Bringing hope where there is despair
A simple fact. Too many of our children in care are unprepared for the adult world and struggle to fit in.
There were 762 people aged under 26 found sleeping on the streets between 2013/14, compared with 316 in 2010/11 - a 141% increase
Across all age brackets, 6,508 people were recorded as sleeping rough in the city during 2013/14, meaning just over 24% were aged under 26.
In 2019, 2,457 people chose to use our advice and counselling services in the hope that we could resolve problems, reunite individuals with family members, or teach them the basic skill necessary to leave the streets at take up some form of accommodation, or even find employment.
A common factor being that they lacked the loving environment of childhood and many denied the life skills needed to grow from childhood into adulthood. Not able to control their aggression or anger. Not knowing how to communicate by telephone or in person. Not knowing how to resolve problems and difficulties.
Numbers that are regularly questioned and even challenged. Our experience suggests that there are far more people on the streets with a history of military service than is immediately obvious. These young men, appear to fall into to two categories.
The Whitechapel Mission is open 365 days a year are would expect to see between 250 and 300 people on a normal weekday. Of those, 49% are from the UK, but predominately from Scotland and Ireland. 19% are Eastern European. 20% are Afro/Caribbean, mainly from North African states. 5% British born Asians and the final 7% are a mixture from around the world.
Many of those from Scotland and Ireland cannot prove their identity, and before we can sort benefits or housing, we need to acquire a birth certificate and proof of identity. In 2019 we purchased 29 birth certificates to begin the process of turning those lives around.
There are many theories as to why the majority of the homeless are men, but there are some contributing factors that may have some bearing.
We live in a society of consequence. It we chose to break the law, there will be consequences. We are likely to be looking at a prison sentence, the loss of our job, the possible loss of our house and possible loss of our freedom. Consequences that most of us would rather avoid.
But if living on the streets these are not consequences at all, possibly even benefits. With no house to lose. No job to worry about and the prospect of three cooked meals a day, a warm bed to sleep in, there are some that will risk the consequences of stealing a "loaf of bread".