Elizabeth Jewkes, Liberal Democrat candidate for Chester has welcomed the commitment from her party to end the scandal of rough sleeping in Britain. These include introducing a Housing First provider in each local authority, to put long-term homeless people straight into independent homes rather than emergency shelters. Other policies include increasing funding for local councils for homelessness prevention, reinstating housing benefit for under-21s and reversing planned cuts to Local Housing Allowance rates. “We need to tackle homelessness from both ends”, says Elizabeth. “We need to bring in measures to prevent people from becoming homeless as well as rehousing them. it is a scandal that so many people are sleeping on the streets in 21st century Britain. It’s easy to put the blame on addictions, but in my experience, addictions can be the result of homelessness as well as the source”. The number of people sleeping rough rose to 4,134 in 2016, up 16% on the previous year. The Government has estimated that homelessness costs the state up to £1 billion a year. Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said: “By increasing support for homelessness prevention and properly funding emergency accommodation, we can end rough sleeping across the country. “We will also ensure each local authority has at least one provider of Housing First services, to allow long-term homeless people to live independently in their own homes. “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." Contact: Elizabeth Jewkes Notes to Editors
- The total number of rough sleepers in Autumn 2016 was 4,134, up 16% from Autumn 2015 (link)
- The Housing First model, developed in the United States, has demonstrated high degrees of success in supporting those who are chronically street homeless according to research by homelessness charity Shelter (link).
- The total annual cost of homelessness to the state is estimated at £1 billion (link)