A number of people have contacted us asking about homelessness, and how we would tackle it.

We have relatively low levels of rough sleeping in Maldon, with 3 people identified across the district council area in 2016 – this is likely due to the draw of Chelmsford and London, where people who find themselves rough sleeping are most likely to head. But the current government stripping young people of housing benefit threatens to make matters worse, and Zoe is keen that those who would otherwise find themselves rough sleeping should not feel the need to leave our area in the first place.

In addition to fighting to reinstate housing benefit for under 21-year-olds, if elected Zoe would also support the Liberal Democrat policy of setting up a Housing First provider in every local authority. As well as ensuring those who leave residential mental health care have somewhere to go, giving people long-term, stable places to stay is far more successful in tackling homelessness than constantly moving them to different temporary accommodation. This is particularly true for those with complex needs, as stable accommodation will much easier for mental health services to engage with those in need.

If you would like to know more about this issue, and what can be done to tackle it, St Mungo’s have more information. They have also been actively engaging with paliamentary candidates on the topic, particularly on how the problems of mental health and rough sleeping are linked.