Labour has pledged to put an end to homeless people having to sleep rough on the streets and park benches. In a new commitment today, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey MP announced Labour will effectively end rough sleeping within its first term in government by removing the need for anyone to sleep on the streets. He has written to the Prime Minister to ask her to back Labour’s plans.
As a first plank of a new national rough sleeping strategy, a Labour government would double the number of homes ‘ring-fenced’ for people who have slept on the streets, renewing a housing scheme started by Conservative Peer and former Housing Minister Sir George Young for London in 1991.
The Clearing House scheme run by homelessness charity St Mungo’s on behalf of the Greater London Authority provides 3750 flats in more than 40 housing associations across London for people who have a history of rough sleeping. It is estimated that 14 people slept rough in Tameside in 2015.
Under Labour’s plan, 4,000 permanent new reserved flats or houses would be created, and the scheme extended beyond the capital. Labour is challenging the government to implement the proposal by striking an agreement with housing associations to make the accommodation available now, and provide funding for replacements.
Andrew Gwynne MP, said:
“Labour is pledging 4,000 extra homes ring-fenced for people who have been sleeping rough. We want to take drastic action to effectively end rough sleeping. There is simply no excuse for the Tory government putting such little funding into homelessness prevention. It is shocking that homelessness has doubled under the Conservatives and we must put every effort in preventing it.”
“A Labour government would put a stop to this national shame and provide homeless people with a place to call home and rebuild their lives.”
Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey MP said:
“Homelessness is not inevitable in a country as decent and well off as ours. This problem can be solved, but it demands a new national will to do so. The rapidly rising number of people sleeping in doorways and on park benches shames us all. There can be no excuses – it must end. Full stop.