Over a million households at risk of becoming homeless in the UK

More than a million households living in private rented accommodation are reportedly at risk of becoming homeless by 2020 because of rising rents, benefit freezes and a lack of social housing, according to a devastating new report into the UK’s heightened housing crisis.

A recent study by the homelessness charity Shelter reveals that rising numbers of families on low incomes are not only unable to afford to buy their own home but are also toiling to pay even the lowest available rents in the private sector, leading to ever higher levels of eviction and homelessness.

The findings will place greater pressure on the government over housing policy following the Grenfell Tower fire disaster in west London, which exposed the neglect and disregard for people living in council-owned properties in one of the wealthiest areas of the capital.

The recent Shelter report highlights how a crisis of affordability and provision is gripping millions with no option but to look for homes in the private rented sector due to a shortage of social housing.

Across the UK it has been calculated that, if the housing benefit freeze remains in place as planned until 2020, more than a million households, including 375,000 with at least one person in work, could be forced out of their homes. It estimates that 211,000 households in which no one works because of disability could be forced to go.

A total of 14,420 households were accepted by local authorities as homeless between October and December 2016, up by more than half since 2009 – with 78% of the increase since 2011 being the result of people losing their previous private tenancy. Local authorities are under immense pressure with a legal obligation to seek emergency accommodation, such as in bed and breakfasts.

In its report “Shut out: the barriers low-income households face in private renting”, Shelter calls for the freeze on the local housing allowance (paid to those renting privately) to be lifted with immediate effect. The same demand has also been made by the Local Government Association, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Chartered Institute of Housing.

“There is an assumption in housing policy that the private rented sector will be the default tenure for those priced out of homeownership or unable to secure a social tenancy, but this is increasingly not working,” it says. “As the social rented sector contracts, private housing may have replaced it as the main tenure for people in housing need. But the market’s limitations mean that significant government intervention is needed if it is to play an expanded role in preventing homelessness and housing people on low incomes.”

“For households experiencing multiple moves, the repeated costs of fees, deposits and rent in advance can pull them further into debt. Our advice services tell us that private landlords are increasingly asking for guarantors, who can be difficult for low-income households to secure.” London has seen some of the biggest rent increases since 2011-12, with the cheapest average rents rising on average by 6% a year for one- and two-bedroom properties. In Bristol, average rents at the lowest end of the market have also risen 6% a year for one-beds and for two-beds. In Luton, one-bed and two-bed rents have increased by 5% annually.

Nationwide, the increase in rents is starkest for rooms in shared houses, with rents increasing by nearly 4% annually over the time period. In London, rents for rooms in shared houses saw annual increases of 7%. A review by the Smith Institute cited a council officer saying that rooms in the private rented sector that had previously been used to meet housing needs were now being rented out to young professionals who were able to pay the far higher rents.

By December 2016, nearly 76,000 households were living in emergency temporary accommodation such as bed and breakfasts, of which 60,000 were families with children or pregnant mothers. This is more than 10% up on the previous year and 58% more than in 2010 when just over 48,000 households were living in temporary accommodation.

At Whitecrest Care, we specialize in providing accommodation for homeless people in a supportive environment across the UK. Our supported Living solutions are carefully designed to fit everyone regardless of faith, culture, ethnic origin, race, gender, disability or sexual orientation. Give us a call today.


How loneliness helpline received record breaking calls for help

What really makes us happiest in life? Some may point to fabulous fame and fortune. Yet hands down, surveys show that friends and family are the real prizes. Even though our need to connect is innate, some of us always go home or stay home alone.

Now let’s imagine a 65-year-old woman who sees her physician frequently for a variety of aches and pains. She might complain of back pain on one visit, headaches another time, and feeling weak on the next. Each time, her physician does a physical exam and runs the appropriate tests, without finding anything to account for her symptoms. Each time, she leaves the office feeling frustrated that “nothing can be done” for what ails her.

However, if we examined more closely, we’d find out that this patient lost her husband five years earlier and has been living alone since. Her children all live in other states. Although she dotes on her grandchildren, she sees them only about once a year. She has a few friends that she only sees occasionally. If asked, she would probably tell you that, yes, she is lonely. Research shows that people who feel lonely have more health problems, feel worse and perhaps die at an earlier age.

In 2015, researchers from Brigham Young University looked at multiple studies on loneliness and also isolation. Their results from several hundred thousand people revealed that social isolation resulted in a 50 per cent increase in premature death.

Loneliness and social isolation are also associated with increased blood pressure, higher cholesterol levels, depression and, if that weren’t bad enough, decreases in cognitive abilities and Alzheimer’s disease.

The good news is that there are several initiatives poised to eradicate completely isolation and loneliness. A helpline supporting lonely and isolated older people received one call every minute in March, making it the busiest month since its launch in November 2013. This also points to the massive increase in isolation and loneliness. The good news again is that people are now more aware and also seeking necessary help.

