Thank you for contacting me about Crisis’ campaign to end homelessness and to remove the need for anyone to sleep rough on the streets.
Homelessness and rough sleeping are not inevitable in a country as decent and well-off as ours. Yet, since 2010 the number of people sleeping rough has more than doubled, with the latest statistics confirming there has been a 169% increase.
I believe these figures are a terrible reminder of eight years of failure on housing which has seen a steep drop in investment for new affordable homes; billions of pounds cut from housing benefit; inaction on short-term lets and soaring rents in the private rented sector; and significant cuts to funding for homelessness services.
The Secretary of State for Housing has confirmed that the Government’s rough sleeping strategy, published in August, contains no additional funding for his Department to tackle the crisis of rough sleeping. If Ministers are serious about ending rough sleeping, I believe they should back the Opposition’s plans to make 8,000 affordable homes immediately available for people with a history of sleeping on the streets.
At the 2017 general election, I stood on a manifesto which pledged to end rough sleeping within five years and prevent the need for anyone to sleep rough on the streets; this included commitments to build one million genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy to give those on low incomes more options for a place to stay.
More widely, I believe action is required to tackle the root causes of rising homelessness. Eviction or default from a private tenancy is now the single biggest cause of homelessness. I support ending the current practice of ‘no-fault’ evictions and action to strengthen tenants’ rights by bringing forward a consumer rights revolution for renters. This would ensure more secure tenancies, new legal minimum standards and controls on rent rises.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.