How can it be right, that in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, even during the midst of a pandemic, we can’t house our people? Over the last ten years, rough sleeping in the UK has doubled, a direct consequence of government housing policies.
As you might imagine, homeless deaths have followed much the same growth, with almost 1,000 people now dying on our streets each year. This winter is set to be even worse than usual, with the pandemic limiting the range of support available.
In Crawley, the council is working hard to tackle the local impact, with 245 households in temporary accommodation, including 51 former rough sleepers are being accommodated in Crawley Open House or other short term accommodation, and ongoing action with a further 351 households to prevent homelessness. Yet, the problems with the housing market are such, that despite being one of the best performing local authorities in the country for building new affordable housing, every year the pressures on Crawley’s housing team keep getting bigger.
Just a year ago at the General Election, the Tories promised to end rough sleeping for good, but even before the crisis began they were failing to meet their targets and there’s no sign the government will end the policies at the heart of this growth in homelessness. It’s not good enough, everyone needs a safe place to stay this Christmas.
At the council we will continue to do everything we can to tackle this national scandal in our area, but we can’t end rough sleeping on our own. Please, do your bit, by signing our petition here today: https://action.labour.org.uk/page/s/safe-place-to-stay
Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council