MPs and peers from across the main political parties pledged to help end rough sleeping at a St Mungo’s event in Parliament yesterday, Wednesday 29 November.
More than 80 guests, including St Mungo’s clients, parliamentarians and charity representatives, met in the House of Commons to discuss the government’s commitment to end rough sleeping, with Communities Secretary Sajid Javid MP and Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey MP attending.
Today, 30 November, Mr Javid announced a new Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel. This panel will be made up of homelessness experts – including Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s – from organisations including charities and local government.
The Panel will “support the Ministerial Taskforce, which brings together ministers from key departments to provide a cross-government approach to preventing rough sleeping and homelessness.”
Over 50 MPs and peers attended the St Mungo’s Parliamentary event, hosted by Mary Robinson, MP for Cheadle. The aim was to learn more about rough sleeping and what MPs can do to help end rough sleeping in their constituencies.
Homelessness Minister Marcus Jones, who will chair the Panel, was also there to listen to clients of St Mungo’s talking about their experiences and their journeys out of rough sleeping.
Rough sleeping has increased by 134% over the last five years across England. Recent figures revealed that 8,108 people were seen rough sleeping in London in 2016-17.
Announcing the Panel, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “No one should ever have to sleep rough. That’s why this government is committed to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it altogether by 2027.
“To break the homelessness cycle once and for all, we all need to work together, drawing on as much expertise and experience as we can. The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Implementation Taskforce and the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel, together with the three Housing First pilots, are important steps in making that happen.”
Howard Sinclair said: “Rough sleeping is harmful and dangerous and ruins lives. Tackling homelessness is one of the major issues society faces.
“To have the Secretary of State, the Shadow Secretary of State and the Leader of the Opposition reaffirm their commitment to end rough sleeping at our event, alongside so many other MPs from all parties, was a very positive indication that this is considered a priority. It was also particularly pleasing to see the level of cross party support there was for ending rough sleeping.
“I am honoured to be representing St Mungo’s clients and staff on the new Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel. This new initiative is needed to make lives better for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. I look forward to working with other homelessness experts, charities and local government representatives to support the work of the Taskforce.
“If ministers are serious about meeting this government commitment to end rough sleeping by 2027, there is a lot of work to do. Tried and tested services, like outreach teams and homeless hostels, as well as new innovations, like Housing First, will all be key to achieving this commitment and to ensuring people are not left out in the cold this winter, or in the years ahead.
“Our thanks to our clients, our host Mary Robinson and other guests who joined us to pledge their resolve to ensuring no one is sleeping rough on the streets by 2027, if not before.”
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