Hundreds of people will join a mass rally outside Downing Street today (Wednesday 15 April), as part of March for the Homeless 2015, an international protest action to raise awareness of the treatment of homeless people in the UK, Ireland and beyond.
WHEN: Wednesday 15 April at 18:00
WHERE: Opposite Downing Street, Whitehall, London SW1
Homelessness has risen by a staggering 55 per cent since David Cameron became prime minister in 2010, with 742 people sleeping rough every night in the capital alone – a 37 per cent increase on 2013.
Today’s action in London - centred on the theme of ‘No more deaths on our streets’- will see grassroots campaigners, housing and homeless groups - directly involved in the fight against homeless - come together to serve food and distribute essential items to the homeless in a carnival atmosphere, complete with speakers, music, performances and workshops.
There will also be a voter registration drive to encourage homeless people to register to vote in the upcoming general election on 7 May.
Amid mounting concern that a number of London councils are criminalising homelessness by making rough sleeping illegal under Operation Encompass, demonstrators are calling on London mayor Boris Johnson to end the national homeless scandal.
Pilgrim Tucker, Unite Community coordinator, said: “Unite is proud to support this important day of action. David Cameron’s coalition government has inflicted misery on millions and is now guilty of turning a blind eye to the horrendous plight of our society’s most vulnerable citizens.
“Homelessness has risen by a shocking 55 per cent under Cameron’s watch. He can run but he can’t hide, we are calling on David Cameron and London mayor Boris Johnson to face up to this national scandal and to end the criminalisation of homelessness.”
Jon Glackin, Street Kitchen coordinator and Unite Community member, said: “People are dying on our streets, in hostels and because of homelessness, last year in London alone at least 149 people tragically died. We will be remembering all those that died and are calling on this government to end this national disgrace.
“People need support from society not to be kicked when they are down. They are being killed by the cold and indifference, and are running out of places to turn to as austerity hits the services they use.
“We are coming together to say: ‘enough is enough’, there is no reason for people to go without adequate housing, food and good health in the sixth richest country in the world. Today we say, there can be no more deaths on our streets.”
Note to editors:
For more information on Operation Encompass, see: The Met Police Service and six London boroughs combat begging and rough sleeping
For more information on March for the Homeless 2015 and action group Street Kitchen.
For more information please contact, Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774 146 777 or 020 3371 2065
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey