Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Taking a Homeless Person off the Streets Is Only the First Step on a Long Path to Inclusion; in My View

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Taking a Homeless Person off the Streets Is Only the First Step on a Long Path to Inclusion; in My View

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Anderson

HOMELESSNESS today is a many layered issue and in most cases a great deal more than a housing-related problem.

I have recently become involved with Tyneside Cyrenians, which has given me a whole new insight into their work and the issues faced by homeless people.

Effective solutions require courage, passion and the design and implementation of innovative ways of working.

This demands that the voluntary, public and, increasingly, the private sectors work together. By doing so, it can be possible to stabilise chaotic lifestyles and create real pathways towards social and economic inclusion.

I have become increasingly impressed by the role played by the voluntary sector in the delivery of support services to the most disadvantaged in the community and particularly that played by Tyneside Cyrenians, a multi-award winning charity that is changing the lives and building the futures of homeless people throughout the region.

In my view, Tyneside Cyrenians have shown true courage, passion, and innovation in their efforts to provide opportunities for homeless people. They lead by example and I was surprised to learn that over 30% of their 100 employees have previously been homeless.

Their rationale in this is quite simple; those who have been homeless are often best placed to fully understand the support needed and the barriers faced by homeless people.

They provide common sense opportunities for people to improve their lives; offering jobs where jobs are needed, street outreach for rough sleepers and a wealth of training and housing opportunities for excluded groups.

As a Labour MP, I am proud that our Government's track record of investment in providing interventions and reductions in homelessness has been second to none and the results in many cases have been dramatic; specifically there has been a 73% reduction in rough sleeping since Labour came to power.

This success however can bring its own problems. Taking a homeless person off the streets is only the first step on a long path to independence and inclusion. The reasons for people becoming homeless are varied and in most cases that much more than a simple matter of housing. …

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