Homelessness is recognised by the UN as “one of the most severe violations of the right to adequate housing”, and for those in power to see the increase in homelessness in the UK as anything other than evidence that we need to address poverty and systemic inequality displays a lack of judgement, and perhaps more worryingly, empathy.

To the horror of many, including a few from within her own party, Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, recently said, “We will always support those who are genuinely homeless. But we cannot allow our streets to be taken over by rows of tents occupied by people, many of them from abroad, living on the streets as a lifestyle choice.”

She also praised the compassion of the British people, going on to highlight the aspects of homelessness that she feels are "blighting our communities". The wonderful thing about human rights is they aren't contingent on race, or nationality, and even those "from abroad" have the right to adequate shelter.

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There are many reasons someone may experience homelessness, such as escaping domestic violence, parental abuse, leaving prison with no route into employment or accommodation, leaving care or the armed forces, experiencing addiction to alcohol or other substances, having a physical or mental disability, or illness, being unable to work but also not able to access benefits, in fact any sudden change of someone's circumstances can lead to homelessness.

Each of these issues, through thoughtful and compassionate legislation, could be alleviated; combined they represent an ever widening gap through which people fall under the watch of a government which will then blame them for where they land. Charities having to fill the gaps of a woefully ineffective government are overwhelmed, with an ever-growing clientele of people desperate to survive, to make it through yet another crisis our leaders seem entirely unequipped, or unwilling, to handle.

This government is so utterly beyond parody that even to attempt hyperbole about their cruelty would risk giving them ideas for their next ludicrous soundbite. The same government so adamant that those seeking asylum or immigrating to this country divert money and resources from other people, are the very same who continually deny the most vulnerable in our society the dignity of having their human rights met.

The same government who vehemently advocate for free speech when it is relevant to their interests, also espouse draconian attitudes to fair and legal protest when those who disagree hold the banners, even going so far as to eject members of their own party who speak up in disagreement. With every headline and statement a careful combination of controversy and cruelty, my shame grows exponentially. I want to be proud of the people who lead our society, I want to see the people in charge serving not their own interests, but the public, the people by whom (at least some of them) were elected to lead.

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Every penny spent on legislation that makes the lives of people experiencing homelessness more difficult, from the wages of the politicians drafting it, to their travel expenses, to their subsidised meals and even the cost of the ink it would take to print their agendas could've been better spent trying to combat poverty and inequality.

It costs more to make homelessness more palatable for the general public than it ever could to house people. Money can always be found for the endeavours deemed worthy by our government, and it's time we started investing in the support our most vulnerable people. To deprive someone of something as basic as a tent, is barbaric. If you don't like witnessing the effects of homelessness, direct your attention to the people causing it, those perpetuating the cycle of poverty and those who instead of legislating against homelessness, seemingly seek to criminalise it; 1,313 people died while experiencing homelessness in the UK last year.

The number is thought to be higher, as these are only the statistics provided by local authorities who responded to a freedom of information request. It shouldn't take a death toll to convince people to care about affording people their basic human rights, but it's important to remember and acknowledge how disrespectful and inappropriate the comments made by Suella Braverman are to the memory of these people.

It's also important to keep in mind that this opinion is not isolated and comes directly from the current government who clearly feel emboldened to espouse and support such dangerous rhetoric.

When the human body drops below 35°c, hypothermia sets in. To put this into perspective, this can happen when a person is exposed to temperatures below 10°c for extended periods. Add in rain, sleet and snow, add in windchill, add in malnourishment, and now, according to Suella Braverman, subtract the only form of shelter many people are likely to have.

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To describe homelessness as a lifestyle choice shows both a blatant disregard for the humanity of unhoused people, and a complete ignorance of the actions which have driven many people onto the streets. For many, the cost of living crisis has opened their eyes to the true apathy displayed by our leaders. To hear multi-millionaires King Charles and Rishi Sunak, neither elected to rule and one wearing a hat worth more than it would take to solve the cost of living crisis, espouse platitudes about how challenging this crisis is to solve, is startlingly ironic.

Homelessness is a lifestyle choice, on that I agree wholeheartedly with Mrs Braverman, it represents a series of choices made not by those in poverty, but by those in power. Our government must no longer choose to neglect, to demonise, ostracise and divide, rather to protect, to support, to include and simply just to try harder.

It becomes ever more apparent that our government does not care how many drown under the crushing current of poverty, so long as the flailing of impoverished people in their death throes doesn't splash them. The failures of this government can no longer be attributed to ignorance, incompetence or inexperience, this is calculated cruelty.

I don't promote or align myself with any political party, or seek to convince you to switch to someone else or to back anyone because I believe everyone should research and vote based on their own morals and ethical goals, and that we must hold whomever currently holds power to the highest possible standard.

People are going to die this winter: cold, hungry, and scared. Every premature and preventable death should haunt those who had the power for compassion, and instead chose cruelty. I urge those in our government to make the lifestyle choice to lead with empathy.