Richmond Council: One of First Boroughs to Sign London Charter to End Rough Sleeping

22 Dec 2023
Gareth Roberts and Jim Millard

Richmond’s Liberal Democrat Council has been one of the first councils in London to sign the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping. It is leading the call for all other London Boroughs to follow suit and sign up.

Liberal Democrat Leader of Richmond Council, Cllr Gareth Roberts, signed the Charter along with Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Housing, Cllr Jim Millard, on the steps of the town hall, York House.

Cllr Millard said:

“I’m delighted that Richmond is an ‘early adopter’ in signing this charter, and fervently encourage all other London boroughs to sign up too. This charter is the first of it’s kind and presents a vital opportunity to drive real change, bringing together local authorities, the voluntary sector and London’s businesses. If we grasp this opportunity, step up and work together we can start to change the story for thousands of people and end rough sleeping in London for good.”

The Lib Dem councillors were joined by Pam Orchard, CEO of rough sleeping charity Connection at St Martin’s, which is a founding member of the charter.

The Charter has been created by people working in homelessness to bring everyone together around a common goal to end rough sleeping. It communicates what rough sleeping really looks like in London and the best ways we can help.

Cllr Roberts said:

“As Council leader and as Lib Dem GLA candidate for SW London, I’m calling on all London Boroughs to step up and support this important piece of work.

“As the charter says, people sleeping rough may have problems but they aren’t problem people. Everyone who sleeps rough is unique and there should be meaningful options for all, regardless of immigration status. A fact the current GLA Conservative incumbent for South West London has done nothing to acknowledge, mutely supporting the performative cruelty of Conservative policy as it continues to do unnecessary harm to thousands of rough sleepers who have no recourse to public funds. It’s time for a change – South West London needs a representative who will support efforts to end rough sleeping. The council supporting this charter is a big step in the right direction, we need more councils, city hall and big business to come together to make sure unhoused people get the support they need. ”

The Lib Dems have repeatedly called on the government to do more to support efforts to end rough sleeping, as the cost-of-living crisis continues and local authorities are seeing steeply increasing homeless presentations. Cllr Jim Millard, who is the Liberal Democrat group lead for London Councils on the GLA’s Life off the Streets board, has a particular interest in the collective drive to end rough sleeping across London. He is arranging a briefing for Housing Cabinet Leads from all London local authority areas on the Charter in the new year to encourage more sign-ups in 2024.

Anyone who supports efforts to end rough sleeping in London and the Charter principles can sign up to the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping here – https://www.connection-at-stmartins.org.uk/news-item/london-charter/#:~:text=The%20London%20Charter%20to%20End%20Rough%20Sleeping%20has%20been%20created,best%20ways%20we%20can%20help