Two years ago I founded The Labour Campaign to End Homelessness. Now, with homelessness continuing to soar under the Tories, it is time to take the fight to end homelessness to the heart of Westminster.
It is for this reason that I am putting myself forward to be Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Cities of London and Westminster. Across England, the number of people sleeping rough has risen by 134% since the Tories came to power. According to the homelessness charity, Shelter, Westminster is top of the list in the entire country for people living in temporary accommodation and sleeping rough.
Meanwhile, the scandal of hidden homelessness continues unabated. A new report by the London Assembly reveals that there are 13 times more people who are “hidden homeless” in London than those who are sleeping rough. Almost a quarter of a million under-25s have stayed in unsafe places in London over the past year alone because they have had no place to call home.
Nowhere is this crisis more grotesque than in Cities of London and Westminster. This is why last year The Labour Campaign to End Homelessness set up an outreach stall in the constituency to feed and clothe some of the hundreds of rough sleepers in the local area. This work has now been taken on by our friends at Four Walls, which grew out of the campaign, and to whom we direct Labour Party volunteers.
This appalling inequality should shame the current Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster, Mark Field, who has been the MP here for almost two decades. It is under his stewardship that homelessness has soared to such levels in the heart of Westminster and in the shadow of Parliament. We will expose this, as Four Walls’ continuing outreach operation supports the rough sleepers who have been left behind by Tories like Mark Field for so many years.
But outreach is, of course, a sticking plaster on a bullet wound. This is why I will campaign on The Labour Campaign to End Homelessness’s five key pledges, written by the Chair of GMB Young London, Ryan Maynes. These are:
- A government-led national structure involving all of the major organisations, including statutory and community sector organisations, dedicated to ending homelessness.
- Create a more effective registration system and information database of rough sleepers and hidden homeless to begin the process of rehousing.
- Implement more efficient preventative measures and early intervention programmes to stop homelessness becoming entrenched and end the cycle.
- Enshrine the right to a home for everyone and begin the process of rehousing all of the UK’s homeless population, including those with complex needs.
- Launch a substantial and sustainable programme of public and social house building.
I hope that you will support my campaign to become Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Cities of London and Westminster.
This is our chance to shame the Government into real action on tackling homelessness. This is our chance to take the fight to end homelessness to the heart of Westminster. This is our chance to put our Socialism into practice.