Will the city council be able to find a solution?

COMMENT: Cameras have become part and parcel of everyday life

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It seems almost every week that The News brings you stories on the plight of the homeless, be they from our area or further afield – even armed forces’ veterans – and it’s one of those stories that some may think will never go away.

So, it is good news that councillors went out on their own fact-finding mission with a visit to Hope House, in Milton.

As we report today, in a bid to help rough sleepers, the authority funded 45 night shelter beds in the city, from December to March.

It has now extended this service throughout the year.

Good news indeed and we suspect the majority of you will think this is money well spent.

But what is the long-term solution? Or, indeed, is there one?

Plenty of media commentators have turned back the clock by saying the homelessness crisis we are facing is the result of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s policy to sell-off council housing stock and subsequent governments not reversing that decision.

A fair point but there are still more underlying reasons – family break-ups, job loss, mental health problems – and of course buying a house nowadays is almost impossible for a young person and is a complete no-no if you are unemployed.

Even rental costs are prohibitive for many in low-paid jobs, so, if something happens in the family home someone gets booted out on to the street and ends up as another homeless statistic.

Council leader Donna Jones gets her share of criticism but fair play to her actions over the past 18 months in trying to sort something to help homeless people.

Of course, the story also mentions other organisations who do a superb job in this problem area and we can all just hope, with fingers tightly crossed, that a solution to the problem which benefits all can be found.