It is with great sadness that I write this final column, as the Gazette & Herald has decided to remove the page which contains the columns of Wiltshire MPs. I shall continue to publish a regular article on www.michelledonelan.com and my Facebook page FB.com/michelledonelanchippenham. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading my column and I do hope you have a wonderful 2019.
I am currently receiving an email a minute on Brexit from constituents and I am sure we are in for an interesting year as we leave the European Union.
It would be amiss of me not to mention that recently, for the first time, the Office for National Statistics published estimates on the number of homeless who have died in England and Wales. I echo the Communities Secretary James Brokenshire’ s remarks “that every death of someone who experiences homelessness is one too many”. This is an area that I am extremely passionate about – everyone should have a roof over their head.
Earlier this year, I supported the launch of a comprehensive Rough Sleeping Strategy that aims to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and attempts to end it by 2027.
The cold weather at this time of year makes it an unbearably difficult time for those homeless. In periods of severe weather, Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) is triggered and local authorities work with charities to provide emergency accommodation. I am currently pushing for the definition of severe weather to be reviewed because the cold is much more brutal when you have no walls or roof to shield you from it.
One of the most important things, is stopping people from becoming homeless in the first place. Last year I sat on the bill committee for the Homelessness Reduction Act. The Homelessness Reduction Act is one of the biggest changes to the rights of homeless people in England for 15 years. It extends entitlements to help, places a renewed focus on the prevention of homelessness and local joint working and has the potential to provide more client-focused, personalised statutory homelessness services.
Given this is my last article, I would like to express how much I love being your Member of Parliament. Serving my constituents is not just a job but an honour which I work hard to earn every day. Tackling homelessness, safeguarding our NHS, securing investment into education and helping people out of debt are just a few of my key passions. My priority will always be achieving what is best for our area and our country.
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