Housing for the Homeless - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:42 pm on 14th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour 4:42 pm, 14th May 2020

My Lords, I spoke about the problem of homeless people, particularly in London, on 29 April. In his reply, the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord True, said that

“the Government believe that we have reached some 90% of those we wish to.”—[Official Report, 29/4/20; col. 266.]

That does not quite tally with what was in the Guardian today, which says that only 1,000 homeless people have been offered hotel rooms, which is better than nothing, out of 8,555 rough sleepers. I suggest that the noble Lord, Lord True, needs to change his wish or try a bit harder.

The noble Lord, Lord Bird, spoke about progress, but that is surely made best by local authorities, which are starved of cash, despite the Prime Minister saying that he will do whatever it takes. He is not doing it. Where is the money? This is a massive failure of central government. The National Health Service gets a lot, but the Government are still starving local authorities of the cash to deal with rough sleepers and longer-term needs. I hope the Minister will give us some comfort when he replies.