The Liberal Democrats have become the first major party to commit to ending the national scandal of rough sleeping across Britain, including in Reading.
The latest figures show there were 22 people sleeping rough in Reading in 2016, up from 4 in 2012. This includes 5 people under 25.
The Liberal Democrats have set out a series of measures to end rough sleeping, including introducing a Housing First provider in each local authority that would put long-term homeless people straight into independent homes rather than emergency shelters.
The news comes as a coalition of homelessness charities, including Centrepoint, Crisis, Homeless Link, Shelter and St Mungo’s, have called on political parties to commit to end rough sleeping in Britain.
Liberal Democrat candidate for Reading West, Meri O’Connell said:
“It is a national scandal that so people are sleeping on the streets in 21st century Britain.
“By increasing support for homelessness prevention and properly funding emergency accommodation, we can end rough sleeping in Reading and across the country.
“We will ensure our local authority has at least one provider of Housing First services, to allow long-term homeless people to live independently in their own homes.
Liberal Democrat candidate for Reading East, Dr Jenny Woods said:
“The evidence suggests that supporting people and giving them long-term, stable places to stay is far more successful in tackling homelessness than constantly moving them to different temporary accommodation.
“Under this government, homelessness has soared and young people have been stripped of housing benefit, threatening to make matters even worse.
“This election is a chance to change the direction of this country and stand up for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united.”