Complete Nonsense From Shelter – Britain Does Not Have 320,000 Homeless

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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

Nonsense.

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’

Nope.

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.

And elsewhere:

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.

And:

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.

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Samarkand Tony
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Samarkand Tony

Sorry, Tim, you’re just wrong on this one. You’ve confused rough sleepers with people who are homeless.

Homelessness is not always as bad as sleeping on the streets, but it’s still bad, and still something we want to do something about.

And really, it’s not surprising we have a problem with it given the ridiculous shortage of housing in/near London.

thammond
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thammond

No you seem to havd entirely failed to read and/or understand the article. 65 milion people are “homeless” in the UK until they find homes. The 320,000 Shelter are claiming as homeles are also in homes. They are housed by the system. We pay taxes, they are housed. Thats how it is supposed to work. You can complain where they are housed isn’t very nice or is only temporary but then that doesn’t sound so dramatic and terrible does it?

Samarkand Tony
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Samarkand Tony

You’re making the same mistake as Tim. Homeless is not the same as sleeping rough. It’s not as bad as sleeping rough. It’s still very bad, though. Not having to sleep on the streets is far from having a home.

surreptitiousevil
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surreptitiousevil

And what we want to do about it is allow people to build more houses close to where people want to live. A solution often mentioned in these pages

Benny Pynchon
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Benny Pynchon

You might be disappointed to learn that homelessness is defined by Part 7 the 1996 Housing Act not Tim Worstall. You could talk to your local MP about changing this legislation but until then Shelter is correct. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/52/part/VII

surreptitiousevil
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surreptitiousevil

You’ll notice that Tim also rants about the official definition of poverty being nothing to do with poverty.

Red Robbo
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Red Robbo

Two years ago Shelter celebrated its 50th anniversary. Towards the end of 2016 they reminded us that during the season of goodwill 120,000 children in Britain would be homeless. Related news coverage was been grim and predictable. ‘A homeless man froze to death on the streets of Birmingham just a day before UK charity Shelter warned more than 250,000 people in England will be homeless this Christmas as high rents, benefit cuts, and a worsening housing crisis create the perfect storm. The body of the unknown man was found in the West Midlands city at 11.30pm GMT on Wednesday, the… Read more »