George Dunstall from All People All Places on how you can support homeless people in Enfield
Last year All People All Places (APAP) launched its first-ever winter campaign, which sought to flip perceptions of homelessness from stereotypical imagery and stories towards a celebration of those who had overcome their housing crisis. We used the iconic blue plaques to highlight the positive stories of just some of our clients.
This year, sadly, we have continued to see an exponential rise in homelessness and rough sleeping across Enfield and Haringey. Moreover, with interest rates remaining high, the crisis has been compounded by increasing rents across the capital as a result of landlords selling up and shrinking the supply of affordable rental properties. According to the Office of National Statistics, in the twelve months to June 2023, private rental prices increased by 5.3% in London; the highest annual rise since September 2012.
Rising rents and frozen Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates led to a London Councils report finding that only 2.3% of available property in the capital was affordable under LHA rates. Make no mistake, this is no longer just a crisis. This is, to ape just some of the language of the previous home secretary, Suella Braverman, a “hurricane” of homelessness happening on our doorsteps.
Homelessness is no longer limited to single-person households being priced out of the market. It is whole families moving from one short-term tenancy to the next, until they simply cannot afford to pay any more. This year was a turning point. For the first time, a longstanding housing crisis developed into an evictions crisis.
Our campaign this year will seek to focus on homelessness in the context in which it is unfolding on our doorstep and which we see in our work every day across Enfield and Haringey. Homelessness is never a lifestyle choice (to coin a phrase) for those at the acute end of it. It is never the choice of the
individual or family to be left with nowhere to go; to have nowhere to store their belongings; to have to make impossible choices about what belongings to take, because they simply can’t take them all.
The equivalent of 140 households in London faced eviction every week in the first quarter of 2023. It could happen to any of us, it could happen to you. Do you know what you’d take with you to survive?
APAP have been providing shelter, supporting people and preventing homelessness in Enfield and Haringey since 2010. We already know this winter is likely to be the toughest yet in so many ways.
This year’s campaign has now launched, so please support us if you can. As a small, local charity, we rely on the generous support of our community to continue to support those most in need in Enfield and Haringey.