Home­less on agenda at city de­bate

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

A RESTAU­RANT in Birm­ing­ham’s busi­ness district will be ad­dress­ing the grow­ing is­sue of home­less­ness in the West Mid­lands at an event next month.

Opus, in Corn­wall Street, is host­ing its fourth ‘In Con­ver­sa­tion With’ and the panel in­cludes Jean Tem­ple­ton, chair­man of the West Mid­lands Com­bined Au­thor­ity’s home­less task­force, and Birm­ing­ham GP Ju­dith Yates, found­ing mem­ber of the In­de­pen­dent Con­sor­tium on Drug Con­sump­tion Rooms.

‘Home­less­ness in the West Mid­lands – it’s time for sys­temic change’ will be chaired by Birm­ing­ham Post & Mail edi­tor Marc Reeves, and has been prompted by the huge rise in rough sleep­ing around Birm­ing­ham city cen­tre.

The other pan­el­lists will be Mar­cus Casey, from High­way Traf­fic Man­age­ment, Lorna Gavin, from law firm Gowl­ing WLG, and Coun Sharon Thompson, am­bas­sador for ad­dress­ing home­less­ness and rough sleep­ing at Birm­ing­ham City Coun­cil.

Opus di­rec­tor Ann Tonks said: “There is far too much home­less­ness in our re­gion. There are peo­ple vis­i­bly sleep­ing rough around the city cen­tre and I know many busi­nesses want to con­trib­ute to the big ef­forts that are be­ing made to help the home­less but, be­yond char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions, are un­sure on the best way to help.

“This is such an im­por­tant and chal­leng­ing sub­ject to fo­cus on and we ex­pect the au­di­ence mem­bers to ask hard-hit­ting ques­tions dur­ing the evening.

“We are keen to en­sure the au­di­ence goes away far bet­ter in­formed about the mul­ti­ple is­sues that con­trib­ute to home­less­ness in the re­gion, have a clear sense of how they might be able to help and di­rect their sup­port fruit­fully.”

The event starts at 5.30pm on Mon­day Oc­to­ber 9. Tick­ets are free but must be booked in ad­vance from www.eventbrite.co.uk.

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