If you’re homelessness minister, maybe you should know something about it | Neil Coyle

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Heather Wheeler doesn’t know why numbers are rising. A look back over Tory austerity measures could enlighten her

The new “homelessness minister� has begun her job badly. Heather Wheeler claims not to know why homelessness has risen for seven consecutive years – that’s every year since she was elected. She has also been gazumped by the Cabinet Office minister, David Lidington, who is also chair of the government’s rough sleeping advisory panel. The panel has finally held its first, belated, meeting.

Wheeler needs to get to grips with the brief she has held since January. The first step in tackling any problem is understanding what has caused it. Admitting she doesn’t understand this basic element of her brief is terrible news for homeless people and bodes badly for her government’s commitment to halve homelessness by 2022. I welcome this target as co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group for ending homelessness and support the minister’s claim she will “move heaven and earth� to tackle the problem, but the first step is a hard, objective look at how it has come about.

The government’s absence of leadership created a vacuum that charities and others have struggled to fill

Related: Homelessness minister: I don’t know why rough sleeper numbers are up

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This post was syndicated from Health | The Guardian. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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