Goldsmiths student’s critique of homelessness policy wins Hugo Young Award

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A first-hand account of homelessness written by a Goldsmiths, University of London student has won a prestigious Guardian award for political opinion writing.

More success for the School of Journalism

Daniel Lavelle, who is studying for an MA in journalism has claimed the inaugural Hugo Young Award for the best Opinion piece written by a postgraduate journalism student.

Daniel’s article describes how, like many young people leaving the care system, he found himself with nowhere to live, having received almost no support from ineffective and over-stretched local authority housing services.

It portrays the experience, shared by many homeless people, of living in a residential charity, which he describes as a ‘modern day workhouse’ in which residents are compelled to carry out hard - unpaid - physical work exchange for basic provisions and a small allowance.

The piece goes on to discuss increasingly punitive public policy approaches and hardening attitudes to poor and homeless people, which effectively strip citizens of their rights and dignity.

Becky Gardiner, Senior Lecturer and Co-Convener of the MA in Journalism in the Department of Media and Communications says:

“Daniel is a most deserving winner – he has overcome considerable difficulties to come on the MA, and has taken full advantage all the opportunities the course offers.

“He is a very talented journalist, with a strong eye for a story, and his opinion piece for the Guardian makes a fresh and important contribution to the debate about homelessness.”

The prize was announced yesterday evening at a ceremony at the Guardian.  Since being uploaded to the Guardian’s website, the piece has been viewed by more that 50,000 people.

Read Daniel’s piece here

The Hugo Young award was created to honour the long-standing political columnist, who died in 2003. The judging panel comprises senior Guardian writers and trustees of the Guardian Foundation.

Daniel wins £500 and a week’s work experience, shadowing the Guardian’s political correspondents in Parliament. More details of the award are here 

Of the four students shortlisted for the prize, two were from Goldsmiths: Daniel, and Kirtey Verma, who is also undertaking an MA in journalism. This success follows MA in Journalism alumna Amalia Illgner being highly commended award in the PPA New Talent awards earlier this month.