Dom Morris, Exeter's Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, has announced the first step of his “100 days of action” campaign to tackle one of Exeter’s biggest problems – homelessness.
Dom said “the level of homelessness in Exeter is unacceptable and immoral, the problem flies in the face of the recent prosperity our city has enjoyed. Exeter is becoming extraordinary. Unemployment in our city has fallen by 58% since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, national trends are seeing youth unemployment falling by the fastest rate since records began and those on benefits moving into work. Businesses are starting up or relocating here, jobs are being created and yet, amongst this extraordinary story, we have left some behind.
Dom was dismissive of the existing response to homelessness: “there's been a lot of noise and tribalism, particularly on the left but no action. The classic being the current MP's press release saying he was 'worried' about the rise in homelessness. Well I'm sorry but being 'worried' doesn't get stuff done.
Put simply, if elected on May 7th I will bring people together to build a comprehensive homelessness plan for our City within 100 days.” Dom is pledging to bring together disparate councils, service providers, charities and the business community in a summit to develop an action plan: “As your local MP I would see my role as bringing together the broad range of organisations necessary to solve this complex problem and frankly I'm not seeing that happening at the moment”.
Dom has used his experience of working with the Prince's Trust and homeless youngsters to consult at length with community stakeholders to identify the biggest drivers of homelessness in the City and how action could be taken to reduce the number of people sleeping rough.
Whilst this complex problem is not all about money, much of what needs to be done must be paid for. Dom feels that even a small proportion of the funding coming from central government to support the city's growth, e.g. the £18 million in New Homes Bonus, could make a huge difference to those in genuine need in our city. This money could then be used to bring others to the table to match it. For example, Dom has been meeting with Exeter's business leaders who together believe they can build a pot of several hundred thousand to match fund additional accommodation.
To summarise, Dom said “politics is about getting stuff done. Homelessness in Exeter is unacceptable and immoral, here is the first plan for what we should do about it. If voters think this is an important issue and elect me on May 7th, I look forward to taking this plan forward and making Exeter Extraordinary”.