Housing for the Homeless - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:07 pm on 14th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Randall of Uxbridge Lord Randall of Uxbridge Conservative 5:07 pm, 14th May 2020

My Lords, I, too, pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Bird, for his inspirational work on this issue. For many homeless people, a dog is their best friend and main companion. In particular, for anyone with a mental health problem, drug or alcohol dependency, their pet is their main support and very important to the recovery process. Therefore, during the current situation in relation to Covid, while rough sleepers are being moved into hotel and emergency accommodation in order to enable them to self-isolate, it is considerably unlikely that homeless people with pets will move into alternative accommodation if it means giving up their pet. Given that people experiencing homelessness, particularly those who are rough sleeping, are thought to be more at risk of contracting the virus, and given that they are unlikely to give up their pet, it is crucial that dog-friendly emergency accommodation is made available. I commend the excellent work of the Dogs Trust and its Welcoming Dogs scheme. Dog-friendly accommodation must also be available post lockdown, so that homeless people, some of whom have moved off the street for the first time in many years and are now interacting with essential services, are not forced to choose between returning to street homelessness or giving up their beloved dog.