On the 9th of March this year, Birmingham Socialist Students had the great joy of hosting a fundraising night to support the Albert Street Project – a charity organisation that provides meals, clothes and company to the homeless and less fortunate people of Birmingham. The night consisted of live music delivered by the alternative folk performer Mikey Kenney (see his website here), with representatives from Albert Street and many of our own Socialist Students present.

The rise of homelessness and the issue of destitution are prominent concerns in the socialist eye, with modern Britain facing a housing crisis that seems to have no end under current austerity measures. Houses are being produced as commodities that are commercially viable, rather than buildings that are affordable, and provide the basic human right of shelter to those who reside in this country. As the Homeless Link notes, some of the wider forces that cause homelessness include ‘poverty, inequality, housing supply and [a lack of] affordability, unemployment, [and] welfare and income policies’ (x). These are factors that are not being addressed or resolved by the Conservative government, which allows conditions to worsen. Between 2010 and 2015, the Homeless Link has found that in the first quarter of the year, there has been a 29% increase in the number of applications of homelessness made. In the mentioned period, the number of households that became homeless due to rent arrears doubled, and the number of households made homeless due to an assured short-hold tenancy coming to an end has increased by 216%. This is a rising issue that impacts all groups of people, as it was also found that the number of households made homeless that had a ‘head of household’ over the age of sixty has increased by 62.5%.

With this in mind, Socialist Students fully supports charitable organisations that are doing what they can to help those in need before a socialist alternative can come into play to tackle the larger issue. We are also especially grateful to Mikey Kenney for delivering such an amazing performance for the cause, and those interested should check out his website and newly released album linked above. Cherry Reds were our hosts that night and we also thank them for being so accommodating.

A BIG shout out to the Birmingham Socialist Students! Thank you so much for inviting us to your super event, Action for Homelessness and Destitution. It was a really fantastic event, to raise attention for the challenges of homelessness and the problem for more and more people in our city as cuts to services, benefits and housing continues. We appreciate the opportunity to speak about The Albert Street Project’s work with the Homeless, and raising for us, an amazing £61.04 donation. – The Albert Street Project

Above statics can be sourced here.

Charlie Jones.

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