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Shadow Homelessness Minister visits Milton Keynes to learn about city’s efforts to tackle rough sleeping

The Shadow Homelessness Minister visited Milton Keynes yesterday to learn about the city’s collaborative efforts to tackle rough sleeping, which means that nobody has to sleep on the streets.

Mike Amesbury MP was welcomed by Councillor Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for Homelessness, who has overseen the successful homelessness response by Milton Keynes City Council.


The Shadow Minister received a tour of the Old Bus Station, where the City Council operates a 19-bed emergency shelter that has supported hundreds of individuals since opening nearly two years ago. He also toured homelessness charity UnityMK and learnt about the importance of bringing voluntary and statutory support services together under one roof.


The visit concluded with a roundtable with members of the MK Homelessness Partnership, including colleagues from the City Council, NHS, Probation Service and Thames Valley Police. The roundtable heard the need for more affordable housing to tackle homelessness, investment in prevention, and the end of no-fault evictions – alongside long-term funding from Central Government to allow proper planning of services.


Councillor Emily Darlington, who is also standing to be Labour’s MP for Milton Keynes Central at the next general election, said:


“Five years ago, Milton Keynes was dubbed ‘tent city’ and now nobody needs to sleep on the streets. This is all down to the collaborative efforts by the City Council and its partners, who continue to work tirelessly to support people off the streets and into safe accommodation.


“It was great to welcome Mike Amesbury MP to Milton Keynes to show him what we’ve done over the past few years, and hope we will soon have a Labour Government that will support our work to end rough sleeping for good.”


Labour's Shadow Homelessness Minister, Mike Amesbury MP, added:


“It was great to see some of the excellent work being done to tackle homelessness in Milton Keynes, and I thank Councillor Emily Darlington for giving me a guided tour. The rise in homelessness in Milton Keynes and all over the country is being driven by a chronic shortage of decent, secure and affordable housing after fourteen years of Tory failure.


“This Government is failing to get a grip on our country's homelessness crisis. A toxic mix of rising rents and a failure to end no-fault evictions are hitting vulnerable people.


“Labour has called for emergency legislation to scrap section 21 evictions and end automatic evictions for rent arrears, and we have set out plans to build more affordable and social housing to get people into safe, secure homes.


“It’s Labour that will take seriously the homelessness prevention agenda, ensuring agencies work together to stop those at the sharp end falling through the cracks.”


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