Category Archives: Homelessness

Austerity, Poverty, (Un,Under-) Employment, Inequality, Physical and mental health, and Psychological Well-being

A big determinant of absolute poverty is the cost of essentials and cost of living based on things that are unavoidable such as housing, food and shelter and legalistic bills such as Council tax and maintenance security costs such as house insurance. If running a car  legalistic as well as necessary insurance cover. If buying a house with a mortgage insurance requirement as part of the mortgage agreement plus to cover for risks to property in all aspects. Alternatives to buying a home or running a car are not free. Renting can be just as expensive as buying, in fact for anyone becoming redundant after paying a mortgage for years, renting can be a lot more expensive than a mortgage would be. But renting is also often the only means of getting housing when the large amount required to secure a mortgage and maintaining it is not possible on extremely low incomes, no incomes and poor job security. Not running a car cuts the insurance and maintenance aspects, but public transport is expensive, especially so on low and no incomes can be impossible to travel very far and restricts geographical mobility.

 

Most of the so-called ‘new’ jobs have been in London and the south East, although the quality, job security and pay rates of new jobs are not usually referred to, but again of all new jobs, the best paid and most secure may also be in London and the South-East, with the majority of newer jobs outside these areas tending to be in the most insecure lowest pay sectors. Also there can be great disparities within cities, with enclaves of poverty amongst great wealth, often showing some of the greatest divisions of wealth, also with dangers of property prices in areas with more better paid work pushing out lower paid workers who cannot afford to buy or rent property on low incomes. This means there is a poverty problem outside London and the South-east, which is masked by a skewing of economic statistics because of the London and South-east bubble, but also within the same otherwise more affluent regions an increase in poverty amongst the lowest paid, often insecure and unemployed, the poorest.

Since 2010, according to the Adonis Report, 80% of all new jobs have been London and another 10% in 9 other cities, leaving just 10% in the rest of UK spread unevenly:

Guardian article: Lord Adonis review backs devolution as key to ‘balanced economic recovery’

Cost of Essentials and Cost of Living in UK are discussed in the following article on the Living Standards Gap published by JRF:

“Party leaders must close the living standards gap facing the worst-off families”

Vox Political – ” The minimum income is 2-5-times what people get on benefits but still they are labelled scroungers”

According to Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), Minimum income standard (MIS) many of the UK poorest will never have the opportunity to be able to achieve even this what is after all meant to be a minimum standard of living:

Guardian: Many British people will never afford an acceptable minimum living standard

Back in 2012 it was found in a report that the average person required £30 per day to cover the cost of bills, as food is one component amongst many essentials.

As the cost of essentials has continued to rise rapidly since then even that data is already out of date and therefore the cost of living is even higher. What the following article points out is it i snot the spending of the poor that counts most when determining an absolute minimum requirement as often the poorest people go without essentials such as food and heating in order to pay bills. This can be mothers skipping meals to ensure children are fed and even then not necessarily able to give them what they most need. Also single people are often under-represented in that benefits for single people are the lowest, although no child costs, but also no child benefits. Single parents too are under-represented as in couples even if one is low paid often one partner brings in some income and cost of living, such as mortgage, rent, heating, utilities, insurance is shared between two adults and any children, but for single people or single parents with children this is not an option. Also being single is often not the choice of the individual, either they have not managed for many reasons, including not being able to afford to socialise through being poor or just two compatible people just not meeting, or to becoming a couple or they have been but have ended up separating or getting divorced, with UK having one of the highest divorce rates in the world, so being single is just as common as being in a relationship.

The next article highlights something that is lacking in many reports, that of data lag, but also when reports are written with the purpose of propaganda dates can be deliberately selected so as to alter the results. As most of the worst cuts in benefits occurred after the data collection of many published reports, this means the situation is already far worse than is indicated in many even recent reports.

All told, essentials make up a very large proportion of the use of income and benefits are often inadequate to maintain even the basic cost of living requirements. This is where austerity and poverty is very under-represented and appreciated in terms of it now becoming absolute poverty in the developed world.

