Friday, 2 June 2017

Rough sleeping

The two big concerns about Neath today, judging by letters to the Ferret, are the lack of public cleanliness in the town and rough sleeping. As a Westminster candidate, I have to reply to electors' letters that the remedy for both is largely in the hands of the Welsh government and the county borough council.

However, the Liberal Democrat manifesto does offer some hope to the young homeless, restoration of the cuts to their housing benefits. Tim Farron obviously feels for them. He has said:

It is a national scandal that so many people are sleeping on the streets in 21st century Britain.
By increasing support for homelessness prevention and properly funding emergency accommodation, we can end rough sleeping across the country. The evidence suggests that supporting people and giving them long-term, stable places to stay is far more successful in tackling homelessness than constantly moving them to different temporary accommodation.

Under this government, homelessness has soared and the stripping of young people of housing benefit threatens to make matters even worse. This election is a chance to change the direction of this country and stand up for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united."

The weapon Tim has chosen in the fight against homelessness is Housing First, which has had "huge success in countries such as Finland where it has all but eradicated rough sleeping." (Inside Housing, 10th April). This article reports that the Welsh Government is considering moving towards Housing First and even the Conservative minister Sajid Javed has backed a feasibility study. It is surprising that Jeremy Corbyn has not publicly committed UK Labour to it.

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