This week’s column on homelessness

I hope you all enjoyed the festivities and that you spent the Christmas period making memories with loved ones. 
 
However Christmas is not a time of celebration for everyone, no more so than the 9000 people across the country who are sleeping rough and the 120,000 children who do not have a permanent home.
 
These figures are extremely worrying. It’s glaringly obvious that the national Government needs to do more to help prevent homelessness and to provide the support, advice and services that homeless people need.
 
The last Labour Government made good progress by reducing statutory homelessness by 70%. However homelessness has risen every year since the Tories came into power, and with the proposed 28% cut to local authority funding, I can not see the situation improving any time soon.
 
The Tories are so out of touch on this that when asked at last week’s PMQs about the 2500 homeless children in the county of Wandsworth, the PM responded by saying “they’re not all sleeping on the streets”.
 
Two weeks ago we saw devastating scenes as the Gateway to Wales burnt down, premises that were used for temporary accommodation for people and families across Flintshire who have found themselves with no permanent residence, many through no fault of their own. 
 
I must commend the work of Flintshire County Council who have worked tirelessly to accommodate these people elsewhere. Luckily there were no casualties, however it is a sad situation that the council are forced to put homeless people in hotels at huge expense.
 
It’s encouraging to again see work commence on more social housing in Connah’s Quay. However with continued cuts to local authority support, councils like Flintshire, who are doing their utmost to tackle the housing crisis, will continue to struggle to fully address this well documented issue. 
 
The Government need to work with local authorities and Labour will continue to press them to ensure they do more to tackle homelessness. 
 
May I take this opportunity to wish you a happy New Year, I look forward to representing you in 2018.