St Helens MP pledges homeless pledge

St Helens MP Marie Rimmer says Labour have pledged to make rough sleeping a thing of the past
St Helens MP Marie Rimmer says Labour have pledged to make rough sleeping a thing of the past

St Helens MP Marie Rimmer has welcomed labour’s pledge to make rough sleeping history.

In a new commitment, 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.

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.

It is estimated that 220 people slept rough in the North West in 2015, and that Labour’s plan would mean around 250 new ring-fenced homes for the region as a whole.

Ms Rimmer said: “The last Labour government proved its commitment by acting to reduce rough sleeping by 75%. However, since 2010, firstly under the coalition and now the Tories, it has doubled.

“The fact that in 2016 there will 120,000 children homeless in the UK at Christmas is a scandal.”

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.

“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.”