Today, the Homelessness Reduction Bill, a private member’s bill put forward by Conservative MP Bob Blackman, passed its crucial third reading. The bill’s passages follows official figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government which show that the total number of rough sleepers on any given night in 2016 rose to 4,134, a 16% increase from 2015.
In response, Andrew Faris, chief executive of Rhythms of Life, and a former rough sleeper, said: “We welcome the cross-party consensus for Bob Blackman’s Homeless Reduction Bill which demonstrate that homelessness is a problem which transcends party politics.
“If this very important piece of legislation is passed then homeless people will no longer be told that their local council does not have a duty to prevent them from sleeping rough. This is an essential step in eradicating rough sleeping in the United Kingdom.
“I know from personal experience that homelessness destroys people’s physical and mental wellbeing. Homeless people are among the most vulnerable in our society, and it’s important that we work together to take on Britain’s homelessness crisis.
“However, given that the number of rough sleepers on our streets has more than doubled since 2010, and Local Authorities face a £192m funding gap by 2020, we’re appealing to the government to work more closely with charities in the sector to help rehabilitate rough sleepers, so that they can receive the support they need to rebuild their lives.
Notes to editors
Local authorities face £192m funding gap by 2020 according to LGA (page 7): http://www.local.gov.uk/documents/10180/7991192/LGA+submission+to+the+Autumn+Statement+2016.pdf/ae76f5e3-7a8a-49a1-aeb0-67c4fcf61fef
New DCLG figures show rough sleeping rose by 16% in 2016: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-38719087
Rhythms of Life is a homelessness charity which operates in Central London.
We provide sustenance, dignity and opportunity to London’s homeless. Every night of the year, our volunteers distribute meals, clothing and personal hygiene supplies to rough sleepers. We also help rough sleepers rebuild their lives by teaching literacy, numeracy and employability skills.