 

Many comparisons are often expressed for the purposes of excusing or belittling the problems of the poor in developed countries by making comparisons with the absolute poverty of living on, for example, £1 a day in the Third world, which is dire, and should not be in the first place. But this simplistic comparison also lacks taking account of the very high cost of living in many developed countries.

UK is one of the most expensive countries in the world to live, just to cover these essential non-negotiable costs. Because of this it would not be possible for anyone to pitch up a tent, along with UK climate and land regulations, Council tax, water rates, plus service such as sanitation and if trying to get to work in urban environments, transport, where to put one suit for interviews etc. and cost of produce in shops, to live on £1 a day. The essential costs now require above benefit levels for non-disabled and the additional sums for disabled are required for additional cost of being disabled, with many having to use these to pay for essentials and with cuts in disability befits also to endure absolute poverty, with even fewer ways out due to limits of disabilities and discrimination by employers.

Many have no choice but to resort to benefits as a safety net because of insufficient numbers of jobs that pay adequate wages to support the cost of living for essentials and then have to endure living with a shortfall of income to meet basic needs, many having to resort to debt or go without essentials, which in effect means many more in the developed world moving from relative to absolute poverty.

In any country there are added problem where there is relative poverty, as inequality in itself causes psychological and social problems, with social division. In developed countries there is sufficient wealth within the macroeconomic system pertaining to each country.  Np one should have forced to be in absolute poverty in rich countries and inequality can be minimised, with everyone having as reasonable as possible lifestyle, and especially equality of opportunities in education and employment as well as all aspects of society. There should not be anyone in absolute poverty, economically there is no reason for it, unless the economics are those of deliberate division and inequality.

World Bank report finds GDP growth in unequal countries, when deconstructed into top and bottom quartiles, that as inequality rises, poor wealth declining whereas wealth of rich increasing:

Ideally underdeveloped countries too should also be able to eliminate or at least minimise absolute poverty too, as the UN and UNICEF have often stated in their mandates for a more equal world and the poverty of the Third world is related to exploitation of the richer developed countries, so also a need for a more equal world too.

Helen Keller > Quotes > Quotable Quote:

“The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all … The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands – the ownership and control of their livelihoods – are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.”

 

 

Psychological and Physical Effects of Relative and Absolute Poverty and Austerity

Effects of poverty and austerity are wide-ranging and noticeably affect the lives of the poor, physically and mentally, with many alarming comparisons available as well as many not often sufficiently accepted in the media and by governments that are working on different agenda, where the poor are given low priority or in unequal countries are a priority in that  they are used a spawns in enabling the rich to get richer, by exploitation or discarded, cast aside.

In psychological terms all these stresses of the poor are manifest by  relative deprivation that adds to immense psychophysical and biological, and even neurobiological consequences of relative and  absolute poverty.

Ongoing blog item shall be added to as appropriate

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Homelessness and Housing Shortages, a deliberate plan of inequality, sacrificing the poor

Housing shortage, homelessness and substandard accommodation, squalor, insecurity, Corporatism, Exploitation, Poverty, Austerity for the poor. 

Homelessness and Housing Shortages, a deliberate plan of sacrifice of the poor for the material benefit of the powered elite. Less than 20% of families on average incomes now earn enough to be able to start buying a home in modern Britain:

House prices: eight in 10 homes out of reach of families on average wages

Who can afford a roof over their head?

When one considers how much developed  countries spend on military, or on bailing out the banks and supporting through money printing quantitative easing for the banks, vast sums of money. Also in post WWII when rebuilding and the start of the welfare state with NHS or any country when building homes. In China the mass construction of vast cities, even ones with very few residents, ghost cities and is also if not utilised a vast waste and open to corruption, but is an example of massive infrastructure developments, state funded.

