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The Covid-Induced Mass Homelessness Crisis


Lord Bird and Kevan James offer their views on the prospects of mass homelessness:


Lord Bird first:


The enormous amount of prospective homeless people and families dwarfs any other emergency that homeless advocates like me have ever seen before. The government must reinstate the eviction ban.


Homelessness could come to a home near you if we don’t respond effectively to the threats created by Covid-19 induced poverty.


The pandemic threw up novel ways of dealing with the business and social crisis. It motivated the Treasury to spend colossal amounts of money on the emergency. It was impressive to see a government who might have been tempted to take the austerity road to actually invest in alleviating crisis.


Alas the work is still unfinished. For waiting offstage is a very large contingent of people who could be made homeless, due to the loss of livelihood.


In spite of the government's eviction ban, a ban that has just run out, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reports circa 400,000 renters have had eviction notices served, or told to expect them. Around a million tenants fear evictions. This enormous amount of prospective homeless people and families dwarfs any other emergency that homeless advocates like me have ever seen before.


This is mass homelessness from people who have often never been anywhere within the vicinity of need and a life of temporary accommodation. This is children separated from security and placed in a world of unsettling temporariness. This is frightening; and I am frightened.