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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 13:20 GMT
South: Homelessness
Ian Paul
Ian Paul
Producer Politics Show
BBC South

Cathy Come Home
Things have got worse since Cathy Come Home

You may have seen him on Celebrity Big Brother having 'full and frank' discussions with George Galloway.

Well, this week Preston, lead singer with The Ordinary Boys, will be tackling some more politicians when he guest-edits Politics Show South.

The topic is homelessness - obviously close to Preston's heart, as he donated his Big Brother money to the St Patrick's Trust, a night shelter for the homeless, just down the road from his flat in Hove.

Preston
Preston turns his hand to Politics

And the programme is live from St Patrick's.

And what a timely subject. Forty years ago the conscience of the nation was stirred by a BBC drama, "Cathy Come Home" which looked in harrowing detail at the problem of homelessness then. In the aftermath of the broadcast, the homeless charity Shelter was born.

But four decades later, has so very much changed? No, says Shelter. In their fortieth anniversary report they reckoned "Cathy still hasn't come home".

The government maintains that the number of rough sleepers is at an all-time low - down 75% since 1998.

But there are other yardsticks. The number of people in temporary accommodation - B&B's or council-run hostels - has leapt from 6,400 families in 1966 to 101,020 households last year.

And there is no figure for those who fall between those two stools - they might not be sleeping rough, but they are not in temporary accommodation either.

In other words, they could be sleeping in hostels like St Patrick's or surfing friends' sofas.

It is not just a question of having no roof over your head - there is an issue with the quality of the accommodation.

Shelter believes that one million children could be living in substandard housing.

For Brighton and Hove, homelessness "remains a significant problem" as the council admits.

They blame high property prices and low average incomes.

They have 1,000 vulnerable people in the city who they have a duty to house.

But the waiting list for council housing has 8,000 people on it, and there are only 13,000 council properties anyway.

It seems an almost insoluble problem. No wonder "Cathy still hasn't come home".

So how would you solve the problem?

The Politics Show

Send us an email and we will put your points to our panel of invited guests, including the Director of Shelter Adam Sampson, the local MP Celia Barlow and writer and broadcaster Will Self.

And of course Preston. So join him and Peter Henley live this Sunday from the St Patrick's Trust Hove.

The Politics Show on Sunday 19 March 2006 at 12.30pm on BBC One.


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SEE ALSO:
Charity disputes homeless figures
02 Mar 06 |  Lincolnshire
Domestic abuse victims' sanctuary
07 Mar 06 |  Hampshire
South
11 Sep 05 |  England


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