Thornbury and Yate MP Luke Hall, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, has come under fire for suggesting to local authorities that rough sleepers should be encouraged to “return to friends and family”, amidst rumours that the Government intends to wind down the “Everyone In” scheme – which has temporarily housed thousands of homeless people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a National Audit Office report on homelessness, many people are made homeless as they do not have the option to stay with friends or family; any effort to rehouse vulnerable people with friends, relatives, or partners must ensure that those affected do not become homeless once again, risking mental and physical health.
Cllr Claire Young, Leader of South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats and Parliamentary Spokesperson for Thornbury and Yate said:
“These comments demonstrate how out-of-touch Luke Hall and this Government are with issues around homelessness. Given that Luke is the Minister responsible for homelessness this is truly alarming.
“Luke’s suggestion that local authorities should encourage vulnerable people to return to friends and family is naïve and irresponsible. Of course where people have safe places to stay with friends and family, that will be where people will turn – but in many cases a breakdown of these relationships has led to people becoming homeless in the first place.
“Any effort to move vulnerable people out of emergency accommodation should be carefully planned, with accommodation and continued welfare support provided to individuals.”
Nationally, the Liberal Democrats have pledged if elected to end rough sleeping within five years and to introduce a ‘somewhere safe to stay’ legal duty to ensure that everyone who is at risk of sleeping rough is provided with emergency accommodation and an assessment of their needs.
Press release (pdf)
Image credit: Steven Lilley