Mayoral candidates urged to pledge to end rough sleeping
published on 27 Apr 2021
The Salvation Army is calling on candidates who are standing for the four main political parties (Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party) in the mayoral elections in England to sign a pledge to work to end rough sleeping if elected.
The church and charity’s divisional commanders and political affairs colleagues wrote to candidates in each of the mayoral election areas urging them to help ensure the Government provides enough long-term funding for homelessness prevention.
Divisional Commander Major Ian Harris of the Severn and Somerset Division said: “I was pleased to write to the Mayoral candidates of the four main parties to ask for their help to end homelessness in our great cities.
“The Salvation Army’s frontline in the west of England has been working hard throughout the pandemic to provide beds, hot meals, warm clothing and a listening ear to rough sleepers.
“Every day they see the devastating impact homelessness has on people’s lives and the knock-on effect on services like the NHS and police, as they try to help people affected.
“Although real progress was made during the pandemic as part of the ‘Everyone In’ scheme, it is vital we keep up the momentum and ensure long term funding for homelessness services especially as an economic downturn is likely to mean more people are forced to sleep on the streets.
“I look forward to working with our elected mayor to press the case for the necessary Government funding to eradicate homelessness.”
The Salvation Army is one of the largest homelessness charities operating in the UK, providing more than 3,000 places for people in Lifehouses (supported housing) across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Alongside this many corps (churches) offer drop-ins and personalised support for people in need.
One of those helped by one of our Lifehouses was 43-year old Carl Lake who had become addicted to amphetamines, found himself unable to pay the rent and lost his home six years ago.
Carl said: “It was in February and it was absolutely freezing. I will never forget it. I went to the side of a shopping centre, got some boxes and made a bed in the doorway.
“Someone offered me a cup of tea and I burst into tears, I was that cold and hungry.”
Carl was offered a place to stay at The Salvation Army’s Darbyshire House in Liverpool, and with the help of the staff there began to tackle his drug addiction. He now works to offer the same support to others.
Carl added: “The Salvation Army saved my life. I owe everything to them, and I would not be where I am today - sober, with my own home, with fantastic friends - without them.”