Following the Green Party’s successful motion to Council on homelessness in October 2017, Rosie Baker, the party’s Micklegate candidate last year,spoke at the Executive meeting on 25th January 2018 to highlight strongly the life-changing work which she believes the council must now commit to, in order tosupport York’s rough sleepers, homeless people and those at risk from homelessness. You can watch the webcast of the meeting here.
(Rosie is the 3rd speaker, following fellow YGP member, Ginnie Shaw speaking on the Clean Air Zone proposal.)
York Green Party welcomes parts of the Housing and Community Safety report’s action-plan. This includes agreeing to offer continuous severe weather provision until Feb 28th 2018. Quoting Guildhall Councillor Craghill, who brought forward the motion,
Rosie said- “These are certainly steps in the right direction but we have to wonder whether the proposed levels of investment will only skim the surface of the depth of need that is out there – and is likely to get worse without further action. The additional investment in much needed one bedroom Council homes is very welcome – if the Executive is indeed willing to commit to it – rather than leaving officers to ‘advocate’ for it. Additional temporary accommodation and a new officer to assist people to get into the private rented sector are both welcome.”
However York Green Party are gravely concerned about the repeated losses of funding, support workers and lack of any specialist long-term accommodation for people with mental health needs in York. The Council motion called to expand the Housing First model which is focusses on getting people off the street into housing as a first priority and that abstinence from drugs and alcohol is not required as a first step. They would then receive intensive support to change their lives. Rosie added-
“surely it is in everyone’s interests to get people into homes they feel safe and supported in?”
The Green Party believes we must listen more meaningfully to homeless people themselves, to learn from their views and ideas. They called on the Executive to consider investing much larger sums in bolder efforts to extend ‘Housing First’ to a wider group of people.