In Ipswich we have a significant challenge when it comes to tackling homelessness. Due to the challenges around the cost of living, it’s sadly not a surprise there has been a slight increase in most places.
However, it doesn’t seem right to me that instead of shouldering the responsibility to tackle homelessness in their own areas, so many local councils in the Eastern Region are sending homeless people who they are responsible for to Ipswich. More often than not, they are then accommodated in the Town centre.
I raised this issue with the Government. After raising the question, I was able to meet with the Minister for Homelessness, Felicity Buchan, to discuss my concerns in more detail. She said to me that the local authorities in question absolutely have a responsibility to do everything they can to ensure that those who are homeless are accommodated in their own local area first, and not moved to another local area which is so often the case with Ipswich. The Minister said she would look in detail at what’s happening in Ipswich to ensure that all the rules are being followed and that neighbouring authorities truly are doing everything within their power to accommodate the homeless people they are responsible for within their own local authority area.
When another local authority sends homeless people to another area, they pay their accommodation costs. However, this isn’t the only pressure and challenge placed on the area the people in question are being moved to. Currently it really doesn’t feel that this arrangement isn’t working for Ipswich.
I’m very keen to see that those who fall on tough times and become homeless get all the support they need. We have fantastic organisations in Ipswich which work tirelessly to support these individuals. It is important though, that all others step up, and are required to do so. We already have a significant challenge supporting Ipswich people who become homeless. It’s unfair for this challenge to be made even harder by other areas not stepping up like we do.