In a nation with nowhere to call home
They couldn’t have designed it better if they tried. Welfare reform and a lack of genuinely affordable housing have combined to create the perfect vehicle for driving people out of a secure home. No wonder homelessness is rising
By Mark Cantrell
This article first appeared in the April/May edition of Housing
SOONER or later something’s got to give; maybe it already is. Society’s foundations are beginning to buckle under the strain of a housing crisis compounded by welfare reform. Now the cracks are beginning to show, if recent reports on rising homelessness are anything to go by.
But neither the housing crisis, decades in the making, nor the more recent erosion of the social safety net, result from the acts of some malign deity; both are the product of human agency. Quite where conspiracy ends and cock-up takes the upper hand (or is it the other way around?) is anybody’s guess, but the sum total of policy for the best part of a decade appears to have combined to create the perfect mechanism for excluding more and more people from a secure home.
While those on moderate incomes might ‘just about manage’ and somehow cling on, at least for now, inevitably it’s those at the lower end of the income spectrum who are in imminent danger of being priced out of a home – if they haven’t already.