Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Austin calls for extra help to tackle rough sleeping in the West Midlands

Dudley North MP Ian Austin has called on the government to fund extra help to tackle rough sleeping in the West Midlands.

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He made the call during a House of Commons debate on local government yesterday in which Housing Minister Heather Wheeler claimed the number of rough sleepers in the region had only increased by eight.

Austin accused the government of complacency and said homelessness  in the region had “soared”.

He called on the government to fund an expansion of the “Street Intervention Teams” which are organised by Birmingham City Council and paid for by the Birmingham Community Safety Partnership with funding from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson.

The most recent statistics available show that they moved 31 people into accommodation in October, encouraged 21 people to attend a substance misuse clinic and delivered 213 health interventions.

Austin wants to see the scheme rolled out across the whole West Midlands.

Ian Austin said:

“If ministers think the number of rough sleepers in the West Midlands has only increased by eight they either can’t count or they don’t care.

“The fact is that rough sleeping has soared, people are dying on the streets and the policy of this government and our Conservative Mayor is to tackle it by 2027 – almost ten years away.

“We need urgent action which is why I want the government to fund the expansion of Street Intervention Teams launched by the City Council and our PCC in Birmingham.

“We need Street Intervention Teams working across the whole region, to end the scandal of rough sleeping in the West Midlands.”

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