On 7th December 2017 Baroness Gardner of Parkes asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to support councils to provide emergency housing to help those who have been made unintentionally homeless.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, we have heard a great deal about urban areas in cities and the capital, but what about rural areas? What are Her Majesty’s Government doing to address the issue of homelessness in the countryside, where there has been a 52% increase in rough sleeping in our rural areas?
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: My Lords, I thank the right reverend Prelate for mentioning rural Britain. He is absolutely right that it is an important issue outside the cities and suburbs. We have trailblazer areas in relation to the prevention of homelessness throughout the country: I can think, for example, of Ryedale in Yorkshire and Uttlesford in rural Essex. There are certainly pockets—more than pockets: they are areas—of rural England where this is a real problem. We are putting in resources and are well aware of the problem. I thank the Church and in particular the cathedrals for all that they do in relation to homelessness and for the help that they provide. I have had the opportunity to see that at first hand over the last year and I thank the right reverend Prelate for his question.