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Homeless People Spend Christmas Sleeping in London Streets

World | Reuters | December 26, 2017, 4:50 pm
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 Homeless man Kel sleeps in the spot where he lives in the subway next to Hyde Park Station in London, Britain. Almost 1,000 people sleep rough in the British capital, according to official figures, while more than 4,000 are on the streets across the country every night. (Image: Reuters)

Homeless man Kel sleeps in the spot where he lives in the subway next to Hyde Park Station in London, Britain. Almost 1,000 people sleep rough in the British capital, according to official figures, while more than 4,000 are on the streets across the country every night. (Image: Reuters)

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 Bedding and possessions belonging to a homeless person lie in a doorway next to Barclays Bank in Westminster, London. There is wide agreement that the problem has become worse in the last seven years, leading to criticism of the Conservative government's approach and accusations that its austerity policies, including changes to welfare payments for housing, are partly to blame. (Image: Reuters)

Bedding and possessions belonging to a homeless person lie in a doorway next to Barclays Bank in Westminster, London. There is wide agreement that the problem has become worse in the last seven years, leading to criticism of the Conservative government's approach and accusations that its austerity policies, including changes to welfare payments for housing, are partly to blame. (Image: Reuters)

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 Tents and possessions belonging to Kevin, aged 50 and Bryan, aged 51, are lined up where they live on the street outside Piccadilly Theatre in London. Outside London's Piccadilly theatre where tickets cost up to 110 pounds and a banner advertising the musical

Tents and possessions belonging to Kevin, aged 50 and Bryan, aged 51, are lined up where they live on the street outside Piccadilly Theatre in London. Outside London's Piccadilly theatre where tickets cost up to 110 pounds and a banner advertising the musical "Annie" reads "It's a hard knock life", Bryan and Kevin sleep in small tents on the street. Bryan, 51, who last year nearly died from pneumonia, became homeless after personal problems led him to drink and drugs. "It's worse than it used to be right now, but I think it's down to a lot of things," he says. "The way people are now - everything is going up and costing more and then the other stuff, services and care, humanity, it's going down." (Image: Reuters)

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 A homeless man sleeps in the cardboard box where he lives, outside Barclays Bank on Fleet Street in London. In a report this week, parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) called the extent of homelessness across England

A homeless man sleeps in the cardboard box where he lives, outside Barclays Bank on Fleet Street in London. In a report this week, parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) called the extent of homelessness across England "a national crisis". "The latest official figures hammer home the shameful state of homelessness in England and the abject failure of the government's approach to addressing the misery suffered by many thousands of families and individuals," PAC chairman Meg Hillier said. (Image: Reuters)

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 Cardboard marks the spot belonging to a homeless person, near Hyde Park in London. The charity Shelter estimates more than 300,000 people in Britain are homeless, a figure which has risen by 13,000 in a year. It says one in every 200 people in England are homeless and 128,000 children will be without a home this Christmas. Official figures show that there were 4,134 rough sleepers counted on a single night in autumn 2016, an increase of 134 percent since 2010 when there were fewer than 1,800. (Image: Reuters)

Cardboard marks the spot belonging to a homeless person, near Hyde Park in London. The charity Shelter estimates more than 300,000 people in Britain are homeless, a figure which has risen by 13,000 in a year. It says one in every 200 people in England are homeless and 128,000 children will be without a home this Christmas. Official figures show that there were 4,134 rough sleepers counted on a single night in autumn 2016, an increase of 134 percent since 2010 when there were fewer than 1,800. (Image: Reuters)

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 Bedding and possessions belonging to Jimmy, aged 51, lie in the subway near Waterloo Station in London.

Bedding and possessions belonging to Jimmy, aged 51, lie in the subway near Waterloo Station in London. "All you really want is a gaff (place) of your own," says Jimmy. "People come from out of town into the city at Christmas - you make more money - so it's harder for us who are here all the time," said Jimmy, 51, who originally hails from Glasgow in Scotland. (Image: Reuters)

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 The spot belonging to a homeless person is marked up outside Westminster Station in London. There is both a human and financial cost to the problem. The average age of death of someone who is rough-sleeping is 47 and people living on the street are 17 times more likely to be the victims of violence than those in settled accommodation.

The spot belonging to a homeless person is marked up outside Westminster Station in London. There is both a human and financial cost to the problem. The average age of death of someone who is rough-sleeping is 47 and people living on the street are 17 times more likely to be the victims of violence than those in settled accommodation. "I'm getting to a point where I can't do it anymore, I'm trying to save my money but it's hard," said John, 19, one of a small group of men living under Waterloo Bridge. (Image: Reuters)

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 Bedding and possessions belonging to Andrew, aged 31, lie at the spot where he lives under Waterloo Bridge in London. Andrew, who now has a place to live but returns to hang out with his homeless friends under the bridge, recalls how he was offered drugs on his first night on the streets:

Bedding and possessions belonging to Andrew, aged 31, lie at the spot where he lives under Waterloo Bridge in London. Andrew, who now has a place to live but returns to hang out with his homeless friends under the bridge, recalls how he was offered drugs on his first night on the streets: "I said 'no mate, I'm not into that' and he said 'It’s a free trial, no strings.'" While he has escaped the streets, Andrew is pessimistic about John's future. "He won't get himself off the streets, it’s almost impossible without help," he said. (Image: Reuters)

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 Bedding and possessions belonging to Andrei who is homeless, lie at the spot where he lives near to Kings Cross Station in London. As to the financial impact, the National Audit Office, parliament's spending watchdog, said local authorities had spent 1.15 billion pounds ($1.54 billion) on homelessness services in 2015-16. NAO head Amyas Morse said in September the government's

Bedding and possessions belonging to Andrei who is homeless, lie at the spot where he lives near to Kings Cross Station in London. As to the financial impact, the National Audit Office, parliament's spending watchdog, said local authorities had spent 1.15 billion pounds ($1.54 billion) on homelessness services in 2015-16. NAO head Amyas Morse said in September the government's "recent performance in reducing homelessness therefore cannot be considered value for money." (Image: Reuters)

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 A loaf of bread is placed alongside bedding belonging to Jason, aged 41, who is homeless, at the entrance to Piccadilly Station in London. Meanwhile for some of those who have been homeless for a number of years, getting off the streets can be difficult, especially for those battling drug additions. One of those is Bryan outside the Piccadilly Theatre. Despite his problems, he says he refuses to take any money from children, recalling how one girl recently tried to give him her pocket money.

A loaf of bread is placed alongside bedding belonging to Jason, aged 41, who is homeless, at the entrance to Piccadilly Station in London. Meanwhile for some of those who have been homeless for a number of years, getting off the streets can be difficult, especially for those battling drug additions. One of those is Bryan outside the Piccadilly Theatre. Despite his problems, he says he refuses to take any money from children, recalling how one girl recently tried to give him her pocket money. "Afterwards I sat and I cried," he said. (Image: Reuters)

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