The Liberal Democrats have become the first major party to commit to ending the "national scandal" of rough sleeping across Britain, including in Tower Hamlets.
Last autumn’s figures from DCLG show there were 964 people sleeping rough in the capital in 2016, up from 940 the previous year. In Tower Hamlets, there were officially 12 people sleeping rough, while 125 households were evaluated as being homeless and in priority need. 2,012 households were in temporary accommodation.
Meanwhile, Local Authority Housing Statistics show that 258 homes in the possession of Tower Hamlets council are vacant, despite the housing crisis.
The Liberal Democrats have set out a series of measures to end rough sleeping, including introducing a Housing First provider in each local authority that would put long-term homeless people straight into independent homes, rather than emergency shelters.
The news comes as a coalition of homelessness charities, including Centrepoint, Crisis, Homeless Link, Shelter and St Mungo’s, have called on political parties to commit to end rough sleeping in Britain.
Elaine Bagshaw, the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Poplar and Limehouse said:
“Under this government, homelessness has soared and young people have been stripped of housing benefit, threatening to make matters even worse. It is a national scandal that so many people are sleeping on the streets in 21st century Britain.
“By increasing support for homelessness prevention and properly funding emergency accommodation, we can end rough sleeping in Tower Hamlets and across the country.
"It is a disgrace that despite the housing crisis, so many council homes owned by the Labour council are lying empty.
“We will ensure our local authority has at least one provider of Housing First services, to allow long-term homeless people to live independently in their own homes.
“The evidence suggests that supporting people and giving them long-term, stable places to stay is far more successful in tackling homelessness than constantly moving them to different temporary accommodation.
“This election is a chance to change Britain’s future and stand up for a country that is open, tolerant and united."