Bishop of Rochester highlights scandal of working homeless

On 20th December 2018 the Government responded to an urgent question on homelessness. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, asked a further question, about people who are working but who are homeless:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, despite what the noble Baroness has just said about jobs, some of the people who have died had jobs and were homeless yet in work. That seems to compound the scandal. The Minister might have seen an article in today’s Financial Times, which features, of all places, Tunbridge Wells and the work of Habitat for Humanity, the YMCA and the churches there in tackling homelessness. It identifies the issue that among the people who are being helped are some who are in work. Does the Minister accept that this phenomenon is a particular scandal? What is the intention of Her Majesty’s Government to work on not just the homelessness dimensions of this but on the employment dimensions which lead to this strange conjunction which we seem to be experiencing?

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: I thank the right reverend Prelate. As I have indicated, this is a very complex problem. The contribution of the right reverend Prelate about people who are in work yet are still homeless perhaps illustrates that. That demands much greater attention that it has had in the past, and it is why we have the strategy and the commitments, and why there will be ongoing work, particularly individualising this so that individuals get care and attention and in that way we take care of the many different facets exhibited by a serious and tragic problem, as we have seen in the most recent case on our doorstep.


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