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Homelessness Crisis in Crawley will leave many destitute this Christmas

As cold weather approaches, Khalil Yousuf, Liberal Democrat prospective Parliamentary Candidate in the forthcoming election has expressed grave concern for the welfare of scores of rough sleepers in Crawley.

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Khalil Yousuf with the volunteers of Giving Back Crawley during an evening feeding and supporting the Homeless in Crawley Town Centre

Khalil met dozens of homeless people in Crawley Town Centre during an evening of homeless feeding run by Giving Back Crawley.

Many of the homeless in Crawley suffer from long-term addiction, mental health issues and entrenched homelessness.

Khalil Yousuf, Liberal Democrat prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Crawley said:

Homelessness and hidden homelessness is increasing, while the number of social homes is dwindling. House prices have also grown way above the rate of inflation. It is essential that we increase support for homelessness prevention and adequately fund age-appropriate emergency accommodation and supported housing.”

Khalil also said:

“I commend the outstanding work of volunteers at Giving Back Crawley and Crawley Open House who provide tremendous support to some of the most needy and forgotten in our society. As colder weather approaches, the support of these wonderful people is likely to be the only Christmas present the homeless in Crawley will get.”

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported that there were an estimated 726 deaths of homeless people in England and Wales registered in 2018. At 22%, this is the highest year-to-year increase since ONS time series began.

To address rising homelessness, the Liberal Democrats say they will require local authorities to provide 28 days of emergency accommodation for all people, including foreign nationals, who become homeless and have nowhere safe to stay, whether single or a family.

The Liberal Democrats also say they will better resource mental health services to support those leaving care and all those who become homeless.

They claim that by investing £11bn into mental health, they will bring parity of urgency with physical health.

Coronavirus

BREAKING NEWS: Coronavirus cases jump 200% in one week across Crawley

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On Monday 14th Sept the new “rule of six” comes into force across England with news breaking today that children under 12 will not be exempt from it.

The new rules mean people are limited to meeting in groups no larger than six people both indoors and outdoors.

The rule ‘could’ potentially be coming slightly too late as new figures for Crawley reveal a 200% jump in recorded cases in just one week.

People need to realise the harm it can do you without putting you directly in hospital

Data from the UK public health bodies shows that in last week (2nd – 8th Sept) there were 15 NEW cases reported in Crawley. This number does not seem a lot but when compared to the week(s) before it shows a dramatic jump.

In only the previous week there were only 5 new cases reported, with 4 separate days reporting no cases at all.

But in the past week this figure jumped with 8 reported in one day alone.

So far the worst single day for reported cases in Crawley was back on the 28th April when 19 cases were reported in a day.

To date, since recording began there have been 502 cases, with 77 of these resulting in death.

As more parts of the UK are also having to deal with stricter lock down restrictions Crawley remains below the national average of cases per 100,000 at 13. The national average is currently 18.

The towns neighbour, Horsham, saw an even greater rise of 360% with 23 cases reported between 2-8 Sept.

Across the UK an additional 3.497 cases were reported in the past 24 hours, an increase of 36% on the same day a week ago, taking the total to 365,174.

A local doctor, who asked to remain anonymous, said her and her colleagues were very worried about how too many people were downplaying the risk of infection.

“I hear every day some people talking about how the number of people in hospital through Covid are so low so we shouldn’t worry about the number of cases increasing – but we should. People need to realise the harm it can do you without putting you directly in hospital.”

But questions on how the new rules will be enforced are still not clear with new statements released from the Police that talk about ‘engaging, encouraging and explaining’ before even considering taking any action.

A source close to Sussex Police has told Crawley News 24 that there is both confusion and dismay within the ranks about who and how officers are going to contend with issues of larger groups than allowed meeting up, while juggling the increase of daily issues that are returning since the full lockdown.

Another source said they were awaiting a full outline of what powers the police really will have on Monday (14th Sept) before officers would be given full guidance on what they should do.

Sussex Police told Crawley News 24:

“As we start to see a rise in infections it is vitally important that we all follow the regulations and restrictions in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Everyone has a role to play limiting the outbreak by following the regulations, including those about gatherings which will be limited to six people both indoors and outside when the new legislation comes into force on Monday 14 September.

People need to take personal responsibility for their actions, in particular during this heath emergency, and this includes adhering to the latest government guidance.

Sussex Police will continue its approach of engaging, encouraging and explaining the current regulations and only taking enforcement action when necessary. “

Only 1 week after schools reopen, a couple of weeks after a house party alarmed residents in the town, (and Crawley Council confirming they were investigating the event), and new rules coming into force, all eyes will now be set to see just how well the town responds to the new measures and whether the rise is just a ‘blip’ or if it is a sign of a returning rise.

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