In many countries privatisation has also increased corruption involving profiteering of privatised companies and is a danger for the HS2 project in UK which is planned over a very long period of time, but is concentrated on a single transport link and does nothing to deal with the housing crisis and like many high cost state supported private schemes, which is currently a private owned rail system, so in effect is a subsidy for the private sector and  is open to quick profit syphoned off to directors and put into tax havens. The massive sum of money on this link also does nothing to solve great disparities between regions and cities in terms of jobs, pay and job security.

Homelessness and single vulnerable poor

Single people without families or where any relatives are also in poverty and do not have means to support them are at very high risk of moving from relative poverty to absolute poverty. People can be single, but without financial support for many reasons and many more are in this position than is realised by many researchers even, who often put everyone together, disguising the poorest outliers within broader data sets.

Being a single adult without support of others can happen at any age from becoming an adult. It can happen through bereavement, who may have lost one or both parents early due to illnesses,  disabilities, or be a carer because of  these.  They may have been been fostered, adopted or who have relationship problems, including abuse by parents, foster or adopted parents, or have been in a relationship, left home, only to be abused by a partner. Also where people have problems of drug or alcohol addictions, and disorders where a family cannot cope , so requiring separation for the sake of other members. This can also be due to mental health problems,  for many reasons, why people without  a regular income from a secure job, or redundant, unemployed may have very little if any outside support and are therefore totally reliant on benefits, not for luxury living, as anyone without anyone who can give a financial helping hand doe snot have even the minimum standard of living according to all scales of necessary minimum income needed to live in the developed world and expensive countries such as UK, so is literally a last resort safety net, that is now being removed, exposing the most vulnerable, with nowhere else to go at the greatest risk .

Guardian article: Welfare reform puts single people at risk of homelessness

Homelessness can be seen as a deliberate societal control varying as a means of abandonment of the state enabling more for ‘the haves’ less for ‘the have-nots’, whist serving as deterrent to force millions to take lowest levels of pay possible to survive, anything but be homeless and be grateful to have a job and not fight for better pay.

When the financial crisis struck in 2008, the sheer horror of the rich losing all their monetary net worth caused panic from world leaders and a resolve to do something to save the money of the rich, at all costs. Whether they succeeded or have only temporarily saved them due to a flawed means or by constantly defending the rich against the poor risk future uprisings of poor masses is open to debate and may play out over a longer time period, just as the Great Depression did. But they have sacrificed the poorest, also hit the poor to middle, anyone but themselves. Whilst they initially taking some of the hit due to the rapid meltdown of the stock market between 2008 and 2009, they then resorted to unprecedented scale of money printing to give to recapitalise the banks, reflate housing and stock market bubbles.

Also to engineer ideological austerity of the poor for the profit of the rich has resulted in the rich now becoming the richest they have ever been and the poor even poorer. Wealth inequality has widened to levels last seen around 1900 to 1930 and if it carries on will hit Victorian levels of inequality. They bailed out the banks, in the case of UK up to £1.5 Trillion all told, by various means, most significantly Quantitative Easing (QE) and boosted company profits by lowering tax for corporations and allowing them to get away with paying much less tax or no tax. But governments around the world, with the exception of Iceland have bailed out the banks and sacrificed the poor. To make matters worse for the poorest, governments following deep austerity plans, such as UK have cut benefits and support, forcing them through the cracks they have made in the welfare state that is being actively broken down by political ideological anti-welfare state policies.

When any society decides to abandon the poor en-masse, it is a means of population control accompanied by poverty with inadequate  diets, exposure to cold and damp, unhealthy conditions, with physical and mental health consequences and increased incidences of disease and malnutrition. Effects of living on the streets for rough sleepers are immense, with massive curtailment of quality of life and much higher mortality rates than the rest of the population. Such lowered life chances also exist for those in poorer accommodation, in low paid stressful jobs , insecure employment, unemployed and in debt due to poverty. Life expectancy is massively curtailed for many of the poor and this is not taken account of in artificially costing out for economic statistics, such as the cost to the so-called taxpayer, bearing in mind that everyone is a tax payer and that the poorest tend to pay the biggest proportion in indirect taxes and taxes on essentials. In the way that ‘benefits’ used to support the poor are given a cost, human life itself is not given value by the propaganda, only cost of  supporting life as an index of those fortunate enough not to be in the situation of poverty and despair.

