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Darren backs Crisis ‘Everybody In’ campaign

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has added his pledge to the new Crisis ‘Everybody In’ campaign which seeks to end street homelessness.

Darren said:

” Housing is the number one issue in my inbox – I know how it feels to have people come to me for help when they’re in fear of eviction, suffering in unsuitable temporary accommodation, sleeping on other people’s floors or in their cars, or even sleeping rough out in Bristol North West – this is totally unacceptable in modern Britain.

We see more and more people sleeping in doorways in our city centre – I know that something needs to be done and the government must act to increase house building and support local authorities and organisations that help vulnerable people. That’s why I’m backing the Crisis Campaign, that launched on Monday 11th June, to end homelessness in the UK.

The recent announcement by the council of £600,000 funding to support Bristol’s homeless is a great start but that alone won’t solve the rising number of rough sleepers in Bristol and further afield.

I have pledged my support to do what I can to end homelessness and my message will soon appear on the Crisis website”.

You can find out more about Crisis’ campaign to end homelessness here.

#EverybodyIn

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Darren welcomes funding to support homeless

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has praised Bristol City Council’s successful application for £600,000 funding to support homeless people across the city.

Darren said:

“Well done to the team at the council for successfully bringing £600,000 funding to support Bristol’s homeless.

I think we all know this money alone won’t solve the rising homelessness, caused in large part by government-imposed austerity, but this will fund a much-needed cold weather shelter and support services and is just one part of the council’s strategy to reduce homelessness.

Building affordable housing, such as the council’s project in Henbury which will be a 100% affordable development, is also a great step in the right direction. Projects like Henbury, and the new housing in Lawrence Weston, will help to support those waiting on the council’s housing list who may be at risk of homelessness or suffering in suitable or overcrowded accommodation”.

You can read more about the council’s funding success here.
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Darren backs Bill to help make rented homes safer in Bristol

Darren Jones MP showed his support for renters in Bristol on Friday 19 January 2018, when he attended the Second Reading of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill.

The Bill, which was been brought forward by MP Karen Buck, gives renters in Bristol, and across the country, the right to take their landlord to court over unsafe and poor housing conditions.

More than 99,000 homes in the South West have a hazard in their rented home which poses a “serious and immediate risk to health and safety”, according to the recent official statistics. This is the equivalent of 1 in 8 rented homes in the South West.

The ‘Fitness for Human Habitation’ Bill has cross-party support and has been backed by the government. It has also been supported by organisations across the housing sector, including Shelter, the Residential Landlords Association, the National Landlord Association and the National Housing Federation.

Darren Jones MP was one of many MPs on hand to see the Bill safely through its Second Reading on Friday 19th January. The Bill will now progress and be scrutinised by a Parliamentary Committee.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I’m proud to support the ‘Fitness for Human Habitation’ Bill, which will empower renters in Bristol and give them a meaningful tool for getting poor and unsafe renting conditions dealt with”.

 

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MP visits Riverside’s Jamaica Street Project

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones visited Riverside’s Jamaica Street Project on Saturday 11th November and met with the Area Manager, Centre Manager and a number of residents.  The team on-site provide support to people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, from across the Bristol area. Referrals are made to the centre by Bristol City Council with space available in self-contained flats, with dogs being accepted in a number of the apartments. Crucially, the team provide named support and work with residents to source appropriate longer-term accommodation.

The team showed Darren the accommodation on-site and talked through some of support options available to residents.

Darren said:

“It was invaluable for me to speak with residents and staff at the Riverside scheme. The team provide emergency accommodation, care and support services to some of our cities most vulnerable people. Riverside is clearly a values-driven organisation with a strong sense of social responsibility. The residents I spoke to were clear about the need for the services such as those Riverside provides, and how important these bases are to them as individuals. Housing is at breaking point with extremely high demand for social housing and with many people finding themselves unable to afford private rents, organisations such as Riverside provide vital support to people when they most need it”.

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Darren comments on foodbank use and homelessness in Bristol

A number of reports have been released this week in relation to rising foodbank use and homelessness in Bristol.

Yesterday (7th November) the Trussell Trust and North Bristol Foodbank released figures showing the continued rise in foodbank use. Data showed that 722 children required emergency food parcels and overall use of North Bristol Foodbank increased by 9% in the last 6 months.

Today (8th November) the countries leading housing charity, Shelter has released their ‘Far From Alone’ report on homelessness in Britain in 2017. Shelter has calculated that 307,000 are now homeless in Britain with 1 in every 170 people in Bristol now homeless, the highest level recorded in the city.
Read more

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Darren asks the Government how they are planning for Interest Rate rises

Any increase in mortgage rates will affect the housing costs of millions.

Darren asked the Treasury:

What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential effect of an increase in the bank rate on the number of households subject to eviction?

Stephen Barclay MP, Economic Secretary to The Treasury

 

As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Treasury’s practice to provide details of these discussions.

The Financial Conduct Authority has put in place regulations protecting borrowers, including a requirement that lenders should deal fairly with customers in payment difficulties. Lenders are also required to conduct an interest-rate ‘stress-test’ on all new mortgages. The insures against the risk of a significant increase in the number of indebted households in the case of an interest rates rise.

This would affect the housing costs of thousands of Bristol households. That’s why we need to know what the government are doing about this, and why it’s so frustrating that they won’t tell me when I asked.

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Austerity and Public Services

I have been encouraged by how many constituents are actively engaged in the Bristol City Council Your Neighbourhood Consultation . Local events have been well attended with passionate views shared on the need to provide services that support residents across the city. The council needs to save £4.7million over the next three years, due to severe and ongoing cuts from central Government and the council’s legal requirement to set a balanced budget. The current proposals, which asked for views on libraries, school crossings, public toilets, Community Links and Neighbourhood Partnerships is of real concern to all of us. We all know the huge benefits that community facilities have, libraries in particular, in giving children and families access to learning and providing safe and free spaces for people of all ages to use and enjoy. I am also aware of the rising threat of social isolation and the role libraries have in supporting the most vulnerable in our communities. At the time of writing, I’m organising a libraries conference for representatives from each library in the area, alongside local campaign groups, to contribute to my own submission to the consultation. I am keen that as a group we work together to get the best deal for communities right across Bristol North West.

But it’s not just council services under threat. Southmead hospital, GP surgeries, children’s centres, schools, community and advice centres and so many more are crippling under the stress of Government cuts to public services. I’m busy meeting as many people and organisations as I can to see first-hand what this means to local people, and I’ll be raising this loudly in Parliament after Recess.

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Darren calls on Housing Secretary to build more Council Houses in Bristol

Darren has called on the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to build more council houses in Bristol. Read more