Homelessness cannot be solved by a single council – but here’s what we are doing

Posted On 08 Feb 2019 at 5:57 pm

There has been a lot of questioning of the number of rough sleepers in the city of late.

People say we are counting in the wrong way or we looked in the wrong places.

This is a smokescreen for those wanting to undermine the efforts being made and distracts from two inescapable truths.

Firstly, that Tory austerity policies over the past 10 years have created a homelessness crisis and untold suffering, which is a disgrace to this country.

And secondly that despite this, the Labour administration with charities and the community have managed to reduce significantly the numbers who are on our streets at night.

Make no mistake, every week many new people are still being forced into rough sleeping due to out-of-control rents, universal credit, insecure jobs and a chronically underfunded NHS.

But we have worked steadily with our partners to put in place the services that are helping people to turn their lives around.

And our ongoing monitoring of the numbers of rough sleepers has seen a steady reduction as new initiatives have rolled out.

Just this week we have identified new money from within the council budget which we propose to use to fund an all-year-round night shelter.

We are also preventing more people than ever becoming homeless by working with them much earlier while we are also providing the largest number of new council homes the city has seen in decades.

Unlike our neighbouring Tory authorities in East and West Sussex, Labour will prioritise homeless prevention.

This is despite the massive cuts to our overall budget which are in no way mitigated by recent short-term grants by a government finally forced to see who is literally sleeping on their own doorstep.

But a national homelessness crisis cannot be solved by one single local authority or by a city full of willing volunteers who are desperate to help.

We need a government that is willing to provide a decent home and a secure well-paid job for everyone – and a properly funded welfare system as well.

Councillor Clare Moonan is Labour’s lead member for rough sleeping.

  1. David Watkins Reply

    Nothing exemplifies the ineptness, negligence and dysfunction of the Labour Brighton Council and its Adult Social Care department more than The West Pier Project. Claire Noonan & her shambolic Labour Party are not fit for purpose. Under the current leadership there have been at least 2 attempts to relocate this diabolically conceived and managed project to 2 other locations WITHOUT any meaningful consultation or engagement of residents whatsoever. Google West Pier Project and see what comes up – going back years and years – all on Chaotic Labours BHCC watch and never any meaningful intervention. It is only because the residents of this city were able to mobilise and lobby BHCC that this failed project was not imposed upon communities already struggling with more than their share of Antisocial Behaviour and problems associated with other hostels (also handsomely supported by BHCC). A council that is complicit in directly or indirectly imposing misery upon neighbourhoods through its own incompetence and arrogance it not fit for purpose. ASC department even more so. Talk to care workers, BHCC employees “off the record” – the revelations are incredulous.
    Easy to blame the government – take a look at our city compared to neighbouring towns – an utter disgrace.

    Labour out in May.

  2. Rolivan Reply

    There is obviously a Homeless problem throughout the UK,however as the City has become one of Sanctuary then those with no real reason to be here are able to impose their way of life on the council Taxpayers.

  3. Alex Reply

    “Labour will prioritise homeless prevention”. Labour has been a major contributor to homelessness in this city through ill-conceived legislation. One of the consequences of the Article 4 legislation that has already been implemented in some wards of the city is under-occupation of 3-bedroom terraced houses. Typically, the “smaller” single room in 3-bed terraced houses is relatively cheap rent.; the cheapest room rentals in the city Many of these rooms are not unoccupied because only 2 people can live in the house without an HMO licence (and the room is too small to qualify for an HMO licence). Look at the ads on Rightmove – 3 bed house, 2 sharers only. This has increased per capita rental because there are not enough properties. Housing crisis, homelessness and there are many, many decent smaller 3rd bedrooms not being used effectively in this city. BHCC contributes to the crisis with this short-sighted measure.

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