Yesterday I challenged Government Ministers to end the cuts that are holding back local services from providing the support needed to help rough sleepers off our streets. It’s an issue raised with me by many constituents in last year’s Big Conversation.
In August, the Government published its plan to end rough sleeping by 2027. But with no new money, it doesn’t provide the resources needed by charities and public services that work with rough sleepers and are already struggling due to huge cuts to local government over the last eight years. A recent grant provides some help, but doesn’t compensate for the cumulative effect of eight years of deep cuts, so I told Ministers:
“Rough sleeping is a huge concern to my constituents in Sheffield. But the voluntary and statutory sector tell me they’re held back in tackling it by disproportionate cuts to local government. The recent Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government strategy provided no new money. So will his taskforce look at the issue so that we can actually do something?”
I work closely with the Council and voluntary sector groups (including the Archer Project, Ben’s Centre, Emmaus and Roundabout) who are doing a great job of supporting vulnerable people who end up on our streets. I helped to launch ‘Help Us Help’ in 2016, a campaign to encourage people to support these groups and point rough sleepers to their services. But getting people off the streets is complex and needs sustained funding, not one-off grants.
In response to my challenge the Minister offered to meet me, so I’ll be pressing the issue directly.