Visit any American city and it's unlikely you'll get to the end of your first day before you've seen a rough-sleeping wheelchair user. Most seem to sleep in that awkward contorted position usually reserved for trying to sleep on a plane, though I have seen people try and achieve some semblance of horizontalness by laying with their head and upper torso on their chair seat and their butt and legs on a bench or low wall. That's the wheelchair users that haven't had their legs blown off in service of their country, of course. I'm assuming that if you laid down on the floor to sleep in a doorway that your essential mobility aid wouldn't still be next to you in the morning.
The first time I went to America it really shocked me. I'd never seen a wheelchair user sleeping rough in the UK. My parents explained that it's because our health service and welfare state were less brutal than there and we don't tend to leave wheelchair users destitute. I was 11 when I went on that trip and the only thing I'd known was Thatcherism: She was elected as PM 13 days before I was born and in October 1990 when I left this island for the first time she was still a month short of handing the reins over to Major.
Our system has always failed people with mental health and substance abuse problems and they make up a significant proportion of our rough sleepers. Wheelchair users aren't immune from ending up without a home to call their own - especially down to the fact that accessible housing is in such short supply - but we tend to end up as hidden homeless rather than living on the streets.
For 21 years since that first trip to America it remained the case that I never saw a wheelchair user sleeping rough in Britain.
As more and more applications for disability benefits are turned down disabled people are finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet. Things will get worse in the near future when people in WRAG claiming cESA start to lose their income, and yet worse still in little over a year when half a million genuinely disabled people lose their DLA.
The fact that cuts are already starting to bite can be seen on the streets of London: Over the last few months I've seen 3 different wheelchair users hunkering down for the night on the streets of my city.
Welcome to compassionate Conservatism: Even more brutal than Thatcher.