After Brexit, housing has become a major theme of this election. The Lib Dems and the Greens have led on increasing houses. Labour has emphasised regulating private landlords and the Lib Dems now address rough sleeping.
Hackney Lib Dem Press Release
The Liberal Democrats have become the first major party to commit to ending the national scandal of rough sleeping across Britain, including in Hackney.
The latest figures show there were 17 long term rough sleepers in Hackney in 2016, whilst new research has revealed that 111 homes in the possession of the Labour controlled council are vacant, despite the housing crisis.
The research also reveals that Labour controlled areas have the highest amounts of vacant homes making up some 70% of the total vacant properties in the UK.
Figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government also show that from July to September 2016 Hackney had 2733 people in temporary accommodation with 316 in bed and breakfasts and 793 in hostels.
The Liberal Democrats have set out a series of measures to end rough sleeping, including introducing a Housing First provider in each local authority that would put long-term homeless people straight into independent homes rather than emergency shelters.
The news comes as a coalition of homelessness charities, including Centrepoint, Crisis, Homeless Link, Shelter and St Mungo’s, have called on political parties to commit to end rough sleeping in Britain.
Liberal Democrat candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Joe Richards said:
“It is a national scandal that so many people are sleeping on the streets in 21st century Britain.
“By increasing support for homelessness prevention and properly funding emergency accommodation, we can end rough sleeping in Hackney and across the country.
“It is a disgrace that despite the housing crisis, so many council homes owned by the Labour council are lying empty and the sky-high number of people living in temporary accommodation in Hackney is a shameful indictment of Labour’s housing policies.
“Looking at the national figures that show Labour controlled areas make up 70% of total vacant homes, further underlines how completely clueless Labour are on housing and how woefully inept their housing strategies are.
“The evidence suggests that supporting people and giving them long-term, stable places to stay is far more successful in tackling homelessness than constantly moving them to different temporary accommodation.
“Under this government, homelessness has soared and young people have been stripped of housing benefit, threatening to make matters even worse.
“Labour are letting down the most vulnerable people in Hackney, it’s time to vote for real change and a party that has committed to ending this national scandal.”
“We would make sure there was a Housing First provider in each local authority so we can get a roof over the heads of the most vulnerable and get them the help they need to turn their lives around.”
Figures on the number of people sleeping rough by local authority can be found here.
The Housing First model, developed in the United States, has demonstrated high degrees of success in supporting those who are chronically street homeless according to research by homelessness charity Shelter (link).
The total annual cost of homelessness to the state is estimated at £1 billion (link)
Figures on Temp accommodation in Hackney from Department of Communities and Local Government.