Green motion to Council calls for action on homelessness

26 October 2017

Guildhall Green Party councillor, Denise Craghill, has put forward a motion to Thursday’s Council meeting calling for urgent action to tackle the city’s homelessness and rough sleeping crisis.

Cllr Craghill says

“My motion acknowledges that both Council officers and voluntary sector organisations in York do a great deal of work to support homeless people in York – yet clearly something isn’t working. It is appalling that in this day and age a homeless person should have died on our streets. I spoke recently at a well attended event in St Helen’s Square for World Homeless Day. Speaker after speaker called for more urgent action including more temporary accommodation to be provided for the coming winter months.

In some ways homelessness is a complex issue and street sleepers are the tip of the iceberg, with large numbers of people in temporary accommodation and sleeping on friends’ sofas and many others unable to afford rents or house prices in York. Yet in other ways it should be a matter of simple humanity to ensure that people are not sleeping on the streets in winter temperatures.

My motion calls for the Council to look urgently into all the options as to what short term actions can be taken to tackle this growing crisis.”

Cllr Craghill’s motion makes reference to the recent report from homelessness charity Crisis which points out that rough sleeping is set to rise by 76% in the next 10 years unless policies are changed and to official Council figures showing an increase in rough sleepers in York from 2 to 18 since 2011. As well as the provision of more temporary accommodation for the winter months, it calls for consideration of options to provide more intensive support to help people who find themselves homeless back into work and into a position where they can be independent.

Cllr Craghill adds

“More intensive support may be more expensive in the first instance, but if it helps people back into independent lives it is likely to save a lot of money in the long run. Some of my residents in Guildhall ward have understandable concerns about the impact of street sleepers on the areas where they live. Taking more action to help street sleepers off the streets is a ‘win win’ both for homeless people and for residents.”