Meeting with Local MP
Last Tuesday(15th March), our Chief Executive James and Finance Manager Danny went to the houses of Parliament for a round table discussion organised by Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood. Helen had invited other third sector organisations to attend from her constituency, including L'Arche, Centre 70, Age UK and the West Norwood Food Bank.
The meeting took place in Portcullis House, the newest and most modern building in the Parliamentary estate. It was a good opportunity for our local MP to hear about the work that we and other third sector organisations undertake in her constituency and what challenges we are currently facing.
For us, we raised our grave concerns about the Government plans to scale back housing benefit in our sector to the level of the Local Housing Allowance. This would lead to a very significant decrease in our Housing Benefit income. This is due to come into effect from April 2018 and had been meant to apply to new tenancies signed from April 2016. The Government has now confirmed that this will be suspended to April 2017. We are well aware that this is going to have a huge impact on homeless charities, including all Emmaus Communities, up and down the country. The reality is that many may struggle to survive and the risk is that more people could become homeless as a result.
There were many good points raised at the round table discussion and all participants, along with Helen Hayes, agreed that it would be good to have a follow up and continue on a regular basis.
Helen is planning to visit us at Emmaus Lambeth in June and hopefully, working together, we can put a strong case across to the Government not to cut funding for vulnerable people.