Pillowcases ask MPs how they sleep at night
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Regulation
Pillowcases ask how MPs how they sleep at night
Britain's MPs are each set to receive a pillowcase bearing the question "How do you sleep at night?".
Anti-poverty charity Hastings Furniture Service (HFS) has designed the unusual campaign to draw attention to the imminent end of local welfare assistance funding.
The pillowcases, many of which have been decorated by some of the vulnerable people most affected by the cut, have been embroidered with the message "When the government stops Local Welfare Assistance funding in April 2015, vulnerable people and families will have nowhere else to turn for beds, pillows and other essential items”.
MPs Gloria De Piero, Shadow Minister for Women & Equality, Kate Green, Shadow Minister for Work & Pensions, John Healey, Adrian Sanders, Caroline Lucas and members of HFS will be displaying some of the decorated pillowcases outside the House of Commons from 10.30am this Wednesday.
Local welfare assistance funding replaced community care grants and crisis loans in 2013.
The funding goes to councils nationwide to provide the support for vulnerable households that helps them set up or maintain adequate homes or get through crises.
In East Sussex, LWA funds pay for the Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme, which supplies furniture, electrical goods, rent deposits, rent in advance, food and utilities for vulnerable people and families across the county.
The aim of the scheme is to enable people to establish and maintain a home so they can fully participate in school, work, community life or training.
In the last year, the East Sussex service has either prevented or resolved homelessness for nearly 400 households, and 45 people have been helped to move out of residential care and live independently.
Furniture or electrical goods were supplied for 699 households in need, while debt advice was provided for 498.
Women fleeing domestic violence particularly benefit from the current scheme.
The manager of Refuge said: “If the service is cut, vulnerable women and children will struggle to access essential items for their new property when they move on from the refuges.
"They need basic home-making items such as beds, bedding, fridges, and cookers. Most of our clients are not eligible for any other funding for these items, and do not have any surplus income to save towards the items, so they would literally have to move into an empty property without this support.”
Over 20 organisations backed a report that concluded abolishing the scheme would not only cause increased hardship for vulnerable residents but also cost the taxpayer more in the long run as families suffer deeper and longer-term problems such as not being able to provide an adequate, healthy home for their children.
Naomi Ridley from HFS said: “MPs just are not getting the message about the impact of abolishing local welfare assistance quickly enough, so we’re bringing it to them from Hastings.
"They must act now if the government’s short-sighted decision to abolish the fund is going to be reversed before April 2015. Working in Hastings, the most deprived town in the South-East, we see the impact that small, practical measures can have to help people live independent lives every day. The loss of this fund is devastating.”