The latest government announcement on homelessness will not help any of the 566 homeless families who were still in temporary accommodation last weekend (10 August).
As for the so called ‘extra’ £239,000 funding, this was already allocated to Milton Keynes. And whilst helpful, it does not provide a long term solution.
Milton Keynes Council leader Pete Marland said: “Today’s announcement by the Government does nothing to address the needs of the 566 families who were in temporary accommodation over the weekend. It does nothing to stop the weekly and evictions of families by private landlords and nothing to increase the amount of truly affordable housing locally, which is the only real solution to the housing crisis facing our city.”
Cllr Marland added: “What we need is for the government to remove the block on our ability to build new truly affordable council housing – but Government Ministers and the local Tory MPs have consistently refused to remove the cap on our ability to build new homes. The governments latest announcement is another public relations exercise, where they recycle already agreed funds.”
Cabinet member for Housing, Cllr Nigel Long continued: “The government says it will support Housing First pilots to tackle rough sleepers. That’s a bit late. We have been operating a Housing First service for 6 months and it is beginning to solve the street homelessness challenge. Last Friday (10 August) there were 62 rough sleepers in specialist temporary accommodation getting care and support as well as accommodation. So we welcome this approach, but £239,000 for one year will not address either street homelessness or the bigger problem of the 566 families in mainstream temporary accommodation.”
Council Leader Pete Marland concluded: “What Milton Keynes needs is the freedom to build new Council houses. To get families, most of whom are in work, out of temporary accommodation and into secure stable tenancies. This means real action by the government to remove the cap on our ability to build. This would be a real housing change, not this public relations exercise re-announcing money that has already been agreed. We need genuine action on both mainstream homeless families and on rough sleepers.”