Following Labour’s successful motion at the recent Housing Committee meeting, Labour Councillors will be voting to formally adopt the Homeless Bill of Rights as an aspirational document at Full Council on 25 March – in line with the Council’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy.
Adopting a Homeless Bill of Rights was in Labour’s 2019 manifesto, and Labour will be looking to fulfil that pledge at Full Council and ensure homeless people are treated with dignity and respect.
Labour are keen to stress though that the Council shouldn’t even have to be debating this issue, and it is down to unforgivable policy failures on the part of the Conservative Government that rough sleeping and homelessness remain such prevalent issues in our cities and towns.
Labour Councillors have highlighted the perfect storm created by the Conservative Government – of low wages, precarious and insecure work exacerbated by the undermining of trade unions, welfare benefits that are insufficient to live on, a dire shortage of affordable housing, overcrowding and a lack of protections for renters in the private sector, and government inaction in the face of rising fuel and food poverty all leading to homelessness and rough sleeping.
Labour have consistently lobbied the Government to provide sustainable long-term funding to tackle rough sleeping, to adopt the Housing First model nationally, and to give local authorities the powers they need to ensure new housing developments are genuinely affordable.
Both in administration and opposition, Labour Councillors are doing everything in our power to combat the housing crisis and tackle homelessness, but until we have a Government who are equally committed to this battle, we will forever be fighting with one hand tied behind our backs.
Labour’s housing spokesperson, Councillor Gill Williams says:
“It’s our moral obligation to adopt the Homeless Bill of Rights. It’s fundamentally about ensuring that if people are driven into rough sleeping, they are treated with respect and dignity, not automatically to be treated as a nuisance or a criminal.
“The Homeless Bill of Rights is not a legal document, it is an aspirational document, and serves as a standard to which we should be measured by in terms of our treatment of homeless people.
“Labour will be voting to ensure the Council; formally adopts the Homeless Bill of Rights as an aspirational document and commits to uphold the spirit of its contents. It’s about time.”
Image: Creative Commons