Dudley North MP Ian Austin today demanded Parliament hold an urgent debate on what he called the “crisis” in rough sleeping and homelessness.
He told the House of Commons today this was no longer a problem just in major cities but also in Black Country towns like Dudley.
He said the government’s pledge to end rough sleeping by 2027 and halve it by 2022 was “nowhere near good enough” and said the problem had exploded over the last seven years and was being made much worse by benefit changes and cuts to local council and NHS budgets funding health, social care and other support services.
Ian Austin said:
“People in Dudley are shocked by the number of people sleeping rough on the streets. Dudley’s homelessness team is working hard to help people and I’ve been working with local groups to try to help, but it is very clear to me that council and NHS cuts have hit health, social care and other support services hard and benefit changes like housing benefit cuts, the Bedroom Tax, sanctions and the chaotic introduction of universal credit have all made the situation much, much worse.
“The number of people sleeping rough in the West Midlands has more than trebled. The number of homes in the region has barely increased over recent years, home ownership has fallen, private renting has doubled, the costs of buying or renting a home in the private sector have soared and the number of social rented homes available to confront the housing crisis is lower than in previous decades.
“I think we need a Government and a Mayor that will really get a grip of the problem and not promise to solve it by 2027 which is almost ten years away and not nearly good enough.”