Tomorrow, Monday 10th December, is International Human Rights Day. While it’s important to raise awareness of humanitarian issues across the world, sometimes we have to take a look at what’s on our own doorstep. That’s why tomorrow, starting at 10am in City Square, there will be a demonstration march through Leeds city centre to raise awareness of the dangers of not having adequate emergency accommodation for the homeless of Leeds. Organisers and participants, like Gaz Mack, are hoping to give a voice to the voiceless.
“I am Gaz and I help run a street outreach team supporting the homeless in Leeds. Having been homeless myself and built my life back up I am now passionate about helping others. There have been way too many deaths on the streets so we have arranged a march on Monday (international Human Rights Day) to raise some awareness for concerns about homeless people dying on the streets. Homeless people have the same human rights as everyone else and everyone should have somewhere safe to sleep at night. The homeless situation is getting worse. authorities need to do something to prevent more people dying. We the people need to be asking them what they are going to do.”
According to an article published in the Guardian in October, more than 440 homeless people had died on the streets or in temporary accommodation in the UK this year alone. With increasingly cold weather, the numbers will have undoubtedly risen dramatically. However, we’ll never be sure of the real figures as no official organisation counts the number of homeless deaths in Britain. It is a sad reality faced by the forgotten people on our streets.
According to Full Fact, an independent fact-checking charity, local councils in England only have a duty to supply accommodation for someone if they have a ‘priority need’. This means families with children, people in an emergency after a flood or fire, or who are ‘vulnerable’ for various other reasons. This excludes a lot of people who are left without support. Last year, around 4,800 people were estimated to be sleeping rough in England. This is 15% higher than in 2016, and more than double the estimate of 1,800 for 2010. Clearly, the situation is getting worse and something needs to be done.
Head down to City Square at 10am tomorrow to join Gaz and others as they stand and fight for homeless human rights. For more information go to https://www.facebook.com/events/503934923416316/
Image credit to www.streetkitchen.org