Luke Stubbs, Conservative deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council shows just how out of touch he is on the issue of homelessness in the city when he writes on his Facebook page ‘despite perceptions, Portsmouth is not a problem area.’
All forms of homelessness are on the rise across the city and there have been year-on-year increases in the number of those who are ‘street homeless’.
This is a significant problem for those who find themselves in this situation and can create problems for residents and businesses in areas affected by rough sleeping.
Anyone who works with the homeless knows that the number is actually much higher - the figure of 42 includes only those who are located lying down and covered up in areas that are known to attract rough sleepers.
A small number find refuge in the winter night shelter but this environment is not suitable for everyone as some feel more vulnerable in this client group, particularly if their issues are related to mental health or if they are recovering from addiction.
The Conservative-led administration is not supporting the Bus Project in which a converted bus is providing 12 bed spaces for those in need so Cllr Stubbs is disingenuous to claim that the council is ‘doing what it can.’
The answer for sure is not to board-up shop fronts in an effort to shift the problem elsewhere as has happened recently in the Palmerston Road precinct in Southsea.
Much of what we see is linked to the reduction in essential support services for the most vulnerable as a result of austerity measures imposed by his own party since 2010.
It is time for meaningful action rather than the complacency and fatalism shown by Cllr Stubbs.
Grove Road South, Southsea