The Communities and Local Government Select Committee has released its report calling for a new government strategy to address homelessness in England. The report comes out strongly in favour of the new Homelessness Reduction Bill – great news for our Stop the Scandal campaign. Francesca from our Campaigns team explains the importance of the Bill and what you can do to help.
Rough sleeping in England has more than doubled since 2010. On any night, thousands of people sleep rough, risking their lives and causing significant problems for their long term health and wellbeing. It doesn’t have to be this way.
In the last year, 114,790 people asked their local council for help under existing homelessness law, but only a little over half (50.3%) of them received an offer of help from councils.
Those judged not to be in priority need, or who are found to have made themselves ‘intentionally’ homeless (could have avoided being made homeless), are often sent away without any meaningful support or guidance to help them stay off the streets.
One St Mungo’s client who slept rough after asking a local authority for help told us: “I was actually really appalled at how bad the council was. I was expecting them to help but it just doesn’t work. It’s horrible, it’s demoralising and you already feel like less of a person.”
“Vulnerable people often badly treated”
It’s not just our clients and supporters who know that things need to change. The cross-party Communities and Local Government Select Committee of MPs recently released their report on homelessness. The chair of the committee, Clive Betts MP said: “vulnerable people are too often badly treated, being made to feel like they are at fault, and offered ineffectual and meaningless advice.”
As part of our Stop the Scandal campaign, St Mungo’s has been calling for changes to homelessness legislation to ensure more people who ask their councils for help get the support they need to stay off the streets. That’s why we’re really pleased about the Homelessness Reduction Bill, a piece of legislation introduced in June by Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, and published at the same time as the homelessness report.
St Mungo’s has been working alongside other charities and organisations including Crisis to push for changes to our outdated and ineffective homelessness law for a long time.
Every year MPs can apply to a ballot to introduce a Bill of their choosing, so we and partners used this opportunity to try to persuade some of the MPs selected to introduce new, improved homelessness legislation.
Thanks for your support!
Since May, St Mungo’s campaigners have been lobbying MPs. Thousands of you took part, sent emails, wrote letters and shared your stories in support of our call for improvements to homelessness legislation.
And thanks in no small part to the support of people like you, MPs now have an opportunity to really make a difference.
Bob Blackman MP’s Homelessness Reduction Bill is going for its second reading on 28 October. This is a Friday – a constituency day for many MPs. For this Bill to stand a chance of becoming law, we need your help.
Help make it happen
We are calling on all of our supporters to urge their MPs to stay in London on the 28 October, to attend the reading and vote for the Bill. Can you contact your MP and find out whether they plan to attend?
If you do nothing else today, show your support for the Homelessness Reduction Bill by emailing your MP using our online form. It’ll only take a couple of minutes and could make a big difference. Get involved, help us improve legislation to prevent people becoming homeless.