Homelessness is an issue that I care deeply about. I welcome the important work that Crisis does to help people find their way out of homelessness. Furthermore, I am glad that there is so much overlap between the ideas Crisis have raised in their recent report and the Government’s plan to end rough sleeping by 2027.
I share the view of Crisis that the Housing First approach to tackling homelessness has a record of being effective at helping people with high and complex needs. That is why I welcomed the recent launch of a £28 million pilot of Housing First, providing some of England’s most entrenched rough sleepers with stable, affordable accommodation and intensive wrap-around support. The impact of this pilot will be evaluated to inform any wider roll-out of the Housing First approach.
It is good to hear that Chichester District Council is in discussion with Hyde Group to improve and increase the amount of social housing within Chichester. I welcome recent statistics which show that more than three times as much council housing has been built since 2010 than in the previous 13 years. That said, I agree with Crisis that more needs to be done, and I am confident that the £9 billion Affordable Homes Programme will help deliver more social housing and look forward to the Government’s forthcoming green paper on the sector, expected this year.
I also recognise the important work that Crisis do in advising the Government on homelessness policy through the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel, on which Crisis CEO John Sparkes sits. I am confident that, working together with leading experts on homelessness, the Government will achieve the aim of halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it altogether by 2027.
Within Chichester, I have worked with local organisation and charities such as Stonepillow to help tackle homelessness within our constituency. Stonepillow are doing amazing work to support individuals and families facing and experiencing homelessness through mental health and addiction services. To learn more about homelessness, I also attended St Pancras Church Monday Breakfast for the homeless. I brought along the Head of Housing and Environment, Linda Grange and Cabinet Member for Housing, Jane Kilby, both from Chichester District Council. The two of them were able to give advice and ensure all those present were getting the help they’re eligible for. Equally important it gave the homeless people there an opportunity to explain how and why services are not always ideal for them. I also invited Sarah Bennetts from Choose Work, a programme that works with young people to get them work experience opportunities, often acting as a positive first step for young people. Earlier this year Chichester District Council was given £113,386 of extra funding to give advice and support to people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are aware of any constituents who are homeless, or in need of advice as I would be happy to help them.