Housing's hidden problem

A COMPREHENSIVE research report, with recommendations, on the island’s problem with homelessness, casually drops in to its early pages a view that many islanders will hold about our homeless problem.

‘There’s not really homelessness on Guernsey. You don’t see people sleeping on the streets like you do in London’ appears on page seven.

It’s a challenging report which also lifts the lid on what is really something of a hidden problem – yet one which it can be so easy for people, particularly young people, to fall into.

If we don’t see islanders sleeping rough, then we certainly don’t get an understanding of the challenges of sofa-surfing, of not having a regular bed for the night and a stable home base.

The report, it turns out, has been poorly timed for cut-through on the news agenda, with many other issues emerging at the same time. It recognises that a quick fix is highly unlikely. But it is also clear that this problem won’t go away and will continue to blight lives, often young lives.

The States is already planning a review of emergency accommodation, with recommendations set to be published sometime in 2024.

But this report highlights that the States’ current focus for tackling the housing problem – making it easier to buy a home, and developing more key worker housing – while essential, needs to be much broader in scope.

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