Chapel Allerton's Susan Harris on Homelessness in Leeds

April 24, 2018 12:42 AM
By Susan Harris

Homeless Man

Homelessness is rightly in the news again. Channel 4 are doing regular excellent reports about homelessness and there was another distressing report broadcast this evening https://www.channel4.com/news/topic/homelessness

In October 2017 two homeless men died in Leeds City Centre - Alan Campbell and Geordie were their names. Alan was 42 and had not seen his mother for seven years at the time of his death.

Leeds City Council say that they work with the third sector and claim that we have two thirds less rough sleepers than in similar sized cities. Despite this we all will have noticed an increase in rough sleepers in various parts of the city.

Emmaus Leeds, Leeds Housing Concern, Simon On The Streets and St George's Crypt are probably the charities that you will have heard of in Leeds but there are many other third sector organisations helping to fight homelessness and providing support to people who need help to get back on their feet.

Homelessness of anyone in our community should be something that concerns us all, along with the fact that it is the third sector that takes most of the strain. Outreach teams are vital to get engagement with rough sleepers and to build trust, so that people will accept assistance. Places of care are needed to help people move on and something better than poor temporary accommodation is desperately needed. People should not feel that they are less safe in that accommodation than they are on the streets. It is also necessary to provide treatment that addresses the underlying reasons why someone has become homeless in the first place.

Thank you Channel 4 for your sympathetic and in depth reporting and for keeping this issue in the news.

Let's all work together to help the homeless of Leeds and to press the government to provide resources and initiatives to end homelessness in the UK.