11 November 2017
A recent report by Shelter called ‘Far From Home’ has ranked South Tyneside 5th for homelessness. Until the root causes of the problems of homelessness are tackled, I can't see that a "Rough Sleeping Grant" will make a difference. People need affordable social housing to be transferred to. People need a regular income to pay their bills, whether it is a wage or a benefit. If it is stopped for 6-7 weeks then the household, and everyone in it, suffers. Lack of funds only makes people more ill and more vulnerable. There are 4 people sleeping rough and 78 using hostels in South Tyneside. The council must create more social housing by buying empty houses and converting empty retail, business and office space into homes.
After reading about yet another vulnerable person dying because they are cold/hungry/homeless I need to ask South Tyneside Council a question, "What are you doing for homeless people and people in danger of becoming homeless?" What is this grant doing for rough sleepers? What are you doing about people in danger of becoming homeless and the cyclic homeless who go between hostels? Are they getting any help, and in what form? The government rolled out a "Homeless Prevention Programme" in 2016 for which Local Authorities were invited to make a bid. Sunderland and South Tyneside made a joint bid and were awarded a Rough Sleeping Grant of £377,000 for 2016 with further lump sums due in 2017 and 2018. I still see many people wrapped in sleeping bags begging on our streets. That's 82 people too many! The only intervention I am aware of so far is signs telling homeless people to move on, which, afterpublic condemnation were hastily removed. What is ST Council doing to help?
Lesley Kay Hanson - South Tyneside Green Party
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