end housing crisis urged
By Peter Nolan
Britain's biggest "write-in" is urged by the Catholic Housing Aid Society in an attempt to get the Conservative Government to spend more money to solve the housing crisis.
The director of C.H.A.S., Douglas Pollard, wants to see M.P.s of all parties bombarded with letters calling upon them to speak up for the
needs of the homeless. feedorn to act as full citizens, we He adds: "Thousands, tens of also condone it." thousands of letters are needed.
Without these, politicians will un Sleeping rough
doubtedly continue to pretend that the housing problem can be hidden away or left to burn itself out.
"C.H.A.S. is not concerned, and never has been, with particular parties or particular politicians. It is concerned only with the houses that politicians build, or fail to build. Housing is inextricably a political subject ...
"A letter takes only a little time, but has a noticeable effect; anyone who has dealings with Miuisters or parliamentarians, knows how sensitive these people are to the Contents of their postbags."' Nation's conscience
Writing to the Friends of C.H.A.S., Mr. Pollard said such action was necessary because "the enormity of the task is such that voluntary bodies must now submit the facts to the nation's conscience.
"During the past year, fewer new houses were completed in Britain than in any of the previous ten years. For two years in succession now, less of our nation's resources have been devoted to housing. On the last available figures, we are shown to spend less of our gross national product on housing than does any other advanced nation on earth; and more on defence than any of our N.A.T.O. allies (except Portugal).
"Scandalous fortunes arc being amassed by speculators and developers exploiting political ineptitude and public apathy. We all know this, we all condemn it. And, so long as we devalue our Meanwhile, continues Mr. Pollard, whole families of decent citizens were now sleeping rough. Local authorities throughout the country were swamped, unable (or in some cases unwilling) to provide even the temporary accommodation that the laws of the land had established as their statutory obligation.
"One London borough alone has recently admitted spending £120,000 of one year's rates on cheap bed and breakfast lodgings for homeless families. Others are forced to take children into care, away from their parents for no other reason than that of homelessness.
"One local authority even houses homeless mothers and children in a hut in the grounds of a psycho-geriatric hospital. Everywhere, overcrowding has reached grotesque proportions and Rachmanism is again flourishing with families of nine and more cramped into one room for which they are denied legal rent books.
"This state of affairs is no longer confined to London and the major cities: once peaceful centres like Oxford are now overwhelmed. Nor is it only the poorest in the land who are today's victims for homelessness is spreading rapidly up the socio economic ladder.
"In stark contrast, it is worth noting that, since 1969 a hotel in vestment grant scheme with a planned total outlay of £20 million has now handed over £50 million for the production of an additional 600,000 luxury hotel rooms."
Leader comment p.4.