Labour is calling on the Government to commit that no one in the West of England will spend this winter on the streets.

Research by charity HomelessLink found one third of homeless organisations and local authorities expect there will be thousands fewer beds available across the country,

While many rough sleepers were given emergency accommodation during the spring lockdown, recent data suggests that more people are again sleeping on the streets.

Metro Mayor candidate Dan Norris said: “This winter, Labour is calling on the Government to make sure everyone has a safe, Covid-secure place to stay this winter. That involves investment to help support vulnerable people. I also firmly believe we can learn from the work of other Metro Mayors across the country such as Andy Burnham’s “A Bed Every Night” programme which I will be discussing in detail with him.”

Bristol MP Thangam Debbonaire MP who is Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said: “Even before the crisis, rough sleeping was a shameful sign of government failure. This winter, without the last resort of night shelters, rough sleeping is more desperate than ever. The Government promised to end rough sleeping for good – it must ensure everyone has a safe, Covid-secure place to stay this winter.”

Rough sleeping is not inevitable. Homelessness fell at an unprecedented rate with Labour but since the Tories have decided of rough sleepers to slash investment for affordable homes, cut back housing benefit, reduce funding for homelessness services, and deny protection to private renters, the number of rough sleepers has soared.

At the last election, the Tories promised to end rough sleeping for good. Before this crisis, they were already failing to meet their targets. There can be no return to business as usual.

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