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East of England MPs have thrown their support behind homelessness charity Hopestead at an event in Westminster.

Hopestead’s chief executive officer Marie-Claire Delbrouque held meetings with Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman, North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker and Waveney MP Peter Aldous during an ‘Ending Homelessness Together’ lobby day at Parliament.

Marie-Claire Delbrouque with (L-R) Waveney MP Peter Aldous, North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker, and Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman

Ms Delbrouque said they had productive discussions around homelessness in their areas, and about Hopestead’s work towards ending homelessness.

She said: “It was useful to be able to have one-on-one conversations with MPs about the homelessness we are seeing in their constituencies.

“We believe everyone deserves a place to call home. The journey towards ending homelessness is not an easy one, but by working together we firmly believe that we can make a difference.”

Ms Delbrouque said the MPs were particularly surprised by the number of families and children living in temporary accommodation, which has reached record levels.

The latest figures (as of September 2023) show more than 142,000 children are homeless in England – a figure up by more than 16 per cent on the previous year.

Mr Freeman said the pandemic and post-Ukraine cost of energy and living crisis has hit rural areas especially hard because rural households have lower incomes and higher energy and transport costs.

He said: “That’s why we’ve seen a surge in rural poverty, addiction, domestic violence and repossessions and homelessness.

“The government spent £400 billion on Covid furlough and £9 billion on energy relief and has put more money into the Breckland housing budget which is vital.

“If people can’t afford to pay their heating bills, they can’t afford to pay their mortgage, they risk falling into the cycle of homelessness – with far worse human and financial cost.

Mr Freeman said he was delighted to be able to work with Hopestead and local agencies in Mid Norfolk to help prevent local families from becoming homeless.

He said: “There is help. Hopestead – the Flagship homelessness charity – helps people going through that journey with immediate financial support to avoid homelessness.”

“I’m delighted to be helping Marie-Claire, the CEO of Hopestead, to work with local agencies in Mid Norfolk to help save local families from falling into homelessness.”

Mr Baker said Hopestead carried out “invaluable” work towards ending homelessness.

He said: “Following the meeting, my office has already put constituents who are facing real hardship with housing issues in touch with Marie-Claire’s team, and we will work closely with them in the future.”

Hopestead has also had positive discussions with Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner, South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon and Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill about future meetings to discuss the subject.

Ms Delbrouque said: “We are looking forward to meeting them. We would also be delighted to speak to any other MPs about homelessness in their area and how we can work together to break the cycle.”

To contact Hopestead, email info@hopestead.org, or get in touch through Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter.