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3 February 2010
Homeless Link launches its manifesto to end homelessness with support from the 3 main political parties.
Last night Homeless Link, the national umbrella organisation for frontline homelessness charities, launched its manifesto for the next government on ending homelessness in our country once and for all. Written with input from agencies working on the frontline and people with experience of homelessness, the manifesto sets out 10 practical steps to achieve this challenging ambition in the next 10 years. Ian Austin MP, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government, Caroline Spelman MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Julia Goldsworthy MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities all spoke at the event with great commitment.
Jenny Edwards, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said, "We know there is a huge amount of work to be done, however, our sector, in partnership with local and national government, has a proven record of success. Less than a year ago the Mayor's London Delivery Board focussed on the 205 most entrenched long-term rough sleepers as part of the national campaign to end rough sleeping by 2012. Less than a quarter remains sleeping rough and it cost just an extra £6,000. Something quite extraordinary is happening here. We firmly believe that people can change because we have the evidence that they can.
"We will not allow the most vulnerable in our society to be invisible. We want to see a Green Paper that will tackle the deep social exclusion of people with multiple needs.
These comments were supported by an inspirational speech from Martyn Warr, Learning and Development apprentice at homelessness charity St Mungo's who, as recently as three years ago was sleeping rough on London's streets. Martyn was one of the first successful applicants to St Mungo's new Apprenticeship scheme, launched last year, and now works full-time for the charity at its client and staff training base in Southwark.
"After the death of my daughter, recreational drugs and alcohol became my solace. I didn't realise I had mental health problems too. St Mungo's has an army of people who helped me from the streets back into society. It was like being born again. Now I work on their apprentice scheme. I love going to work; it gives my life meaning. I am putting back into the pot that helped me.
Ian Austin MP said, "Everyone has the right to decent, affordable home – it is a basic human right. We must put housing and homelessness at the centre of the election and end the scandal of homelessness for good for the first time in history."
Caroline Spelman MP said, "The report charts a very important direction of travel…Homelessness is a cross-cutting issue. Government is constructed in silos. We must puncture holes in the silos if we are to be effective in addressing multiple needs."
Julia Goldsworthy MP said, "Homelessness is very complex. It is important we have an ambitious pledge that we can work to."