Letter to secretary of state about people sleeping rough in Camden and Westminster

We have written the following letter to the secretary of state for housing urging the government to take the opportunity to end rough sleeping and homelessness.

6 May 2020

Robert Jenrick
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

Dear Robert Jenrick

I am writing to you on behalf of our organisation which operates in central London. We are pleased to hear that the majority of people sleeping rough on the streets have now been put up in hotels and other accommodation.

Westminster council has accommodated 249 people and Camden council has accommodated around 190 people in this way. We also understand that other London boroughs have put up rough sleepers in hotels in the London Borough of Camden and City of Westminster.

This is an opportunity to end rough sleeping in London and elsewhere in the UK. However, we are concerned that when the lockdown ends the majority of those housed temporarily in hotels will return to the streets such is the lack of affordable housing available.

It is not right that in the 21st century we have thousands of people living on the streets and more than 280,000* “hidden homeless” (*figure from Shelter).

Government must put a long term plan in place to address the circumstances that caused people to resort to sleeping rough in the first place. Without such a plan to address housing needs in the UK people will merely return to the streets to live. This will not only have a terrible impact on their own lives but also the environment for people living and working in central London.

We urge you: please do not pass by this opportunity to end rough sleeping and homelessness.

Regards

Linus Rees
director and trustee
Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association

Cc: Luke Hall MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary Of State (Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing)