It's almost five years since David Cameron set out his ambition to "end the uncertainty, indignity and suffering of rough sleeping" in the government paper 'Vision to end rough sleeping'. This ambition has not been met and the latest statistics provide more evidence that the numbers are moving in the wrong direction entirely.
The support so far has meant that our donations can do more than provide a short term fix to the problem, but rather we are being able to present shelters with long term supplies of care packages, so that women who otherwise struggled can now plan ahead and equip themselves fully when it comes to this critical aspect of their health.
The shocking effects homelessness can have on a child's mental health can't be overstated. Shelter recently visited a number of primary schools in London where school pastoral workers spoke about the anguish that their homeless pupils go through, and the stories we heard were quite simply heart-breaking.
TOTM is a campaign we have set up which intends to raise donations of sanitary products, baby wipes and clean underwear for women facing homelessness in and around Manchester City Centre. Lack of access to sanitary products might only be a small part of the daily challenges that homeless women face but I don't think we can underestimate the value of allowing women to maintain their comfort and dignity.
We must learn from the past. The last generation of mass council house building included some ugly monolithic estates that did not meet people's aspirations, as well as some better designs. The next generation of low-rent homes need to look like any home you'd see on an ordinary street, and work for the same people who live on those streets.
Today the Capital's streets are in crisis - the number of under-25s sleeping rough in one of the richest cities in the world has more than doubled since the last mayoral election. Whoever succeeds Boris Johnson in May won't just have the platform to express concern and talk about change, they'll have the power, the public support, and a multi-million pound budget to work with London's boroughs to make homelessness and rough sleeping a thing of the past. But how should they do it and where should they start?
This holistic response, from frontline to specialist support, is what Agenda has been formed to campaign for. We can't keep consigning these women to lives of abuse and exclusion. More than three-quarters of the 1.2million women affected by this kind of abuse are mothers: for their sake and that of the next generation of girls, we've got to start getting this right.
My Christmas pledge. I will continue to make the case for tackling health inequalities and highlighting policies which promote the inverse care law, and I will continue to be a beacon for the case that the wider determinants of health and wellbeing are fundamental to health and general practice, where relationship continuity is a paramount. Will you join me?