A government minister has visited a Brighton charity to learn about the obstacles faced by homeless people when they vote or register to vote.
Chris Skidmore, Minister for the Constitution, also learnt about the help that they were given to overcome those obstacles when he met homeless people at Brighton Housing Trust (BHT).
Later the same day – Monday 7 August – the minister visited Blind Veterans UK and Brighton and Hove Speakout as part of his Every Vote Matters tour.
Mr Skidmore heard from all three charities about how they raised awareness of participation in the democratic process for the recent general election and what support they provided to residents and clients.
He said after his visits: “Brighton Housing Trust, Blind Veterans UK and Brighton and Hove Speakout are fantastic organisations that ensure people experiencing homelessness and those with disabilities feel confident, empowered and remain an active part of their society.
— Speak Out (@bhspeakout) August 7, 2017
“A big part of this is being able to register to vote and remain a part of our democracy.
“Today’s visits have helped me understand how we can support vulnerable people to ensure that ours is a truly inclusive democracy.
“Nearly three million applications to register to vote were received online between (Tuesday) 18 April and (Monday) 22 May but there are still under-represented groups we can improve the processes for.
“Regardless of who you are, or how you vote, every voice matters and we encourage you to register to vote.”
BHT’s chief executive, Andy Winter, said: “We told the minister that homeless people, especially those who are street homeless, can be multiply excluded.
“To know that their right to vote is being considered at the highest level in government is a great encouragement.
“Voting changes things, not always in a way politicians want, but it is at the heart of our democracy.
“Chris Skidmore showed a deep understanding and awareness of many of the issues we deal with on a daily basis.
“He was keen to learn how voter registration and voting itself can be maximised among people who are often invisible and ignored.”