IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Give us the cash to help the homeless

29 March, 2019

• UNDER the Tory government, rough sleeping has increased year on year in London and by a massive 165 per cent across the country since 2010.

As Tory austerity continues, with more cuts to council funding and the roll-out of universal credit, more people are at risk of finding themselves without a safe and decent place to call home.

In Finsbury Park, we’ve seen the devastating impact that Tory austerity and welfare cuts are having on our community, and the troubling rise in people sleeping rough.

No one should be forced to sleep on the streets, even for one night, which is why we are calling on the government to give the council the funding it needs to support homeless people and to tackle the homelessness crisis.

Islington Labour is committed to ending homelessness in the borough. The council’s recently-passed budget will build on successes in tackling rough sleeping by investing extra support for homeless people through the council’s outreach team, buying temporary accommodation to improve standards, and building more council homes – prioritised for local people.

The council continues to work closely with charities, the police, community groups and others to bring together its efforts to support homeless people, and the often complex needs they have. This approach has already helped 34 people who were sleeping rough in Finsbury Park into secure accommodation.

But the government has failed to fully fund the cost of meeting new responsibilities councils now have towards homeless people, making it harder to support the most vulnerable people.

As a result, the council faces a £1.3million gap in funding from next year, on top of the 70 per cent national government funding cuts it has received since 2010, to meet the cost of providing support for homeless people.

The new responsibilities were welcomed by councils when the Homelessness Reduction Act was introduced, but we have long warned that funding made available by the government was insufficient.

As councillors, we have launched a campaign to call on the government to give the council the funding it needs to continue to support homeless people.

CLLR GARY HEATHER, CLLR MICK O’SULLIVAN and CLLR ASIMA SHAIKH
Labour, Finsbury Park ward

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