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MP Speaks On National Homeless Sunday

Warwick and Leamington MP, James Plaskitt, will be speaking at a Sunday Service organised by The Salvation Army in Chapel Street, Leamington on National Homelessness Sunday 31 January.

Part of the service will focus upon the work of the local Night Shelter and other homelessness initiatives in the area. Many local people concerned with homelessness and representatives of local organisations will be present.

An estimated 2000 people sleep rough every night in England. Up to 50% of these people are thought to have mental health problems.

In his speech Mr Plaskitt will refer to a number of Government initiatives to tackle this problem including:

  • The development of appropriate health services for treating homeless people
  • Providing housing advice to people leaving prison or the armed forces – these routes represent two of the largest sources of homeless people
  • Within the Welfare Reform programme remedying the adverse affect of Tory changes to Housing Benefit rules during the 1980s
  • The Rough Sleepers Initiative, which has a target of reducing this group by two-thirds by 2002
  • The unfreezing of capital receipts held by local Councils allowing them to build low-cost housing for rent

Mr Plaskitt said,

"Homelessness is one of the most potent symbols of social exclusion. It is a fact of life in Warwick and Leamington. Many people attend my surgeries who are in this position.

"There is a moral imperative for the Government to act on this issue – it is a measure of our civilisation. Therefore I am pleased that we are allocating 34 million in grants to the voluntary sector under our new Homelessness Action Programme. This winter as a first instalment an extra 600 beds were funded in night shelters."

Mr Plaskitt is in regular touch with many housing providers including Warwick District Council and local housing Associations and those who provide advice and support including the Young Homeless Project, the Salvation Army, Warwickshire Welfare Rights Advice Service and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

Further information:   01926 831151

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CWN / News / Newswire / James Plaskitt MP / 28 Jan 99

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