Life for rough sleepers or in and out of hostels and occasional boards in low quality, dangerous environments, having to live with drug users, needles, inadequate sporadic food, usually of low quality and often risky condition, is not a solution for helping those in that situation out of it or to help and treat those with alcohol and drug addictions or to intervene to help to deal with mental health issues. It does the reverse, it encourages drug and alcohol use to try to escape the real world with a sense of desperation, through the use of chemically induced changes of state of mind, of presence, based substances that for a time change perception, an escape from very real hardship, but with terrible costs to pay because of the damage they do.

London Evening Standard: Number of young rough sleepers in London doubles in four years

The cost of supporting homeless would be relatively minimal on the scale of any countries economies, but instead most countries choose to let organisations deal with the consequences the best they can, which can be very limited and sporadic, that rely on volunteers and organisations that do their best with limited funds, facilities and competing between organisations and charities for limited finite sources of funding by a public with more poor themselves struggling to make ends meet, or others with means but wanting to keep more to themselves, but overall which limit the ability for charities to provide a solution, all they can do is do their best and without them people at the bottom would be without support. But having charities does not solve the problem. It is thus through the efforts of those involved in helping to deal with the symptoms, but not having sufficient means to deal with the causes, which are really societal.

Johnny Void: “DWP And Homelessness Charities Link Up To Bully Homeless Benefit Claimants”

Also in a blog by Jayne Linney the further tightening and cutting of support for the most vulnerable and homeless is discussed, along with details of a time limit of four weeks of exemption from actively looking for work, even for rough sleepers whose main priority is not competing with the millions of unemployed and underemployed after too few real jobs, but trying to get enough food to barley survive on, where to rest and sleep, how they can survive on the streets:

House Building, Supply and Demand in a 2-tier economy and Housing Market

Populations of many countries including UK are increasing, but house building Is not following suit. After decades of not building homes to match the population a crisis ensues, but it is a crisis of the poor and of a making by the state, along with an often unrealised sacrifice of more wealthy middle incomes who may be able to afford a decent home, but who are like mice running on an ever faster treadmill, chasing after a smaller and smaller piece of cheese.

 

If economic theories and GDP are looked at, which are in themselves open for criticism and debate, in relation to data collection, interpretation and what it all means to real people in real situations, also with variations depending on where one lives and what circumstances they are in. If immigration is considered, then that means more homes are needed, but immigration over the decades have created wealth and increased demand for local services, often much more so than the so called rich CEOs business leaders and financial services sectors who tend to put their wealth in tax havens and kept within the more exclusive luxury set and closed circles. Many local businesses have developed due to cosmopolitan mixes of populations, as opposed to standardised junk food, gambling, loan sharks, pound shops with cheap and unpaid labour selling goods often sourced by cheap and even unpaid labour, paying much less or even no tax on profits.

All governments engage in some level of control and distribution, trouble is it can be the opposite of wealth distribution for fairness and inequality, but instead upwards, is divisive and intensifies inequality.

 

When a state wilfully chooses not to build homes when the private sector is not building enough affordable homes, based on low incomes and not providing for masses in insecure employment, part-time, zero hour or unemployed.  Mostly the private sector prefers to build the more  expansive and for many even the majority unaffordable luxury developments. This is for  more lucrative new homes for maximum profit not for society. The shortfall where homes are needed to be provided for those who cannot afford to buy a home or to pay often equally exorbitant rents, all geared towards immense profiteering amidst a large base of unemployed and low paid, including a great number in insecure work, causal, temporary , zero hour, minimum wages that were set low and before massive increases in the cost of living inflation for utilities and essentials, required just to live independently, with mass privatisations of what used to be public utilities, adding to costs to accommodate enormous profits, even for fundamental human rights of natural resources necessary for life, of water.

