Tory tries to show he understands homelessness; proves he doesn’t get it

Officially, there were only 14 homeless people counted in Salford last year.

But Salford Mayor Paul Dennett didn’t believe the council’s official number was accurate, as only people seen sleeping on the street on a given night, not those in hostels etc., are counted as homeless under this process.

So Paul and Rebecca Long-Bailey (MP for Salford & Eccles) went out on the streets one night last week, to see the homelessness situation in Salford for themselves.

And what they saw shocked them.

The reality of the problem in Salford is that over 1,600 people sought advice from the housing advice service in the last 12 months, and in the first six months of this year, 250 families were placed into temporary accommodation.

So when Labour councillor Paul Longshaw presented his No Place To Call Home motion at Wednesday’s full council meeting, calling on the government to ensure that that there are sufficient resources made available to support the aspirations of Homelessness Reduction Bill, and pledging that Salford Council will do everything in its power to ensure they, and other housing partners, push hard to deliver 750 additional low cost rented homes per year into Salford’s housing supply, you would have thought that it would meet with universal support.

But Tory councillors challenged the motion, citing that they couldn’t agree with the principle that houses sold under the Right To Buy scheme should be replaced like-for-like – an essential part of ensuring that levels of social housing stock in Salford are at least maintained.

And as part of the debate, one Tory councillor challenged the motion, and to try & show that he could empathise with those facing homelessness in Salford made the following statement:

I too understand what homelessness is about… My wife and I were made homeless in the early nineties when we lost our business, and we couldn’t get any help, and we had to go out and we had to find somewhere to rent.Cllr Robin Garrido

He just doesn’t get it.

Homelessness isn’t about not being able to own a house, and having to rent instead.

The truth of homelessness is much worse than that.

I’ll let Cllr Paul Longshaw have the final word on this…