Oasis Community Housing has joined almost 30 homelessness charities in signing an Open Letter to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, calling on the next Prime Minister to take action on homelessness.
The letter, co-ordinated and sent by membership body Homeless Link, calls on the next Prime Minister to pledge to continue to meet the Conservative manifesto commitment of ending rough sleeping in England by 2024 – and to publish a strategy by the end of 2022 to outline how they plan to achieve this.
The letter is sent at a time when inflation in the UK has risen to 10.1%, a forty year high. At the same time private sector rents are at record levels and are predicted to rise further and many homelessness services are reporting an increase in people needing their services.
David Smith, Oasis Community Housing Chief Executive, which runs homelessness drop ins, same-day and supported accommodation across the North East of England and London, said: “Our frontline teams are seeing high numbers of people coming through our doors – and the other week our Outreach team found six people sleeping rough in one night alone.
“For every man or woman we are helping to move off the street, there seems to be another one to take their place. We’re seriously concerned homelessness is only going to get worse, as the cost of living crisis continues with another energy price hike due in October.
“Helping the most vulnerable people in our society must remain a Conservative party promise as a new Prime Minister steps in.”
Rick Henderson, CEO at Homeless Link, the national membership charity for frontline homelessness organisations who co-ordinated the letter, said: “Both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss were elected on a Conservative party commitment to end rough sleeping by 2024, and yet, despite government figures showing homelessness increased by 11% in the first 3 months of this year, both leadership candidates have barely mentioned homelessness throughout their campaigns.
“It’s vital that, when parliament returns next month, our new Prime Minister acts decisively to prevent a wave of homelessness. We hope that this letter, and the weight of concern it demonstrates from across the homelessness sector, will put the issue of homelessness back on their agenda, accelerating much needed reform of the private rented sector and setting out a clear plan to meet the target of ending rough sleeping by 2024.”
To read the Open Letter in full, please visit Homeless Link’s website.