however loudly we scream for they’re a charity which gains funding from the fact that there is indeed homelessness. The more there is the larger their budget and we’ll not get a man to recognise reality if his income depends upon not doing so.
Still, this is indeed that bulls**t:
News Daily: ‘One in 200’ homeless
One in every 200 Britons is either sleeping rough or living in temporary accommodation, such as hostels and B&Bs. The charity Shelter says this amounts to 320,000 people recorded as homeless in 2018. It warns that’s likely to be a conservative estimate, as it doesn’t include people unknown to the authorities. Those who sleep rough inside derelict buildings, for example, rather than more visibly in shop doorways.
It’s a gross and vast overstatement of homelessness.
At least ‘320,000 people homeless in Britain’
At least 320,000 homeless people in Britain, says Shelter
Just not true.
So, here’s reality. As I’ve said before about another of their reports:
Shelter, the charity which decries the state of housing in the UK, has just released a truly terrible report. It’s one of those that falls foul of Worstall’s Fallacy – that we cannot go around measuring just the size of the original problem, whatever it is, we must take account of what we already do to try to solve said problem.
So what we need to know is how much of this homelessness problem is left after we’ve measured what we currently do about it.
I would consider a residual of 252 people rough sleeping in the mainly rural areas of a nation of 65 million as being pretty good for Government work.
The thing is, you must be classified as officially homeless before the support system kicks in. At which point the various services take action and these people are housed. We can conclude, therefore, that the system is largely working for all those thousands of homeless households we saw in the IPPR report because only a miniscule fraction of them end up sleeping rough.
We must distinguish between those who are homeless and those we have aided into not being homeless. Rough sleepers are those homeless. There are some, roughly, 5,000 at any one time in the UK and perhaps 8,000 over a year. We know quite a bit about these people too:
Of those rough sleepers who had a support needs assessment recorded, 43 per cent had alcohol support needs, 31 per cent drug support needs and 46 per cent mental health support needs, with 13 per cent having all three needs and 26 per cent having none of these three needs. No support needs assessment was recorded for 32 per cent of rough sleepers.
Oh, and 59% are of non-UK origin to boot. No, really, rough sleeping is a distinct and different problem:
The latest relevant figures show that there are about 8,000 rough sleepers over the course of a year, and 4,700 or so at any one time.
So, what’s that 320,000 figure? That’s the number – OK, 310,000 of it – that we already aid with our welfare state:
There are hundreds of thousands of people — Shelter says 300,000 — living in inadequate or temporary housing, and perhaps the same number at risk of doing so. This is where the welfare state is assisting those who are at risk of being truly homeless, as in out on the streets. So this figure gives us the number of people being helped, not those being failed.
Think about this same logic again. 5 million children at risk of dying from measles in the UK. Entirely true. We also have a measles vaccine which even post-Wakefield is still giving us herd immunity. Actual measles deaths are to be counted on the one hand each year. What’s the relevant number for us to be considering – the handful. What’s Shelter using in its fund raising? The 5 million.
It’s bulls**t, isn’t it, and we should call it such.