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MP says to councillors and senior SLDC staff: 'Come and join us on homeless sleep out

January 23, 2012 2:42 PM

Manna HouseSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron, local charity Manna House and SLDC housing portfolio holder Cllr Peter Thornton, have today publicly encouraged local councillors to 'join us' for a cold night of rough sleeping at Kendal Castle on Saturday 28th January.

Tim and supporters of Manna House -South Lakeland's charity aimed at supporting people in need of housing - will be sleeping rough to raise money to help local homeless people, and to raise awareness of this issue.

During the course of 2011 local charity Manna House have had contact with 56 people who were sleeping rough in theSouthLakes. But many experts believe the problem could be much bigger with many people considered as the 'invisible homeless'. These are people who live and move from friends floors to friends' floors, live in bed-sits or are not even known to the council. There are 3000 local people waiting for a council house.

This is the fourth time Tim has slept rough to highlight the problem of homelessness in our community. In previous years Tim has bedded down for the night in freezing temperatures of -4 C.

Commenting today Tim said: "There are hundreds of people in South Lakeland who are inadequately housed, some of whom sleep rough. Sleeping rough for a night allows me to get a better understanding of what people have to do every day and it is a reminder why we need more affordable home locally. That is why I want local councillors to come and join us especially those who are against more affordable homes."

"Affordable, high quality housing should be available to all and this is why I am doing all I can to promote sustainable development in our community. When I sleep rough I know that when the sun comes up I can go home to my family, but many of the rough sleepers have to carry on. This issue is incredibly close to my heart and I am doing everything I can eradicate the scourge of homelessness in the South Lakes.

"Manna House does an outstanding job in supporting people in desperate need. I cannot pay a high enough tribute to Jonathan Brook, Marc Kelly and the team at Manna House. I am pleased to have the chance to support them by again spending a night out at the castle with them - I just hope councillors come and join me."

Peter Thornton, South Lakeland District Council portfolio holder for Housing and Development further commented: "When Tim mentioned this to me I signed up straight away. Being able to learn about homelessness first hand will be incredibly useful and the opportunity to talk to people about the desperate need for truly affordable housing for local people. Homelessness is an awful blight on our community and the council is doing everything we can to deal with the problem to provide everyone with a roof over their heads."