Archbishop: House-building will make homelessness a thing of the past

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has given his blessing to a report which suggests that homelessness would be wiped out in a decade with the building of 100,000 social housing units a year.

Homelessness charity Crisis, which produced the report, calls on the government to commit to the house-building programme.

It has earned the endorsement of Mr Welby who described homelessness as a “tragedy” and said such a commitment would “help ensure that homelessness becomes a thing of the past”.

Mr Welby said: “Many churches support people who are homeless, befriending them and providing a listening ear, as well as offering food, night shelters, and other practical help.

“But there is so much more that we can, and should, all be doing as a society.”

Archbishop Justin Welby

Canterbury has an estimated 50 people sleeping rough on its streets. There are more than 2,000 names on its housing waiting list and some families have reported living in unsuitable temporary accommodation.

The city council has been given a £220,000 government grant to help tackle homelessness in the district.

Crisis’s report is called Everybody In: How to end homelessness in Great Britain and details what the government should do to eliminate homelessness.

It proposes building just over 100,000 new homes a year for the next 15 years in order to meet continuing demand for accommodation.

The Crisis plan would also legally require hospitals, prisons, and the care system to avoid people leaving their care and finding themselves on the streets.

Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes, said: “We must not become a society that simply accepts homelessness as a sad fact of life, because the good news is that we know it doesn’t have to be this way.

“With the right measures in place, we can do what it takes to end homelessness and make sure that no one in Britain has to face it again.”

The estimated cost of the house-building programme is £9.9 billion.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says it is already investing £9 billion in building more affordable homes.

A spokesman added: “We are investing more than £1.2 billion to tackle all forms of homelessness, and just last week we announced £30 million for councils, to help boost the immediate support available to people living on the streets.”

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