You can also read: Carers need mandatory LGBT training

Silver Line took an amazing record 48,000 calls in March alone, a 24 per cent increase on the same month in the previous year, with the cold weather and Easter weekend partly to blame.

The number of incoming calls continued to rise in April, with 80 per cent of callers calling for the first time.

Sophie Andrews, Silver Line’s chief executive, said: “We know that for our callers, bank holidays throughout the year seem interminably long and lonely – they often describe them as a month of Sundays’; and when combined with holiday occasions traditionally focused on celebrating with loved ones, it can be even more challenging for them.

“We also frequently heard from those calling between Good Friday and Easter Monday that their family and friends had gone away for the long weekend, leaving them home alone.

“More generally, however, these figures underline what we hear from older people phoning us every day: that loneliness isn’t just for Christmas – it is their reality all year round.”

Loneliness is a big deal that must be dealt with accordingly. At Whitecrest Care we are aware of this looming challenge, and we have positioned ourselves to always be a solution to problems associated with caregiving. With our befriending and companionship services then we would be able to support people who are lonely. Give us a call today for more enquiries.

We move mountains for you.


I book home care for my mum online

How lovely it would be if you don’t have to wait weeks to see your GP, followed by another long wait for medical test results? Imagine picking up your device and right on your mobile device or any other chosen device and you are able to book a care provider for yourself or any loved one? This is what much more technology has to offer in the healthcare sector.

We are acquainted with the changing demographic trends, and we are not ignorant of the emergence of an ageing population and rapid increase in chronic illnesses – this is creating a huge demand for health care and social services. Again this has brought a great challenge given the sophistication of 21st-century technology.

Technology has played a huge role in changing our lives and making life easier, the same trends obviously should appear at a distance in the healthcare sector. An efficient healthcare system of the future should empower medical practitioners and patients.

We are glad improvements are seen along this trend. According to a news published on BBC, we saw a story of Louisa Bravery ‘I book home care for my mum online’ is a clear point that care providers are in touch with digital trends.

According to Louisa: She needs a little personal care when other members of the family are out at school or work.

Louisa wasn’t sure how to go about things but discovered she could book her mother’s care using an online service.

That makes it a lot easier to plan care flexibly depending on when Peggy might be needing a carer.

“I just log in via the internet using my phone and just select the number of hours and the day and the time I want the carer to come. It’s really quick and also the payment’s all done online,” Louisa says.

At whitecrest Care Services, we identify with this trend. As an agency regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), we have made it an obligation to take advantage of technology to provide quality healthcare to everyone at all times.

New technology keeps emerging and harnessed likewise both for booking carers and also facilitating remote monitoring of the elderly, so reducing the need to visit homes every now and then.

We have seen technologies like personal alarms, GPS tracking devices and movement sensors for 24 hours monitoring, tablet computers and video conferencing to keep in touch with carers, music reminders and a whole lot more.

Graham Allen, Hampshire’s director of adults’ health and care, says there have been a massive savings of £4.7m over the period of three years because of fewer visits by carers, thanks to the use of technology.

“Crucially, it’s freed up formal care time, doing those tasks that only human beings can deliver to other humans. So it’s a win-win,” he says.

No doubt, technology has come to stay, and it would be right to expect even more developments in the nearest future. At whitecrest Care, we are committed to following technological trends and deploying them in the cause of our services.

We are proud to say; that we move mountains for you.


Carers ‘need mandatory LGBT training’

According to a YouGov research, there are an estimated 1 million LGBT people over the age of 55 in the United Kingdom. They are very much more likely than their heterosexual peers to be single and live alone, and also less likely to have children or see family members hover around them.

They are also twice unlikely to rely on health and social care services and paid help.

The CQC, known to regulate the industry activities, stated that care workers were expected to have a care certificate, but there was no mandatory training in the industry.

The government has also stated that making “carer training” mandatory was not possible as care providers were private employers.

According to news published on BBC, one man told the Victoria Derbyshire programme that: Discrimination is “alive and kicking,” with many older people fearing abuse from care workers.

As published on the BBC website, Paul Webley, a coordinator at Opening Doors London says older people are right to be concerned. He said:

“I absolutely know that homophobia is alive and kicking in the care industry.

“I’ve met many people who tell me stories of carers who, when they realise they’re a gay woman or a gay man, don’t want to be washing them.”

Research carried out by LGBT rights charity Stonewall in 2011 found that half of those surveyed would not feel comfortable being “out” to care home staff and one in three would not be comfortable being out to hospital staff, a paid carer, social workers or to their housing provider.

Stonewall’s campaign director Paul Twocock said a one-size-fits-all approach to equality and diversity had created gaps in how LGBT patients of all ages were cared for.

“Health and social care staff need better equality and diversity training to understand and meet the needs of all LGBT patients and service users, including older people,” he said.

