North Staffs Green Party has today announced its support for homelessness charity Crisis's 'No-One Turned Away' campaign.
The campaign aims to ensure that single homeless people have access to the same level of support given to families in the same situation.
A freedom of information request made by North Staffs Green party earlier this month revealed that Stoke-on-Trent City Council received 17 'presentations' from people who are or are at risk of becoming homeless each week in June this year, of these just 5 were give places in accommodation. Regionally figures produced by the Office of National Statistics using data from the 2011 census shows that there are 18,500 homeless people in the West Midlands with 497 of these living in Stoke-on-Trent.
These official figures are, or course, the tip of a much larger iceberg with many homeless people 'sofa surfing' through informal accommodation provided by friends and relatives.
The Crisis campaign calls for the existing regulations governing how local authorities support homeless people to be enforced by regular inspections, better data collection on levels of homelessness and for councils to be given adequate funding to work with homeless people.
North Staffs Green Party Campaigns Coordinator Adam Colclough said: ' Our support for the Crisis campaign is in no way a criticism of the way the council supports homeless people, we recognise they are working within very tight financial constraints.'
He added that the government had 'created a huge rise in the number of homeless people though its changes to the benefits system and cuts to public services, they have a responsibility to address the problem they have created.'
The Green Party put forward in its election manifesto a number of policies that would address homelessness and wider housing related problems, these include;
Introducing a 'right to rent' where local authorities would step in to support people who are struggling to pay their housing costs, taking action to bring the thousands of empty properties across the country back into use; building 500,000 environmentally friendly social rented homes and devolving Housing Benefit to councils so they can tailor the support they give to local need.
The Green Party also supports homeless people who are single or part of a childless couple being given the same rights to support currently granted to families.
Campaigns Coordinator Adam Colclough said: 'Having a secure and suitable place to live is a basic human right, shamefully that is a right denied to too many people in this country.'
The party had, he said, written to Homelessness Minister Marcus Jones calling on 'the government of which he is part to meet their responsibilities in this area.'