Thursday 18 August 2016

Emmaus responds to homelessness inquiry

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The Communities and Local Government Committee (CLG) has today, Thursday 18 August, published its homelessness inquiry report, which calls for the Government to fully back the Homelessness Reduction Bill.

Simon Grainge, Chief Executive of Emmaus UK said: “This report provides a vital focus on the rapidly growing issue of homelessness.  When rough sleeping has more than doubled since 2010, homelessness is an issue that simply cannot be ignored. We fully support the Committee’s call for a renewed cross-departmental government strategy to prevent and tackle homelessness.

“For many people living at Emmaus communities, known as companions, homelessness is a complex issue that frequently involves much more than housing. Mental health issues or traumatic life experiences are often major contributory factors to the loss of a stable home, and unless we look at the problem as a whole, we’re unlikely to be able to tackle it effectively in the long term.

“We are pleased to see that the Committee is also providing such strong backing to Bob Blackman MP’s Homelessness Reduction Bill. Emmaus companions frequently report receiving little or no support before they became homeless, and a third of companions have experienced negative or discriminatory attitudes when they have approached the authorities for help. The Homelessness Reduction Bill is key to strengthening the support provided by local authorities and ensuring that more people are able to avoid the devastating experience of homelessness.

“Emmaus also strongly supports the Select Committee’s call for all supported accommodation schemes to be exempt from the proposed housing benefit cuts. The threat of these cuts is a huge concern to the sector and has been hanging over our heads for too long. We hope the government will act on the Committee’s recommendation to publish the outcomes supported accommodation review as soon as possible so that supported housing providers can be assured of financial stability and can effectively plan for the future.”