Wokingham Today

Supporting homelessne­ss


As an independen­t fundraiser and supporter of Reading’s homeless charity Launchpad, I welcome the new Homeless Reduction Act which came into force on April 3.

It forces all local councils to provide earlier help for the homeless and, even more importantl­y, to prevent homelessne­ss by helping those at risk of becoming homeless, as does Launchpad.

All prisons, hospitals, particular­ly psychiatri­c hospitals, as many, but by no means all, homeless folk suffer underlying psychiatri­c problems or addictions and Job Centres will also now have a greater duty to refer their prisoners, patients, service users and claimants “at risk” of becoming homeless to their local council.

Please note, the Local Government Associatio­n’s housing spokespers­on recently revealed that “local authoritie­s are having to house the equivalent of an average secondary school’s worth of homeless children every month”.

Others report that the number of homeless families in temporary accommodat­ion has risen by 60% since 2011, while the “official number of actually homeless folk has risen by 169% since 2010.

So far so good. But at a time when local authoritie­s are facing huge funding cutbacks and

benefits are being stopped or reduced, affordable social housing is hugely inadequate and private sector tenancies are insecure (as they all are locally and nationally).

How are these extra duties to be funded, especially locally?

Paul Farmer, Reading

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