Government must clamp down homelessness as winter approaches

At Mayor’s Question Time yesterday, local London Assembly Member, Joanne McCartney AM, raised the issue of rising homelessness on London’s streets. Her question to the Mayor comes in the wake of the housing charity, Shelter, releasing data revealing that approximately 170,000 Londoners do not have a place to call home.

The latest City Hall figures show that between January and March 2018, there were a total of 103 rough sleepers recorded in Haringey. Across London, this figure is 3,103, representing a 20% rise in those living on the streets compared to the previous quarter in 2018.

During yesterday’s Mayor’s Question Time (MQT), Ms McCartney highlighted the Chancellor’s failure in his recent Budget announcement to announce further measures to be put in place reduce the injustices of homelessness and rough sleeping.

In response, the Mayor called on the Government to do more to tackle the causes of homelessness, such as increasing the provision of social housing. He also agreed to write to the new Secretary of State for Work & Pensions asking her to put the brakes on the roll-out of Universal Credit and ensure that homelessness advice was available at local job centres.

The Mayor has made the assessment that to end homelessness in London the Government would need to invest £574m over five years into a broad range of dedicated programmes and initiatives.

Last winter the Mayor invested record sums into rough sleeping provision and he changes the policy so that cold weather shelters were open the first night freezing temperatures were predicted, rather than the third.

In the summer, City Hall launched a new Action Plan to tackle rough sleeping with proposals to double the number of outreach workers, provide more funding to local cold weather shelters, bolster the No Second Night Out service, and improve the access for homeless Londoners to vital mental health services.

Local London Assembly Member, Joanne McCartney AM, said:

“With winter approaching and Universal Credit being rolled out across London, it is sad and frustrating to see this unacceptable rise in homelessness.

“The Government had a chance to change this with the recent Budget announcement, but the Chancellor didn’t even mention the issue in his speech.

“At yesterday’s Mayor’s Question Time, it was positive to hear the range of actions that City Hall are taking on this issue. It was also good to gain assurances from the Mayor that he will write to the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions asking her to slam the brakes on the disastrous roll out of Universal Credit in London.”

You can watch Joanne’s question to the Mayor here; https://youtu.be/-SJFxoK0dzQ