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St Petrock’s and Citizens Advice team up for ‘Homelessness and Hardship’ Hustings

A city-based homelessness charity has teamed up with a poverty-focused partner to host a political event, in a bid to place the election spotlight firmly on Exeter’s most vulnerable people and those who are struggling to make ends meet.

The Homelessness and Hardship Hustings, which has been organised by St Petrock’s with Citizens Advice Exeter, will be held on the evening of Thursday 27 June and will be chaired by the Acting Bishop of Exeter, Rt Rev Jackie Searle.

Candidates from both the Exeter, and Exmouth and Exeter East constituencies have been invited to take part in the event.

St Petrock’s Director, Peter Stephenson, said: “Exeter has one of the most pressing homelessness challenges in the country, relative to population.

Rough sleeping has increased in Exeter

“Rough sleeping has climbed in recent years so that on a typical night between 25 and 35 people are on the streets in our city.  Of course, many many more are homeless but unseen, sleeping on floors, in sheds, cars, and empty buildings, or in Council-funded temporary accommodation for example. This is the worst I have known it in over 20 years.”

Many people in Exeter have more money going out than coming in

Sue Julyan, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Exeter, added: “Our survey published last month revealed that over seven per cent of people living in Exeter and five per cent of people living in Exmouth and Exeter East have more money going out than coming in every month . Altogether, this equates to 12,742 people.

She added: “With a general election in a few weeks, Citizens Advice Exeter’s research also found that 62% of voters in Exeter and 55% of voters in Exmouth ad Exeter East said that the cost of living, or living standards, was one of the most important issues in determining how they will vote.

“While 83% of people in Exeter and 79% of people in Exmouth and Exeter East said that negative budgets are an important issue.

Mr Stephenson added: “Sue and I are really grateful to Jackie Searle, the Acting Bishop of Exeter, for giving up her time to chair our hustings. Her presence will lend the event both the gravitas and the profile that homelessness and poverty deserves.”

“This is an opportunity to ask the parliamentary candidates for the Exeter and Exmouth and Exeter East constituencies what they will do to address the issues of homelessness and economic hardship in our city.”

The Homelessness and Hardship hustings takes place on Thursday 27 June, at South Street Baptist Church, Exeter, starting at 7pm.