Leeds council has ‘no plans’ for homeless shelters in empty buildings despite 6,000 signature petition
Nearly 6,000 people have signed an online petition appealing to civic leaders to “open empty buildings to our homeless this winter”. It comes after Manchester City Council said last month that it would consider such a measure.
But Coun Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said there was already a “comprehensive package of support” for the homeless and that additional spaces were made available during cold spells.
She said there were patrols for rough sleepers and the current approach was “sufficient”, adding: “With no one being turned away due to lack of provision during cold spells, we have no plans to look at alternatives or house people in empty buildings.
“Our focus remains on preventing homelessness in the first place, offering support to people to find long-term solutions to suit their needs.”
Lance Holden, a 25-year-old digital marketing worker, started the petition on the 38 Degrees website.
He said he could have faced becoming homeless without family support after having a large amount of money stolen as a student.
Mr Holden, who lives in Headingley, said: “When you go through Leeds you see homeless people on nearly every street corner.
“Even if the council has measured in place, I don’t think it’s working. It might be idealistic but I’d like to get to a point where no-one has to sleep rough.”