READING EAST MP Matt Rodda pledged help end rough sleeping at a St Mungo’s event in Parliament hosted by Mary Robinson MP. More than 80 guests, including St Mungo’s clients, parliamentarians and charity representatives, met in the House of Commons to discuss the government’s commitment to end rough sleeping, with Communities Secretary Sajid Javid MP and Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey MP attending.

Matt was one of more than 50 parliamentarians from across political parties who attended the event. Rough sleeping has increased by 134% over the last five years across England. Recent figures revealed that 8,108 people were seen rough sleeping in London in 2016-17. Attending MPs were given a special advent calendar with doors opening to reveal steps that St Mungo’s clients have taken on their journey out of rough sleeping. This calendar was designed using information from real stories shared by some of the 2,700 clients for whom St Mungo’s provides housing and support each night.

 Matt said:

In addition to London, Reading has seen a significant increase in the amount of rough sleepers in the town. Whilst I welcome the announcement of a new homelessness taskforce in the recent Budget statement, I shall continue to hold the Government to account on its continued programme of cuts which is partly why we have such a high incidence of rough sleeping in our society.”

 Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said:

Rough sleeping is harmful and dangerous and ruins lives. Tackling homelessness is one of the major issues society faces over the coming years and we welcome the announcement of a new homelessness taskforce, announced in the Budget, and more piloting of innovative approaches such as Housing First.”

 He added:

If ministers are serious about meeting this government commitment by 2027, there is a lot of work to do. Homeless hostels and other supported housing will be key to achieving this commitment, and ensuring people are not left out in the cold this winter, or in the years ahead. Our thanks to MP Mary Robinson and other guests who joined us to explore how we can make a society where no-one is sleeping rough on the streets a reality by 2027.”

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