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Cameron launches Tory offensive to tackle homelessness

PUBLISHED: 17:19 19 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:18 05 October 2010

Cameron meets Crisis charity's Margaret Phillips (centre) and chief Leslie Morphy (right)

Cameron meets Crisis charity's Margaret Phillips (centre) and chief Leslie Morphy (right)

TORY leader David Cameron paid a surprise visit to a charity for the homeless in London’s East End to launch his party’s strategy for those without a roof over their head. He arrived at Crisis charity’s Whitechapel headquarters to announce the setting up of the Homeless Foundation, which is to produce research into causes of homelessness and the effects and wider impact on society.

By Mike Brooke

TORY leader David Cameron paid a surprise visit to a charity for the homeless in London’s East End to launch his party’s strategy for those without a roof over their head.

He arrived at Crisis charity’s Whitechapel headquarters to announce the setting up of the Homeless Foundation, which is to produce research into causes OF homelessness and the effects and wider impact on society.

Its purpose will be to build relationships with organisations like Crisis that run support programmes and come up with policy solutions.

“It’s unacceptable that one of the richest and most developed societies in the world has people living in dire and degrading poverty,” Cameron said at the launch.

“But we can make a difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

“We’ve got the best minds in the business, all the leaders of all the major homeless charities, to work with the Foundation so that we have a real, proper and serious plan to deal with this social evil.”

Cameron toured Crisis offices in Commercial Street meeting staff and volunteers like Nazeem Durgahee, who recently won an award from the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education for overcoming homelessness himself and turning his life around.

Crisis chief executive Leslie Morphy(pictured with Mr Cameron) who welcomed the Tory leader along with other charity top names including Big Issue founder John Bird and Shelter’s chief executive Adam Sampson, two members of the new board that will run the Homeless Foundation.

Cameron spoke of “40 years on from Cathy Come Home,” the documentary which led to Shelter being launched when one generation opened their eyes to homelessness, with the present generation “in danger of ignoring the problem.”

He added: “We’re ignoring the hidden homeless,’ those who move from one sofa to another, night after night, with no stability or security.”

Figures for December show 130,000 children waking up on Christmas Day without a stable roof over their head” he pointed out.

“That’s more than double the figure 10 years before, twice the number of kids who go on and fail at school, twice the number getting caught in a cycle of deprivation, twice the number whose opportunities are dashed because they don’t have space to grow and develop.

“We’ve got to be better than this and be honest and acknowledge all those who are homeless, hidden or not.”

The Tories are now taking the offensive to tackle the causes of homelessness, such as family breakdown, personal debt, prison reform and affordable housing.

The Homelessness Foundation will now take this on to work towards ending homelessness in a nation that has the fifth largest economy in the world.


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