Homelessness prevention in London

MQT on 2013-05-22
Session date: 
May 22, 2013
Question By: 
Steve O'Connell
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Would you agree that a lack of awareness of housing rights can be a key factor to becoming homeless and hence would you agree that, in tandem with local London Authorities, City Hall should have a duty to promote effective housing advice?


Answer for Homelessness prevention in London

Answer for Homelessness prevention in London

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Thanks, Steve. Obviously this is an acute problem. I think I am right in saying you spent a night out on the street?

Steve O'Connell (AM): I did in Wallington. That is not the purpose of the question, but I did spend a night out to experience the traumas in Wallington.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): In Wallington, yes. At the moment, what we have is the No Second Night Out service that is there to catch people first bounce, as it were, to make sure that they do not spend more than one night out on the streets, and we have got funding into that and we are looking into whether boroughs' advice to homeless people is adequate, because there are some concerns about that at the moment, as I think you are indicating.

Steve O'Connell (AM): That is a point, I know, particularly in the Planning Committee, we are doing some work. They came along, they spoke to your strategy, particularly around no second night out, is gaining force and momentum. Certainly I think one issue is around the providing of information around homeless services and I think I have to ask you, in conjunction with the London Councils and others, to encourage that the homeless service providers ensure that there is housing advice to get people off the street, because I think too often that advice is not freely given at the point of service, e.g. soup kitchens. Can I ask you then to urge that Ric [Richard Blakeway, Chair, London Delivery Board] particularly does some work around that to make sure that, across London, there is more information available to homeless people at point of contact so that they can see what opportunities that they particularly have?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes, we are concerned that some of the advice is not what it should be and certainly Ric, through the London Delivery Board, is taking that up.

Steve O'Connell (AM): I think you should, and also actually do some work with London Councils so it is a London piece so that we can actually bear down on homelessness, which is something that, with our burgeoning population, is a pressure on councils and other local authorities and hopefully everyone around this horseshoe will agree on that. So I thank you very much, Mr Mayor.