St Mungo’s held its annual reception in parliament yesterday attended by more than 60 MPs and Peers.
The event was sponsored by James Brokenshire MP, former Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Guests heard from St Mungo’s clients and staff about what they can do to help make this the Parliament that ends rough sleeping for good.
Representatives from StreetLink, rough sleeper outreach teams, supported housing projects, Housing First and recovery services were on hand to talk about how they support people experiencing homelessness to achieve their goals and aspirations.
The event was also attended by St Mungo’s client involvement group Outside In, who talked about the vital role of including people with lived experience of homelessness in decision-making.
Speaking at the event, Andrew Teale, who formerly slept rough and now manages St Mungo’s outreach service in Bournemouth said:
“I have seen first-hand the issues that our clients face. I’m a service manager working with people sleeping rough in Bournemouth and Poole. But I also know because I have lived it.
“I spent five years homeless, living for months on a makeshift bed in the woods, going down to the garage at the end of the road to get my alcohol. I was arrested, sectioned, ordered to get treatment many times – but nothing seemed to work.
“Eventually I spent 13 months in a local authority rehab and began to rebuild my life, volunteering with people who were homeless.
“it was a pleasure to talk to MPs today about how we can all work together to make this the parliament that ends rough sleeping for good.”
Alex Cunningham MP, Shadow Housing Minister, said:
“Small pots of one-off funding are not enough to address this crisis, and Government must do better. There needs to be long term funding for homelessness services, and available housing for people to move into.
“Labour pledged at the general election that we would build over a million genuinely affordable homes over the next decade because having a roof over your head shouldn’t cost most of your income. Unfortunately – Labour won’t be able to build the housing that people desperately need right now. But just because we lost that battle, it doesn’t mean that we stop fighting. Labour will keep working to make sure that homelessness prevention has the resource that it needs.
“We will keep fighting to raise the profile of the housing crisis and the repercussions that this has on the most vulnerable people in our society.”
A briefing was handed out at the event with information about St Mungo’s services and a list of asks for MPs, which you can read here.
If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, please contact StreetLink who will put them in touch with local outreach teams. www.streetlink.org