May and Sturgeon urge action on ending homelessness as Crisis enters 50th year
As the charity prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, new research has revealed that the large majority of MPs (77%) agree there should be a plan to end homelessness in Great Britain, and 64% think ending homelessness is an achievable goal.
Throughout its 50th year, Crisis will be working towards a national plan to end the most acute forms of homelessness once and for all. The charity aims to bring together everything needed to make this happen, including consultations in all three nations and a large scale programme of research. It also calls on the public to join its #EverybodyIn campaign and show their support for ending homelessness.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “No one should be forced to sleep on our streets, and this Government is determined to end homelessness in all its forms. Solving homelessness is about much more than putting a roof over someone’s head. It is about stopping people from becoming homeless in the first place, and that’s why we are putting prevention at the heart of our approach. This government will continue to work closely with Crisis, and we all have a common goal: Crisis passionately believes, as I do, that homelessness is a problem that can be solved.
“For half a century Crisis has led the way, raising awareness and fighting tirelessly for those who all too often don’t have a voice in our society. However, as we rightly celebrate the work that you do, it is important to remember that Crisis was never set up to be a permanent charity, and we are all of one view: that homelessness in the 21st century is unacceptable.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Tackling all forms of homelessness must be a priority for any government. Here in Scotland we have made real progress in preventing homelessness, and we now have some of the strongest rights for homeless people in the world.
“But we know there’s still a lot more to do. Of course, none of this can be achieved by government alone, and we rely on the dedication and expertise of charities like Crisis. Together we’ve made a huge amount of progress, and my pledge to you is that we will continue to work closely in the years and decades ahead.”
First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones added: “Homelessness is wholly unacceptable in the 21st century. To have nowhere safe to call home and to be forced to sleep on the street is a lonely, frightening ordeal, which no one should ever go through. The Welsh Government is determined to end rough sleeping and all forms of homelessness.
“However, no government can tackle homelessness alone, and I welcome the opportunity to work with Crisis to improve the quality and availability of housing for homeless people and to help get rough sleepers into safe, stable accommodation.”
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “This year, Crisis marks its 50th anniversary, but this is by no means cause for celebration. The reason we’re still here, is because we’re still needed. Many thousands of people are sleeping on Britain’s streets, on sofas, in squats or unsuitable temporary accommodation.
“We want a future where we’re no longer needed, where no one has to suffer homelessness because they can’t find a place to live. As we’ve seen, the political will is there, and over the coming year we’ll be bringing together the people, evidence and resources to help make our vision a reality. We know we can’t do this alone, but we’re ready for the challenge, and I hope that in 50 years’ time Crisis - and homelessness - will have been consigned to the history books.”