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Views And Reviews

There is no excuse for homelessness in Britain in 2018

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 26 February 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k902
  1. Victor Adebowale, chief executive
  1. Turning Point
  1.  Sarah.Snellaert{at} 

Homelessness is a neon sign that something is fundamentally wrong

The sight of someone on the streets is one many people find so difficult that they ignore it. They choose to walk straight past the person who is at their feet or asking for money.

Nothing is a better reminder of inequality and human suffering than a rough sleeper. These are human beings whose lives are likely to be cut short, given that homeless women die on average at 43 and homeless men at 47, compared with 77 for the rest of us.

In England, the number of people living on the streets increased by 16% in 2016, a statistic that matches anecdotal evidence that more are seen camped out in the shop doorways and alleys of our major cities. This is the most visible and stark kind of homelessness. But it goes on behind closed doors too, with almost 50 000 families living in bed and breakfast accommodation. Others without homes survive by going from friend to friend …

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