The citizens panel have so far listened to four presentations by the four speakers. Here is a first list of policy proposals that speakers have asked the citizens panel to endorse. These are still under consideration and will be reviewed in the fifth and final session:
Sid Reed from Breadline, Penzance
Breadline works with homeless people in Penzance, serving them a breakfast, giving clothing where possible and signposting them for advice and support to relieve homelessness
Restore the grant money that was cut by Cornwall Council
This would free the project from time wasted on endless grant application forms and allow them to fully focus on client needs. It would also do away with the uncertainty, along with attendant anxiety as to whether the project had a future at all.
Lynn and Craig: Street Food People and Rebuild South West
Rebuild South West is “a unique CIC run by Ex Military personnel working with a wide array of individuals to restore lives, rebuild properties, and directly work towards social improvement”.
The Street Food Project is a volunteer run community based project. We help to feed and clothe the homeless and people who are facing extreme financial hardship.
Their proposals to the citizens panel were:
Early intervention mental health support
identify young people vulnerable to homelessness as a result of mental health, drug and alcohol issues. Do this at a very early stage in order to prevent homelessness
Cornwall Council to be transparent about disused land for alternative housing solutions
Housing associations to be transparent about empty homes it owns
sometimes housing associations abandon empty homes because the cost of renovation is too high. Rebuild South West has both the manpower, energy and imagination to renovate abandoned properties at a cost far below what other builders put forward
Rebuild Southwest to have its own housing list and own housing criteria
Many of those involved in renovating abandoned buildings are themselves homeless or ex homeless young people who learn new skills, the value of teamwork and the discipline of a working day. The benefits to both themselves and the community are huge. They deserve to have a home of their own if they put so much energy into building one. Rebuild Southwest propose that something like 25% to 40% of the abandoned buildings they renovate go towards the clients they train and support
Sheila Hutchins, Citizens Advice Cornwall
Major building programme for more Social Housing
This is the only sure way to improve secure affordable housing in place of insecure housing and excessive rents. It will be key to reducing the blight of homelessness in our communities.
Restore Sure Start centres
Many of the young homeless we see today have often suffered childhood trauma of one kind or another, including domestic abuse. Sure Start was highly effective in supporting vulnerable families and giving a child the best support in life
Dave Clift, USDAW Trade Union
Right to a contract that reflects normal working hours
A £10 per hour minimum wage for all workers,
A minimum 16 hour per week contract for those who want it,
End Zero Hours contracts
Review Universal Credit and either reform or replace it in order to ensure strong welfare support
Extract from talk on in-work poverty: last year, Usdaw surveyed over 10,500 low paid workers to identify their experiences of the issues caused through in work poverty.
The results of this survey were startling.
- Over the previous five years, 92% of those surveyed had seen no improvement in their financial situation.
- Over the previous 12 months, 76% had to rely on unsecured borrowing to pay everyday bills.
- And 63% of people believe that financial worries were having an impact on their mental health.