Politics of the Street

Vendors' manifesto to tackle homelessness

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In the run-up to the general election opinions will be aired, airwaves will be filled and all the talk will be about how the country can address problems like the economy, poverty, skills, health and, of course, homelessness.

To ensure the voices of those who are most vulnerable are heard The Big Issue in the North has surveyed its vendors on what a future government should be doing for them.

The results of this survey – Politics of the Street – are put to homelessness inister Kris Hopkins and his shadow, Labour’s Emma Reynolds, in this week’s edition of The Big Issue in the North – out on Monday 22 September – along with a response on their views from The Big Issue in the North chair, Fay Selvan.

“The issues vendors think the next government should address are not a surprise to us – housing, work and welfare reforms are the concerns we see affecting the people we work with on a daily basis,” said Selvan.

“There’s no hot water and no heating.”

Vendors’ comments on housing include: “I’ve got somewhere to stop but it’s rubbish. There’s no hot water and no heating. My housing situation could be a lot better, I’d be better off in a tent again.”

And on employment: “I sell The Big Issue in the North to help myself and help my family and to try and pay my rent easily. I’ve been to prison and so people ask: ‘Have you been to prison?’ I say yes, I’ve done my time, I’ve done my sentence and they say: ‘No, I’m sorry.’ I’ve applied for 350 jobs and I still haven’t got any work.”

In response to views like this, Reynolds and Hopkins comment on the case for more social housing, regulation of the private rental sector, localising public spending and welfare reform, and give their views on the value of The Big Issue in the North.

See video interviews with our vendors at youtube.com/thebiglifegroup and follow us on twitter @bigissuenorth #POTS2014.

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