Exeter homelessness charity launches its first manifesto

A city-based charity launches its own manifesto this week, which is aimed at focusing minds on the traumatic subject of homelessness and its causes.

The two-sided A5 pamphlet, which is St Petrock’s first such document released during a general election period, is now being distributed across city centre venues as well as being available on the charity’s website.

Director, Peter Stephenson, said: “Rough sleeping is the miniscule tip of a gigantic UK homelessness iceberg.  Every single day in our centre we see the impact of decisions made at ministerial level, so we believe we’re well placed to give a view on policy and where it must be improved to better support our clients and prevent more people from experiencing the trauma of homelessness.

“Rough sleepers - and homeless people generally - don’t have much of a voice and often feel invisible, so it’s important that we speak up on their behalf when an opportunity arises.”

Six pledges to help reduce homelessness

St Petrock’s is calling on all parties to commit to the following six pledges:

  • Commit to a long-term cross-party strategy to address the housing crisis
  • Invest heavily in new social housing, and in bringing empty homes back into use
  • Ensure Local Housing Allowance keeps pace with actual rental costs
  • Ensure timely and comprehensive support to prevent people from becoming homeless
  • Ensure access to tailored, prompt mental health care and addiction recovery services
  • Guarantee accommodation for prisoners on release, with support to prevent re-offending

Rough sleeping has increased in Exeter

“Rough sleeping has climbed in recent years so that on a typical night between 25 and 35 people are on the streets in our city.  Of course, many many more are homeless but unseen, sleeping on floors, in sheds, cars, and empty buildings, or in Council-funded temporary accommodation for example. This is the worst I have known it in over 20 years.”

Mr Stephenson added: “A huge thank you to city centre venues that are displaying copies of our manifesto. We hope that it will help bust a few myths and encourage our local candidates to think deeply about homelessness and how their parties can help people.”

St Petrock’s is also organising a Homelessness and Hardship hustings alongside Exeter Citizens Advice, which takes place on Thursday 27 June, at South Street Baptist Church, Exeter, starting at 7pm.  All are welcome.

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