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Jan 29, 2013 UK_UK homeless numbers soar

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Published on Jan 29, 2013

It's freezing. You're cold wet and hungry. There is nowhere for you to go to dry off and no money in your pocket. This street is all you got, and there is no one that will help you. Welcome to Birmingham, the UK's capital for homelessness.

SOUNDBITE: Michael, homeless (speaking English):
"My name is Michael. I've been homeless now for two years on the streets of Birmingham. In the city center I don't know how many homeless people it is but it is a hell of a lot, we shouldn't be homeless. A lot of people do come here after a certain time. Underneath here we do have a car park where people sleep all over the places. This is where I got attacked."

RT: In the very center of Birmingham?

Michael: "Yes, in the center, here."

Michael is by no means alone. In fact, the number of homeless people in Britain has skyrocketed by 25 percent since 2010, reaching 50.000 people in 2012. The biggest spike is in the city of Birmingham.

SOUNDBITE: Matthew, homeless (speaking English):
"You don't know who could be going through your pockets, who could be walking past ya, I mean could be sleeping next to a wall, some druggie could come up, throw up all over ya, you got all these things d'you know what i mean? Horrible. And the coldness is stupid. We had to go about three-four days with nothing to eat."

Twenty-one year old Matt fled his family home, where he came to blows with his stepfather. He had to sleep rough before being granted emergency shelter -- a Birmingham hostel.

It's run by a charity that helps anyone down and out find employment and get back on their feet.

SOUNDBITE: Matthew, homeless (speaking English): "I'm always looking for work, because I'm on the dole now like. I haven't got no job or anything like that at the moment, trying to get."

It's Daniel's second stay at the hostel in three years. After growing up in and out of foster care he's struggled to keep a roof over his head.

SOUNDBITE: Daniel, homeless (speaking English):
"You've got to do whatever it takes to find somewhere to sleep, find money, help and support. That's the scariest thing - waking up knowing that you've still got to face it all over again."

There just isn't enough low cost housing available and with unemployment rising, hostels just like this one, desperately need to expand.

SOUNDBITE: Gayle Parsons, hostel manager (speaking English):
"The figures from the local authority of people presenting as homeless have increased on average by about 400 percent a month."

For the growing homeless community, squatting in one of the city's 12,000 empty homes used to be an option. Not anymore.

Just before the winter set in, Westminster upgraded squatting from a civil matter to a criminal offense. Predictions that it would translate to more rough sleepers on the streets came true.

SOUNDBITE: Gayle Parsons, hostel manager (speaking English):
"There a lot of deprived areas in Birmingham, there's a lot of people that don't have work in Birmingham, with it being at one time such an industrialized center there are working class families but those jobs just don't exist anymore, so I suppose the poverty is just breeding further poverty and there is a big mix of people in Birmingham. The population is expanding, the housing stock isn't. I suppose it's reached that point where it's spilling over and can't cope anymore."

And with more government budget cuts kicking in after April, many more Britons are predicted to slip through the net as the housing crisis escalates.




The Great Day of Annihilation
http://www.facebook.com/thegreatdayof...

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