Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Mayoral elections - a response

May 05 2008
The founder of Centrepoint picks Ken Livingtone up on a remark he made in a recent interview Dear Sir,

Ken Livingstone (News, The Pavement Issue 30) says, "When I think back to the 1960s and 70s, there was limited homelessness in this city". Terms like ‘limited' and ‘relative' are themselves limited and relative.

There does seem to be a loss of historical memory here. Those of us who were active in responding to homelessness in the early and late 1960s were very aware of the dramatic shift in the situation. Ken may have forgotten John Greve's report to the London County Council in 1962 which referred to the "shrinking stock of privately rented housing" or to the report by Ruth Glass and John Westergaard, London's Housing Needs (1964).

Both reports drew attention to the link between available housing and homelessness, and to the mismatch between labour needs and housing provision. It was this which led us to found Centrepoint in 1969.

The late 60s was, in fact, the period when the numbers of young homeless escalated.

The Revd Dr Kenneth Leech

Founder of Centrepoint