Across the UK, under the Conservative government, the number of people sleeping rough has doubled.
Here in Portsmouth, the City Council has yet to release the most recent figures. But after conversations with Housing Officers, Stephen Morgan, our local election candidate this May for Charles Dickens, can reveal that figures have also doubled in the city and almost two-thirds of people sleeping on the streets of Portsmouth are doing so in the city centre ward of Charles Dickens.
“Lives are being ruined by the policies of a government which finds it easier to punish the poorest – through cuts to benefits, attempts to reclassify disabilities, the bedroom tax – than to tackle Britain’s top-down inequality. We might be on the brink of another financial crisis. When it comes, you can be sure that homelessness will increase. It won’t be an issue only for the most vulnerable in society. It will be an issue for your next-door neighbour, out of a job and unable to cover the mortgage. It will be an issue for veterans, released from the Armed Forces after further Tory cuts. It might even be an issue for you. The hard truth is, homelessness is an issue for every one of us, and it’s an issue right now. That’s why it must be a priority for Portsmouth City Council”.
This alone is a pressing reason why the local Labour Party is continuing its fight against the closure of Guildhall Walk, which offers GP access to many of our city’s homeless population. Consultation on the future of the centre ends this month.
“I will fight for stronger ties with the excellent local charities and community groups that do such great work locally. They have real expertise to offer in re-assessing how we tackle homelessness, both in terms of providing better support, and through more effective preventative services. We can all play our part to address this social concern”.
For more information on homelessness and this local campaign visit www.stephenjmorgan.org