By Cllr Sam Stopp – LCEH, Chair
Yesterday the Tories set out their legislative agenda for the coming year. It was one of the most heartless Queen’s speeches in living memory.
Under the last Labour government, homelessness fell substantially. In 2015, government statistics showed that 3,569 people slept rough on any one night across England – this is over double the number counted in 2010.
However, respected homelessness charities, such as Crisis, call for the government to commit to ending homelessness, because it can be done and has been done in several places in the world – most recently in the Canadian city of Medicine Hat. As an immediate measure, the government in Westminster should follow the example set by the Welsh assembly of requiring local councils by law to house the homeless.
Now that the economy is in recovery, the government has no excuse but to commit to ending homelessness in all its forms. Based on the Shelter definition, this includes:
- The chronic homeless and those sleeping rough
- Those staying in temporary accommodation
- Those staying in hostels and night shelters
- Those at risk of violence or in poor conditions
- Those living in a squat
- Those living with people they wouldn’t normally live with
- Those depriving themselves of essentials due to living in unaffordable accommodation
A commitment to ending homelessness would be the mark of a civilised government. In one of the richest countries in the world, the current failure to make such a commitment is a moral outrage.