It is difficult to get official figures on the scale of the issue as the main regulatory bodies – the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman – both said they did not record complaints specifically concerning homophobia.

At whitecrest Care, it has become evident to us, that we have a good number of LGBT living in the UK, it is very true to admit that they deserve care and the very best of it. We say NO to every form of discrimination, especially against the LGBT.

In response to this menace, we are proud to offer all required and necessary training to caregivers who would work with us, so as to provide care with a touch of excellence to everyone at all times.

Detailed information about the training and upcoming with be made available on our website soon, so keep a regular visit and you would not miss out on current updates.

We move mountains for you….


One In every 200 people In UK are homeless, according to Shelter

More than 300,000 people in Britain – equivalent to one in every 200 – are officially recorded as homeless or living in inadequate homes, according to figures released by the charity Shelter.

Using official government data and freedom of information returns from local authorities, it estimates that 307,000 people are sleeping rough, or accommodated in temporary housing, bed and breakfast rooms, or hostels – an increase of 13,000 over the past year.
The shelter said the figures were an underestimate as they did not include people trapped in so-called “hidden homelessness”, who have nowhere to live but are not recorded as needing housing assistance and end up “sofa surfing”.
London, where one in every 59 people is homeless, remains Britain’s homelessness centre. Of the top 50 local authority homelessness “hotspots”, 18 were in Greater London, with Newham, where one in 27 residents are homeless, worst hit.

However, while London’s homeless rates have remained largely stable over the past year, the figures show the problem is becoming worse in leafier commuter areas bordering the capital, such as Broxbourne, Luton, and Chelmsford.

Big regional cities have also seen substantial year-on-year increases in the rate of homelessness. In Manchester, one in 154 people are homeless (compared with one in 266 in 2016); in Birmingham, one in 88 are homeless (119); in Bristol, one in 170 are affected (199).
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It’s shocking to think that today, more than 300,000 people in Britain are waking up homeless. Some will have spent the night shivering on a cold pavement, others crammed into a dingy hostel room with their children. And what is worse, many are simply unaccounted for.

“On a daily basis, we speak to hundreds of people and families who are desperately trying to escape the devastating trap of homelessness. A trap that is tightening thanks to decades of failure to build enough affordable homes and the impact of welfare cuts.”

Although public perceptions of homelessness are dominated by rough sleeping, Shelter points out that the single leading cause of recorded homelessness is the ending of a private tenancy, accounting for three in every 10 cases, and often triggered by a combination of soaring rents and housing benefit cuts.

Shelter’s figures show that as of April this year 281,000 people were living in temporary accommodation in Britain. A further 21,300 were in single homeless hostels or social services housing, while 4,500 were rough sleeping.


Less than 5% of problem drinkers amount to one third of alcohol consumption In UK

Four per cent of UK drinkers who have the most harmful alcohol consumption habits account for a third of all the alcohol drunk in the country, public health chiefs have revealed.

The “staggering” statistic was revealed as part of the evidence to MPs on the potential impact of a 50p minimum price per unit of alcohol in England.

Doctors said the change would benefit the two million people in this group by making very strong alcohol less affordable.

Director of alcohol, drugs and tobacco at Public Health England (PHE), Rosanna O’Connor said minimum price police would “exquisitely target” the strongest, cheapest alcohol – typically high strength ciders – with negligible impact on moderate drinkers.

“A staggeringly small group of people, about four per cent of the population, are drinking just under a third of the alcohol consumed in the country, about two million people.


Big rise In number of middle-aged people suffering strokes, research suggests

The average age of people suffering a stroke for the first time has fallen over the past 10 years, with more than a third happening in middle-age, the latest figures show.

While the majority – 58% – of strokes still happen in older age, 38% occur between the ages of 40 and 69, according to data from Public Health England (PHE).

This is up from 33% in 2007.
The average age for men having a stroke fell from 71 to 68 between 2007 and 2016, while for women it fell from 75 to 73.

Experts have urged people to be aware of the signs of a stroke, as the research shows the condition does not just affect the elderly.

Professor Julia Verne, director of PHE, said: “Stroke is still one of the leading causes of death in England. While it’s often associated with older people, the latest research shows that people are having strokes at a younger age.
“Everyone needs to be aware of the signs.”

One in six people in England will suffer from a stroke in their lifetime, PHE said, and it is estimated that about 30% of those people will go on to experience another one.

Some 57,000 people in England had their first stroke in 2016, the data showed.

A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, and is the third most common cause of premature death in the UK. There are about 32,000 stroke-related deaths in England each year.

Professor Verne added: “Calling 999 as soon as you see even one of the symptoms develop – in the face, arms and speech – is essential. Speedy treatment will help prevent deaths and disability.”

People aged between 40 and 74 have been urged to get an NHS health check to identify if they are at risk of a stroke.

Juliet Bouverie, chief executive of the Stroke Association, said: “We have said time and again that stroke devastates lives in an instant.