24 March 2020
Questioning from Green councillor Rob White exposes that rough sleeping in Reading is on the increase. Rough sleepers are particularly vulnerable currently with COVID-19 due to the difficulties of self-isolating without a home.
The headcount conducted in November every year shows for the last year the number of people sleeping rough on Reading’s streets rose from 25 to 28. There were as few as 4 people sleeping rough in 2012 before cuts to homeless services started to bite. This headcount is an underestimate of the total number of residents sleeping rough but does show the trend.
Speaking at the meeting Rob White Green councillor said: “Unfortunately more people are sleeping rough. Living on the streets is dangerous. It causes health problems and affects people’s wellbeing.”
Rob White continued: “In these extraordinary times it is particularly important to look out for our vulnerable residents such as those rough sleeping. This includes people from other countries who normally can’t access public funding. Without a home it is impossible to self-isolate more funding needs to be made available. Anything else would be inhumane.
“After a decade of cuts and a massive rise in the numbers rough sleeping this Tory government must act, put an end to austerity and put far more funding into ending rough sleeping.”
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