The 2020 initiative seeks to provide a permanent solution to homelessness in all its forms by housing a minimum of 2,020 people in 2020.
The 2020 Initiative starts with the premise that access to a permanent home is a basic human right and permanent housing is provided to the homeless first rather than last.
This right is not subject to conditions, such as behaving in a certain way, giving up a pet, complying with treatment, or being abstinent from drugs or alcohol, before they are given a home.
The 2020 Initiative does not expect homeless people to earn their right to housing, or to remain in housing: singles, couples and families housed as part of the 2020 Initiative, however, are expected to follow the conditions of their tenancy; and to interact positively with support services, such as food banks, clothing, debt support, help with benefit claims, do as to enable them to re-enter society.
Support under the 2020 Initiative is provided freely with regular contact between someone the client and the support services, for example at a weekly meeting which includes planned and reactive pastoral care.
Housing offered under the 2020 Initiative is not temporary, the initiative offers a real permanent home within the terms of both the UN and ETHOS definitions.
There is no doubt that homelessness is a major problem in the UK; and that it is a significant drain on the public purse.
All parties agree that our citizens should not be treated in this manner; and all parties intend to provide significant funding in order to address the issue.
The will to deal with this issue exists
We estimate that on any given night in 2020 there will have been just over 290,000 people who were homeless, which is a rate of 1 in every 200 people.
This population is mainly made-up of people who are homeless and living in temporary accommodation arranged by their council (over 240,000) and council spending on temporary accommodation has increased 56% in five years.
Between 2013/14 and 2017/18, English town halls coughed up a total of £3.87bn for temporary accommodation, over that period, the annual bill rocketed by 56% – up from £602m five years ago., with the 290 councils across England last year spending nearly one billion pounds on temporary accommodation for homeless households in the past financial year alone.
There are many bodies who work around the homeless issue. The vast majority attempt to address the serious symptoms from which homeless people suffer:
- Lack of food
- Lack of clothing
- A bed for the night
- Intoxication or drug addiction
Yet none actually address the fundamental, underlying issue of the lack of permanent accommodation available.
There is no lack of funding, government support or pastoral care. However, Nobody has, historically, addressed the underlying causes of problems in various communities including ex-offenders, victims of domestic violence, refugees and rough sleepers.
This will not be solved in 2020; however we intend to make a practical start on ensuring that these groups of vulnerable adults have adequate permanent housing in order for them to be able to start to rebuild their lives; and we intend to procure the support that they need to be able so to do. It will take time, but here is where we start.
The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights established a right to housing that says that any person should be able to live in security, peace and dignity, to include:
- Legal security of tenure, centred on legal protection from forced eviction, harassment by landlords and other threats to having a settled home.
- Affordability, in the sense that housing costs should not be so high as to mean that food, education and access to healthcare are unaffordable.
- Habitability, which effectively means that housing is in a reasonable state of repair and provides adequate shelter and living space.
- Availability of services, which centres on the infrastructure needed to make housing habitable, i.e. sanitation, capacity to prepare and cook meals, washing facilities, storage, heating and lighting and waste disposal facilities.
- Accessibility, which means that housing should be available to those who require it. Where appropriate, housing should maximise the capacity for someone with a physical disability or limiting illness to live independently.
- Location, i.e. housing must allow access to necessary services. This includes education, health, shops and other services. Housing should also be within access of opportunities for paid work and civic participation. Housing should not be in an environment that is hazardous
- Cultural adequacy, i.e. housing should allow people to live in ways that do not disrupt their culture. This means housing, within reason, should allow for the expression of cultural identity
Over 280,000 people in England are classified as homeless, with thousands more at risk. Currently one person in every 200 in the U.K is homeless. Nearly 90,000 families lack permanent accommodation, whilst over 126,000 children have nowhere to live or play; and over 70% of local authorities in England are struggling to find any stable housing for homeless people.
The issues that homelessness create often lead to mental health, drug and alcohol problems, or physical health issues, which affect over 50% of all families and individuals in temporary accommodation, including children. 30% of those in temporary accommodation have physical ill-health or disability issues, whilst almost 20% fall into drug abuse or alcohol dependency.
Of the 58,660 households assessed, 57% were owed a prevention duty and 43% were owed a relief duty. Over 8,000 people on average sleep rough in England each night..
The latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimate that two million adults (1.3 million women, 695,000 men) aged 16-59 experienced domestic abuse in the last year. 20% of people in temporary accommodation are victims of domestic violence and many of these victims of violence stay in abusive relationships due to the lack of alternative housing of any kind.
On average over 65,000 people are released from custody per year, many of whom have nowhere to live. Access to stable accommodation reduces the risk of re-offending from around 80% to around 20%. The Howard League of Penal Reform has highlighted that a third of people leaving prison say they have nowhere to go, which (including those on remand) represents up to 50,000 people a year. Further, 32% of rough sleepers had experience of prison and a significant number of homeless are ex-offenders. Safe and stable housing is a critical factor in reducing reoffending rates, as it provides the foundations for ex-offenders to rebuild their life and move forward into a positive future away from crime. However, many custody leavers face severe challenges in accessing accommodation on release.
Over 31,000 asylum applications were made in 2019 and the UK offered refugee status to over half of them. More than half of those who have gained refugee status, had slept rough or in a hostel or night shelter in the period after they were granted refugee status. This is an extremely vulnerable position for anyone, let alone one already destitute, in a foreign country, with limited language ability and often having experienced substantial trauma before arriving. People, who came to the UK seeking a life of safety and stability, are therefore in danger of slipping through the cracks into deeper destitution or exploitation.
Respects the principles and norms