If you don’t like the number try counting something different:
The government has been accused of dramatically under-reporting the scale of rough sleeping following council data showing numbers almost five times higher than Whitehall estimates.
On the eve of the housing ministry’s annual snapshot of rough sleeping, which last year said that 4,677 people slept outside, the council data showed almost 25,000 people slept rough in 2019.
The figures were obtained directly from councils using the Freedom of Information Act. They relate to people sleeping rough at least once during the year. The government uses a different method, taking a snapshot count on one night.
On Wednesday the Labour party called for the UK Statistics Authority to launch an investigation into the accuracy of government data, which it said were “seriously misleading”.
The government’s snapshot for 2018 shows that there were 45 rough sleepers in Oxford. But over the whole of 2019 the local council said 430 people were recorded as sleeping rough at least once, according to the data gathered by the BBC. In Manchester the government’s figure was 123, while the council’s total was 679.
If the number of rough sleepers looks too low to motivate the masses then cook up a new method of counting so as to be able to expropriate the bourgeoisie.
At which point why not consider which is actually the correct number to be using?
Start with the idea that we would like to solve rough sleeping. Sure, there are some who actually prefer it – no, really, nowt so queer as folk out there. It’s also true that of long term rough sleepers near all suffer from one or more of a serious addiction to either drugs or booze or have some serious mental health problems. None of these are things dealt with nor solved by the provision of a free flat – not even a free house. A reversal on that Care in the Community idea might work better.
But OK, let’s move on, we still would like to solve this problem. We’re a rich place, people shouldn’t have to sleep outside if they don’t want to. How big is the problem?
That is, let’s not commit Worstall’s Fallacy and let’s measure the problem that still has to be dealt with, not the one we first started with.
The one we started with might be that estimate we get from Shelter, that there are 300,000 homeless. That is, people without a secure tenancy or a house of their own. Assuming the 300k is still their claim and that it’s not moved to umptyeleben.
OK. So we’re already solving 90% of the problem, even at that expanded definition of sleeping rough of 25,000 people in a year.
Except, obviously enough, we’re solving more than that. Because of that 25,000 only – as far as we can guess at least – only some 5,000 are doing that regularly. That is, we’ve some sort of system, however charitable, non-governmental and just plain peeps being good folks it is, which scoops up people sleeping rough and sorts them out with a roof over their heads.
Except, obviously, that hardcore with the booze, drugs and I’m a violent nutter me problems.
So, what’s the number that’s useful for decision making? It’s clearly not the umptyeleben at risk because we’re already dealing with most of that risk. It’s also not the 25,000 as we’re dealing with a goodly portion of that too. It’s the 5,000, isn’t it? That’s the part of the problem not yet solved.
So, what’s the useful number of homeless to be considering when we try to craft policy? 5,000.
Anything else is politics and there’s not all that much of a useful relationship between that professional whoredom and problem solving now, is there?