Efforts should be stepped up to support homeless people as the winter months approach, an MHK has said.

Jason Moorhouse MHK said each individual affected had a “real need” that could be met by the government.

Tuesday’s Tynwald debate on the issue coincided with the publication of a draft government strategy on the issue.

The government’s housing lead David Ashford MHK told members addressing homelessness was one of the island’s “key strategic priorities”.

Mr Moorhouse had called for politicians to task the housing and communities board with exploring the creation of a night shelter and report back in December.

But an amendment by Mr Ashford will see the government’s strategy, which acknowledges the need for emergency overnight accommodation, finalised and brought back to Tynwald by that date.

‘Better future’
During the debate Kerry Sharpe MLC welcomed the draft plan looking at future need, but asked what was being done “about the people who are homeless in the here and now”.

In an Ofsted report, investigators found many care leavers were becoming homeless or were at risk of homelessness by being housed inappropriately.

Ms Sharpe said she had particular concern for those people, who could not wait five years for the strategy to be rolled out.

She said: “Let’s get on with delivering bricks and mortar which is so desperately needed… anything is better than nothing at this current moment in time.”

However, Onchan MHK Rob Callister said he did not “believe a night shelter is the long term solution to homelessness”.

He said people in difficulty were often “not just looking for one night’s accommodation” and needed “a front door to a better future”.

Mr Callister called for the chief minister and the government to “deliver that promise” and look at a schemes in neighbouring jurisdictions, where support and accommodation was provided those in need.

Source: bbc.co.uk