13 April, 2005


The three big voice panelists met panelists from Birmingham. They sat and discussed local issues and on the issues of the general elections agenda, by the way none of which were about helping or trying to end homelessness.
I was invited to see a new hostel iniative for women, (the first male to be allowed entry.) When I saw the scheme I knew I was looking at something unique. All residents either had a self contained bedsit with bathroom. Not a room like you would see normally in a hostel plus there were four one bedroom flats on the top floor. It was something I think that should be viewed by other agencies and MPs in the hope that they can see what could be done if enough money was forth coming from government. The idea of the hostel is to take in women with or without problems. They all have to sign a license that has a help contract attached. A brilliant idea. It replaces the old contract that only said you where entitled to stay. Their contract also says you will receive help if requested.
It has always surprised me that woman seem to have fewer hostels yet twenty percent of homeless people are in fact women. Here I was talking to the its residents and staff. The first person I met was Caroline who was part hidden homeless the reason the big voice tour was conceived.
I also met one Lib Dem candiate who I asked several questions after I thanked him for attending. I also met Alistair Dow a Lib Dem councilor.
Q. Why doesn't any government that are in power realize they we do have a problem with homelessness in which I included hidden homeless.
A. Most governments do realize that we have a problem but find it hard to find a solution we at the Lib dem intend to find a solution not a sticking plaster solution. We know we have to find solutions that are long term.
Q. Does this mean you will research the subject for four years and then if you get into power again research it some more?
A. Because it takes time to contact homeless agencies and other agencies concerned to compile plans and strategies on how we can fix the problems. It does take time and as I have said we do need to find a long term solution and I would hope it could be done within a specified time.
Q. The normal answer most MPs give as a solution to homelessness is to fund councils so they can open up their shuttered properties do you feel this is a solution?
A. I think it could be in the right circumstances.
Q Do you think that previous governments saw the drug problem this country now has and did nothing.
A. I think previous governments saw the problem but reacted to late and now that we do have this problem we have to find better ways of dealing with it.
Q. Don't you think it ridiculous that someone wanting to come of drugs should have to wait six months or more for a place in a rehab.
A. We have a drug problem that should be dealt with as a Piority because I feel the investment now in drug rehabs and other facilities would benefit all because we know drugs and crime and homelessness are related. We need to sort this problem now. It would benefit all not only home owners, car owners and businesses but it would also benifit families.
I thanked him and Alistair Dow for allowing me to ask my questions they were then ask to sign the pledge to end homelessness.

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