Today I attended our once every two months meeting of Southend Homeless Action Network (SHAN) (check out here for the related webpage). It was as always a lively and positive occasion, where people from many different organizations were able to meet to consider local homeless issues and discuss what is going on.
Once again I was impressed, listening to organizations, like the Salvation Army and the YMCA, and borne out by several others, that the need when it came to helping the homeless is huge, and the increasing pressure on such agencies due to demand. It is always touching to learn of initiatives being undertaken which are meant to and do make a difference, especially when those involved have little to gain personally. As a network we are committed to doing what we state on the tin, and trying to address some of the needs in a collaborative and intelligence led manner, realizing the limits of what we can do, which brings me to the Homeless Reduction Bill.
One of our members has helpfully posted on the matter (see here) and I realize now I did the same not long ago (see here). One explanation of the needs and what the Bill tries to achieve, I found helpful (see here). Given how important the issues are and here we have an initiative that can well help to prevent homelessness, it is regrettable that only 53 MPs have said they will attend the Second Reading on 28th October (100 is the minimum needed to progress beyond this stage). One item of killer data is that at least 3569 people sleep rough on any given night (and that is a conservative figure) and the plight of the homeless, still significantly high in my own town of Southend, and their many complex needs, must not be ignored by those who have it in their power to change things.
The need among the homeless is great, and this Bill deserves serious consideration, and on a non partisan basis.