Cuts mean councils are ‘struggling’ to house homeless, says Archbishop of Canterbury

Budget cuts have led to the council being unable to deal with housing and feeding the homeless, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Canterbury City Council’s budget for the next financial year has been cut by over £2 million to below £18 million.

Homelessness has been on the rise since 2010 in the UK, with over 300,000 people considered homeless in November 2017 according to figures released by the homeless charity Shelter.

Archbishop Justin Welby says homeless people need more than just a roof over their head.

The head of the Church of England, Justin Welby said: “Councils have suffered such cuts in their spending capacity that they are really struggling to meet a whole range of needs.

“We’ve shown in the past we can do more, but they’ve got to be resourced to do it.”

Archbishop Welby said that he supported the opening of the Cathedral to rough sleepers.

“The churches should be open for this. Which churches is a case of which are most suitable for the occasion.

“There’s a nationwide scheme… where churches get together in groups of seven, and each church will take one night a week.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the Symbolic head of the world-wide Anglican Communion

“It’s one of the major contributions the churches make in this country: foodbanks, night shelters, debt counselling, those are the three great social engagement areas.”

The Archbishop explained that the rough sleepers needed more than just a roof over their heads.

“You need to be able to cook for them. You need to be able to make sure their comfortable, and warm, and safe.

“You’ve got to meet the need in a way that gives dignity to the people you are meeting the need for, and gives them security.”

Canterbury Councillor Simon Warley said that the number of homeless people in Canterbury is also on the rise during a talk he gave at Christ Church University last month.

He said: “Official figures are that there is 50 people sleeping rough in Canterbury area every night, most of them in the city centre.

“But many people think it’s higher than that, somewhere around 80 to 100.”

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