A £100MILLION national cash injection to guarantee rough sleepers a safe place to stay during the winter has been backed by Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Worcester.
Lynn Denham welcomed the party’s pledge for long-term funding to tackle the surge in the number of people forced to sleep rough which will ensure emergency accommodation will be available in every area whenever temperatures fall below freezing.
The cash will be drawn from a £560million levy on second homes used as holiday homes annouced by Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey at the Labour Party conference in September.
As well as extra emergency shelter, this will also fund key-workers to link rough sleepers with health and housing support to keep them off the streets for good, given the cold weather enables contact with rough sleepers that are otherwise hard to reach.
The announcement forms part of the Labour Party’s plan to end rough sleeping within the first term of the next Labour government.
Current estimates reveal there were 4,751 rough sleepers on any one night last autumn nationwide, a figure which has more than doubled since 2010 according to Labour chiefs with 90 per cent of council areas – 293 out of 326 recording at least one person sleeping rough.
“Rough sleeping has risen every year since 2010 as a direct result of decisions made by Conservative ministers and the problem is getting worse. It is a national disgrace,” said Mrs Denham.
“In Worcester agencies work well together and a night shelter is provided during very cold weather, but we never know from one year to the next if funding will be available. Last year, the night shelter was accessed by 96 individuals across the county.
“This year the emergency shelter will be open due to the generosity of CPP staff and volunteers following a fund-raising sleepout.
“Labour’s pledge to end rough sleeping for good by properly funding night shelters in every area, ending the benefits freeze and building a million more low cost homes will make a real difference to those who find themselves on the streets,” she added.