A year ago, the Labour Campaign to End Homelessness (LCEH) was set up to encourage the party to make a commitment to end homelessness. Now key commitments have been identified to make this pledge a reality.
This is not seen as a pipe dream. Leading national homelessness charities such as Crisis and Shelter believe that by working together we can end homelessness too.
Under the last Labour government, homelessness fell substantially, but it was not eradicated. Yet in recent years, homelessness has doubled nationally according to DCLG statistics.
Locally too we have seen these national trends reflected in our city, with the number of rough sleepers on Portsmouth’s streets doubling in the past year.
A pledge to end homelessness by the Labour Party has now been formalised by the LCEH campaign group, and they have Cllr Stephen Morgan’s backing.
In an open letter to The Guardian this week the campaign group made up of MPs, councillors and party activists from across the country have called for Labour to make real the pledge to end homelessness.
The open letter states:
“We ask the Party to consider five key policies which will go towards eradicating homelessness. We also ask that the next Labour government enacts these policies in the order set out below:
- A government-led national structure involving all of the major organisations, including statutory and community sector organisations, dedicated to ending homelessness.
- Implement more efficient preventative measures and early intervention programs to stop homelessness becoming entrenched and end the cycle.
- Create a more effective registration system and information database of rough sleepers and hidden homeless to begin the process of rehousing.
- Enshrine the right to a home for everyone and begin the process of rehousing all of the UK’s homeless population, including those with complex needs.
- Launch a substantial and sustainable programme of public and social house building.
Cllr Stephen Morgan, Labour’s housing spokesperson said:
“I welcome this open letter on what Labour should do to end homelessness in our country, and have therefore adding my name to it.
These proposals are well-thought through, evidence-based and practical. They are just the solutions we need to see to end homelessness once and for all. They have my full support here in Portsmouth”.
Since being elected to Portsmouth City Council in May 2016, Cllr Morgan has joined a member-led working group to explore local issues, work with partner agencies and find innovative ways to address rough sleeping in the city.