I can’t think of anything worse than being homeless, so for years I have undertaken voluntary work supporting homeless people. As an MP, I have spoken up for and supported measures to prevent homelessness and brought Ministers to meet local homeless people at St Petrocs and formerly homeless people now moving on with their lives supported by Glen Carne, near St Agnes.
Since 2010, more honest government data collection about people rough sleeping in Cornwall has improved the understanding of the scale of the problem. More funding has followed the data enabling more joined up working across the public sector and support services through initiatives such as ‘No Second Night Out’. While this work has helped many people, there is still much more to do.
The recent Budget committed £100 million to further tackle homelessness, including more support for ‘second stage’ accommodation for rough sleepers leaving hostel accommodation and domestic abuse victims and their families moving on from refuges to more independent living. This will help to free up hostels and refuges for those in most acute need.
There is also money for investment in preventing rough sleeping. New research, carried out by homelessness charity St Mungo’s, found the three main tipping points that ended in people rough sleeping were an end to temporary accommodation with friends or family, being asked to leave the family home, and the threat of eviction from a rented property.
The research findings led to the development of a new assessment tool for some London Borough councils’ specialist housing officers, so they can identify people and intervene before they end up street homeless, enabling “No First Night Out’.
Let’s hope Cornwall Council consider this approach and also use some of the £936,000 Transformation Challenge Award provided by the government to support improved access to local advise and support services that can prevent homelessness.
Published by West Briton.