Homelessness in 2016 – a fringe event in Brighton and how you can help

Homelessness FringeFollowing Saturday’s successful motion on tackling homelessness, London Liberal Democrats hosted a fringe event on homelessness in 2016. Despite being up against both Tim Farron and Nick Clegg fringes, the room was packed and it was standing room only at the back!
Alice Ashcroft from Crisis kicked off the debate by outline what is happening in Parliament, particularly focusing on the Homelessness Reduction Bill, more details of which are below. Councillor Jayne McCoy then outlined the problems local government faces when dealing with homelessness especially when facing budget cuts from the Government.
Simon Grainge then described the work of Emmaus which has 28 communities across the UK housing over 750 people. Emmaus believes overcoming homelessness means more than a roof over your head. That’s why Emmaus supports people to work their way out of homelessness, providing meaningful work as well a stable home for as long as someone needs it. Emmaus also helps the state and society as for every £1 spent with Emmaus, there is an £11 return on investment, with social, environmental and economic benefits.

It was then the turn of Graeme Clark who is a companion at Emmaus Brighton to share his story. Graeme outlined how he became homeless and the challenges he faced with the local authority and also on the streets facing abuse from people. Graeme as a companion not only lives at Emmaus but is also and also participates in community’s social enterprise, which helps fund supporting himself and the other companions.
You can find out more about Emmaus here.
The remainder of the fringe meeting was handed over for questions from the audience these varied from councillors sharing their frustration of fighting to get people housed and questions about how the audience can help tackle homelessness. One of the key things Graeme said is not to be frightened of engaging with homeless people, do say hello and take time to find out their story and ask how you can help.
Another practical way everyone can help is to contact their local MP, regardless whether they are a Liberal Democrats or not, about the Homelessness Reduction Bill. The Bill has its Second Reading on Friday 28th October and it is crucial as many MPs attend and support the Bill. There is further information about the Bill and how you can help here.
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This entry was posted in Conference and Op-eds.


  • Robert Wootton 22nd Sep '16 - 11:12am

    Did people vote for Brexit because they were concerned that taking on a quota of homeless refugees would lead to them getting preferential treatment over the homeless people in Brighton, Bournemouth and the rest of the UK? Solve the problem of eliminating homelessness that already exists in this country and there would bless resentment against refugees. As some bloke said, take the beam out of your own eye before trying to take the mote out of someone else’s eye. Something like that anyway.

    I hope the Homelessness reduction bill helps if it is passed. However, I don’t think it will. Like any other policy that attempts to right a social ill, it is merely a patch or bug fix for an inherently unfair economic (operating) system that produces homelessness as part of it output along with extreme wealth for the few and extreme poverty for the many.

    If the party is serious about reducing homelessness, the neoliberal economic system propagated (successfully) by the CPS (Centre for Policy Studies) absolutely must be replaced by a fair and just Liberal Economic System as a first step.

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