The general election is just 15 days away. The manifestos have been published. Housing has become a more important issue, and has attracted some comment (not least the proposal to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants). However, homelessness and street homelessness, in particular, have hardly been mentioned.
So what do the national manifestos of the main parties say about homelessness? In alphabetical order:
Conservatives: “We have also pioneered the use of social impact bonds and payment-by-results, and we will look to scale these up in the future, focusing on youth unemployment, mental health and homelessness.” (page 46)
Green: “(We will) Provide more rights for homeless people, giving local authorities the same duties with regard to single people and childless couples as to families, and ending the practice of declaring people ‘intentionally homeless’. Aim to end rough sleeping completely and give public authorities a duty to prevent it.” (page 43)
Labour: “Homelessness is the ultimate symbol of the housing crisis. Labour reduced homelessness by 70 per cent when we were last in office, but all forms of homelessness are back on the rise, with rough sleeping having increased by 55 per cent. We are committed to reversing this trend by tackling the causes of homelessness and rough sleeping.” (page 46)
Liberal Democrats: “[We will] Conduct a full review of the help single people get under homelessness legislation.” (page100)
UKIP: “The scale of homelessness in 2015 is morally reprehensible and UKIP will seek to eliminate this national scandal. Tackling homelessness starts with knowing who and where homeless people are, so they can be offered housing and other life opportunities. We will establish a National Homeless Register to make it easier for those of no fixed abode to claim welfare entitlements; get access to medical and dental services; and enable support services to identify those at risk of physical, psychological and sexual abuse.” (page 34)
(My thanks to HomelessLink for providing a bakdown of manifesto commitments)