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Camden closures

November 13th 2009
Dear Editor, On Wednesday 19th August, I attended a meeting at Camden Town Hall about the Council's homeless hostel closure programme. In that meeting I said: "Camden Council's plans to help homeless people by closing hostels for the homeless doesn't make sense. They say that fewer homeless families need temporary accommodation, leaving surplus places in family hostels. But their response is to close the hostels for single homeless people in Holmes Road, Mount Pleasant and Parker Street. That doesn't make sense. "The Council's consultation was very faulty. It didn't even mention that the Council are turning people out of a dozen self-contained flats at 147-151 Gray's Inn Road. Nor does it mention that a specially created small unit in Roderick Road has been closed and sold off, and that they propose the same fate for a similar unit in Savernake Road. People living in all these places have complained to me that they weren't properly consulted and don't agree with what the Council are up to. "The Council claim they want to provide all homeless people with a secure home of their own. That's fine. But many of the people concerned and their advisers doubt whether handing them over to private landlords is the answer. And while it may not be what we want for ourselves, it is a fact that some single people actually prefer the communal aspects of hostel-type accommodation, either short-term or even, in some cases, long-term rather than risk isolation in a place of their own. What they want to see is the hostels and other temporary places being improved. They don't want them closed down and sold off. "The Council's proposal is all about clearing out the existing occupants whom they describe as 'silting up' hostel places, as though the Council wanted to create places for people who fall homeless in the future. But that's not what will happen. The places are to disappear. So what about people who fall homeless in the future? Where will they go? Who will they turn to? The voluntary sector, such as St Mungo's and the Irish Centre do great work. But at a time of rising unemployment and repossessions, would a Council that cares be closing and selling off accommodation for the homeless?" Yours sincerely, The Rt Hon Frank Dobson, MP

November 2009



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