Walker lends support for homelessness bill - The Worcester Observer

Walker lends support for homelessness bill

Worcester Editorial 3rd Nov, 2016   0

COUNCILS will be forced to do more to tackle homelessness as part of a new bill backed by Worcester’s MP Robin Walker.

The Homelessness Reduction Bill, a private members bill put forward by backbencher Bob Blackman, forces councils to assess people at risk of becoming homeless earlier than they do under current laws.

The Government has now backed the bill and said it will fund the extra costs arising from the changes.

Councils would have to help find someone a secure place to live 56 days before they are threatened with becoming homeless, currently councils have 28 days.

And they would have a further 56 days to find someone who presents themselves as homeless somewhere to live.

After passing its first hurdle in the House of Commons last Friday (October 28), the bill will now go through to the committee stage for more scrutiny.

Mr Walker was in the chamber to support the bill and said it will bring about a ‘culture shift’ in the way homelessness is tackled.

“Fundamentally, this Bill is about bringing about a cultural shift in the way we help people who are facing homelessness, by refocusing efforts on prevention instead of intervening at the point of crisis,” Mr Walker said.

“Having been encouraged to support this by St Pauls Hostel, Maggs Day Centre, Second Chance furnishings, and Hugo Sugg’s campaign in Worcester, I was very pleased to be here in Parliament and represent my constituents; many of whom had written to me asking me to support the Bill.

“Whilst the second reading passed unopposed which meant no vote, I was happy to loudly shout ‘aye’. The Bill will now progress to Committee Stage and I hope it will soon become law.

“In a good debate many of the MPs who spoke pointed out that legislation alone won’t solve this problem and of course they are right, which I why I also welcome the extra funding that Government has provided and the drive to deliver more affordable homes.”

Worcester homelessness campaigner Hugo Sugg, founder of #HugosEarthquake, said: “I would like to thank Mr Walker for his commitment to tackling homelessness in the UK and being there at the debate last week.

“It is a landmark Bill which addresses some of the faults with the current system and will go some way to improving the service people get at the point of access.

“Along with Robin, I welcome the commitments from Government and would thoroughly welcome the opportunity to come and help shape this legislation and work as there are still concerns I have and improvements which need to be seen,” he added.

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