 

Homelessness and the cost in dealing with It needs to be looked at on a national scale and in relation to country wide budgets, as part of society, the infrastructure, sufficient provision for the entire population, within context of the whole economy. This should be case in a more enlightened modern world, rather than the comparatively primitive feudal systems and massive inequalities of such as the Victorian era.

 

As such the cost of immediately removing homelessness would be relatively minimal, with so much great wealth for a large enough percentage of the population, in itself therefore need not be a big issue, but one of fine tuning, redistribution of some of the vast wealth towards solving a problem for those without means or resources to solve it themselves.

 

Much of a country’s wealth is also wasted, frittered away through corruption, people in high places ensuring they more than amply reward themselves from a big slice of the pie. Also by governments deliberately due to being buddies and joint investors of corporations, by not trying to get tax from very wealthy corporations that are partly so wealthy due to exploiting workers around the world. But nevertheless extremely wealthy and not paying taxes. Instead all going to chief executives and suits at different levels, also the cost of military expenditure of many countries is astronomical, often surpassing provision for the poor, as its lucrative, money making and often having investment involvement of governments, corporations and banks.

 

To house all of the homeless would be on the scale of the country’s finances a relatively small cost and have huge benefit to society, be humane, and ironically, if part of a house building programme would add wealth to countries that did this.

 

However those in power realise that this would also bring down cost of housing that is artificially high due to a lack of availability, not based on affordability but based on a shortage and speculators taking the ride to the top, before the inevitable housing crash on the other side of the failed economic policy.

 

 

The new Rachman rentier in an era of Austerity

 

Owning a home has become unaffordable to very large numbers of people, in effect to a new underclass of the poor, back to the days of Victoriana and a neo-feudal era of Austerity.

 

Those without work or doing all they can do part time, casual, temporary, but even secure low waged is not enough to buy a home. Renting has been allowed to rise to as much as mortgages for properties according to affordability being massively overpriced. However deliberately ensuring a shortage of supply of properties results in enough with money, borrowing or speculating driving up the prices temporarily, as it is unsustainable, whilst the poor cannot even get on the ladder in the first place. High cost rents have been supported by a mushrooming housing benefit system, which does not provide any material benefit for the poor, who continue to get poorer, but simply subsidises landlords who often own multiple properties and rake in profits from having so many properties, often assisted by banks who see them as business customers and people renting as just the ‘pesky’ poor people, as business people often see them, paying the rent or as a source of housing benefit.

And now landlords have been given the go-ahead from government to evict people on housing benefit, the poorest are facing evictions, even when they have spent years of time and effort improving the properties they were renting:

The following item from the Daily Mirror gives an example of one landlord owning multiple properties engaging in mass evictions of those on benefits:

For those on housing benefit allowing landlords to not have people on housing benefit means less places where the poorest can go to and all the best rented properties going to those with incomes that cover high cost rents, but for people with low, insecure or no incomes, having to fight with others for the poorest quality housing.

 

Inequality and a return to a Feudalism Class structure and economic system

Relating to macroeconomics Stiglitz (around 53:00 in video) with reference to Piketty ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ describes how much wealth now inherited and so is a reversing of the ability to improve one sown positon, back to previous ages when mush wealth was passed down through families leading to class divides, segregation, even though affordability to get an education through a massively increased cost education system.

 

At 1:03 in the video, Stiglitz mentions GDP is not a good measures of an economy as it does not say who is getting the wealth, it can mask inequality.

Wealth distribution in Holland affected by low taxes on financial products and investments that rich people more likely to have invested in, but higher taxes on essentials, mentioned in relation to economic commentary by Piketty:

https://twitter.com/vBelz/status/483588067593584640

How large differences in wealth have begun a new tax debate

This results in all the previous ways out of poverty being severely restricted for very large numbers and is reflected in poverty, inequality, lack of affordable housing and increasing homelessness.

References

 

Thomas Piketty (2014) Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Harvard University Press.

 

Joseph Stiglitz (2013) The Price of Inequality. Penguin.

 

This item is ongoing and may be added to as appopriate