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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 January 2019

Death in a doorway: struggle can end homelessness

photo Garry Knight (CC)

photo Garry Knight (CC)   (Click to enlarge)

Pete McNally, Worcester Socialist Party

Joby Sparrey died on Christmas Day in the doorway of a shop in Malvern, Worcestershire. Brays is a long-established shop with large doorways so he was probably able to stretch out to sleep.

On 31 October 2018 Remigiusz Boczarski was found dead in nearby Malvern Wells. He had been living in a bus shelter.

Both men had been befriended and helped by local people with food and clothing, with one person washing Remigiusz's clothes for him. Apparently the staff at Brays had known Joby was sleeping in the doorway for some time and tried to assist him.

Homelessness has clearly surged. Not just in Worcestershire, but across Britain. Meanwhile, houses are left empty for months and even years. There were 200,000 unoccupied in 2016, according to government figures!

In Malvern, the council official for housing expressed the usual regrets. The local MP did the same, and pointed to "important advice on the council website."

Ending homelessness will not be straightforward, but is within our power. First of all, councils must fight for funds to build services around the real needs of those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Councils should be able to assist those at risk before it happens, with flexible help available when needed to get those who lose their homes back into accommodation. This also means having the accommodation available: councils must build council homes, seize empty properties, and cap private rents.

In Malvern, local people have said they will volunteer if a shelter for the homeless is found. This shows the instinctive solidarity of ordinary people.

But why should it be left to us? We need a thought-out strategy to end homelessness, including full funding for well-paid and trained staff - and a minimum wage and benefits anyone can live on.

Instead, we have politicians who wring their hands, but will not wring the needed funds from government. Corbyn should hammer the Tories on the housing crisis and homelessness scandal as part of a campaign for a general election - and instruct Labour councils to get moving now by setting no-cuts budgets.

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In The Socialist 9 January 2019:

What we think

Brexit vote round two: Corbyn must fight for a socialist alternative to the Tory deal and bosses' EU


Tories Out. End austerity. Mass working-class action for a general election

'Fat Cat Friday' shows where all the money's gone

Javid's migrant 'emergency'

Death in a doorway: struggle can end homelessness

Them & Us

What we saw

Workplace news

PCS Left Unity assistant general secretary election rerun

Far right attack on Manchester rail workers' picket line - trade union fightback needed

Grayling's attacks on rail workers wages 'un-fare'

Solid strike by Arriva bus drivers

Ferry workers protest against 2.45 an hour pay

UCU Wales suspends FE strike action

German revolution 100 years on

Heroic martyrs of German Revolution

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Disruption of Leeds Socialist Party meeting shows need for unions to lead real struggle

Bringing socialist ideas into movements on women's rights

Tremendous effort sees Socialist Party smash fighting fund target in 2018

NHS funding crisis: Tory 'super-plan' is a super-con!

Linking LGBT+ rights to the fight for socialism

North Tyneside Campaigning to save our footbridge

Carmarthenshire council: Unison demands no-cuts budget

International socialist news and analysis

Protests continue to rage in Sudan

Blocked for years, but the Socialist Party of Nigeria is now standing in elections


Theatre review: Women of Aktion - the heroic story of how World War One was ended

The Socialist Inbox


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