Stephen spoke last week in favour of a bill set to reduce homelessness. Addressing MPs in the House of Commons, he said that the Homelessness Reduction Bill was badly needed given the dramatic rise in the number of rough sleepers around the UK over recent years.
The Bill was introduced by Conservative MP, Bob Blackman. It aims to draw on the successful example of the Welsh Government’s 2014 Housing Act by giving new powers of prevention to local authorities. The Bill was given its second reading in Parliament last Friday and has enjoyed much media attention, along with considerable cross-party support.
In his speech, Stephen praised the Newham-based charity, NewWay, which works to reduce homelessness and protect existing rough sleepers within the Borough. He told the House of Commons that the charity had provided accommodation for 225 people in total in the past three years. Stephen also praised the work of Caritas Anchor House, which is based in Canning Town. It supports more than 200 single homeless adults at any one time, and provides employment support and rehabilitation for them too.
Speaking afterwards, Stephen said: “I am pleased that the Homelessness Reduction Bill has passed its Second Reading. The scale of rising homelessness in Newham – and London as whole – is a cause of concern. However, should this Bill become law – which I hope it does – it will need to be supported by Government funding to enable local authorities to build more homes. It must not be an excuse for the Government to devolve responsibility to councils without proper funding, or to shift the blame to councils for the Government's failure on homelessness.”