High­light our real hous­ing is­sues

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Speaker’scorner -

Santa can’t al­ways bring us that new i-phone, let alone non-fat­ten­ing mince pies, hap­pi­ness – or a home. We are faced with dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions, in an im­per­fect world with lim­ited re­sources, un­evenly shared. We of­ten don’t have enough in­for­ma­tion, in­ac­cu­rate post-truth or only part of the pic­ture.

I want: bal­anced re­port­ing! PT has fea­tured the St Michael’s Gate hous­ing cri­sis, and many gen­er­ous re­sponses to home­less­ness, but hasn’t high­lighted the tire­less work of the Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil Hous­ing Needs and com­mu­nity po­lice teams. Nor how to no­tify the coun­cil if you know some­one’s sleep­ing rough https:// www.peter­bor­ough.gov.uk/ res­i­dents/hous­ing/home­less­ness/ Nor the low up­take of the 12 ex­tra beds pro­vided un­der the Se­vere Weather Emer­gency Pro­to­col. Nor the staff at the New Haven Hos­tel and Out­side Links, who are sup­ple­mented from De­cem­ber to March by hun­dreds of trained vol­un­teers on even­ing meal, overnight and break­fast shifts at the Peter­bor­ough Win­ter Night Shel­ter.

The Peter­bor­ough Win­ter Night Shel­ter of­fers con­struc­tive per­son-to-per­son sup­port, treat­ing guests with dig­nity and hon­esty. Seven churches of­fer space and vol­un­teers for 1 night each week over 3 months. And it works, help­ing many peo­ple to move for­ward to more sus­tain­able ac­com­mo­da­tion, get jobs and feel part of so­ci­ety again.

They want: If one of the 21 home­less peo­ple in Peter­bor­ough (as per the of­fi­cial count last Novem­ber) wants a bed for the night at the shel­ter, they must:

- have a lo­cal con­nec­tion (if they don’t, they may be of­fered a travel war­rant to re­turn to their own lo­cal­ity e.g. Leeds, and 1 night’s stay be­fore they go)

- be as­sessed as low risk e.g. clean and dry (I’m not talk­ing about the weather!) and must not have com­mit­ted a vi­o­lent or sex­ual crime

- sign a guest agree­ment, in­clud­ing a com­mit­ment to visit the Hous­ing Needs Team at Ba­yard Place who can point them to other ser­vices.

We want: do we know what we want? Some­times we want what’s not good for us - too much sweet fatty food, too lit­tle ex­er­cise. Peo­ple who voted Brexit tell me they didn’t want to en­cour­age racism or jeop­ar­dise their chil­dren’s eco­nomic fu­ture or re­duce Bri­tain’s ef­fec­tive power in the world of Putin, Trump and ISIS – Brexit’s only 3 in­ter­na­tional sup­port­ers. If you want a chance to say what you *now* want about Brexit, sign https://pe­ti­tion.par­lia­ment.uk/pe­ti­tions/175845. Many say they want sim­ple an­swers, but there are hard ques­tions, global and lo­cal.

Fun­da­men­tally, I want a fair, free and open so­ci­ety. As Peter­bor­ough LibDems, we want:

- to strengthen our sense of com­mu­nity with our neigh­bours (as in “peo­ple who live near me in Peter­bor­ough”), as well as in­ter­na­tional vir­tual shared-in­ter­est “com­mu­ni­ties”;

- to fos­ter phys­i­cal con­nec­tions be­tween peo­ple (cel­e­brat­ing di­ver­sity, grow­ing mu­tual re­spect) and with our en­vi­ron­ment (en­joy­ing na­ture and healthy ac­tiv­ity ac­tiv­ity, fa­cil­i­tat­ing men­tal well-be­ing).

We want a Lib­eral Bri­tain where in­di­vid­u­als be­lieve they have greater con­trol over our shared destiny - and where they ac­tu­ally do! Meet me out­side the Town Hall this com­ing Satur­day morn­morn ing (14 Jan­uary 10am-noon) to tell me your pri­or­i­ties for a Lib­eral Peter­bor­ough. Or join me: at http://www. libdems.org.uk/ or on shift at the Night Shel­ter, con­tact sue@light­pro­ject­peter­bor­ough.org.uk

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