(Asian independent) Rough sleepers and homeless people in the West Midlands will have a “Bill of Rights” in the West Midlands if Liam Byrne MP becomes Mayor of the region in May’s elections.
He was speaking during a visit to the Reachout Centre for rough sleepers and homeless people based at the City Road Methodist Church in Birmingham.
“I am deeply impressed by the work that Paul Atkin and his team do for rough sleepers who drop in for a shower and a hot meal.
“We need to give rough sleepers and homeless people some real encouragement and hope.
“Birmingham has led the way by setting a common set of values and treating the homeless as being people in need, rather than criminals. But the West Midlands needs an approach which has the support of all three cities and four boroughs.
“I believe that the Mayor’s office can make a significant contribution by bringing together all the agencies and collaborating with grassroots groups to ensure that homeless people have their right to a home respected. Alongside that, we will establish a Homelessness Bill of Rights including a charter of rights which treats the homeless with respect and as people in need.
“Specifically, I would also like to see a region wide campaign to persuade the government to restore housing benefit for the under 25s.”
“I believe that the Mayor’s office can make a significant contribution by bringing together all the agencies to ensure that homeless people have their right to a home respected.
“Specifically, I would like to see a region wide campaign to persuade the government to restore housing benefit for the under 25s and scrap the policy of ‘no recourse to public funds’ which has led so many into homelessness,”
During his visit to the Reachout Centre Liam Byrne spoke with homeless people and the volunteers who support them. He was impressed that the Methodist Church had agreed with Reachout to install a kitchen, showers and washing machines to help people sleeping rough keep clean.
“This is a first class initiative by volunteers to support the poorest people in our community. It demonstrates how much our faith communities contribute to our society.” He added.