With an estimated 4,095 people sleeping rough or in emergency or temporary accommodation, this is a desperate problem for our city. Homelessness fell by almost two thirds under Labour but has doubled with Conservative Ministers in charge. Resolving issues relating to the street community is not an easy task, particularly at a time when the number of people on the streets in increasing. This is due to a wide number of factors, such as changes in the benefits system and an increasing number of migrants and ex-service people who are finding themselves without accommodation.
But the simple fact is that you can’t help the homeless if you refuse to build affordable homes, which this conservative government has not. House building under the Tories has dropped to the lowest level since the 1920s.
I have worked with some incredible charities over the past two years including Emmaus and Shelter, and met some amazing people doing a brilliant job at alleviating this problem. However, I believe that this problem can only truly be solved if we commit to building many more affordable homes, which is why Labour has committed to building a million new homes over the next five years, with at least half to be council houses.
Labour has also committed to setting out a new national plan to end rough sleeping within the next Parliament, starting by making available 4,000 additional homes reserved for people with a history of rough sleeping.
I am proud to support Brighton & Hove City Council who have launched a comprehensive Rough Sleeping Strategy that will pull together all the work in the city that is already going on around this agenda and bring some much needed co-ordination and accountability. Below is a link to the strategy.
When talking to constituents homelessness is an issue that comes up a lot, so please be rest assured that I am doing all I can on a strategic, local and practical level to improve the homeless situation in our city.