The article reports that Paul Flynn the Labour MP for Newport West, had attacked homeless charities stating they are inventing problems to "prop" up their empires and went on to say "On his web site Mr Flynn attacks homelessness charities for ‘inventing crises and defending their empires', branding them ‘solutions in search of problems'". I read the article and thought maybe I should have a look at Mr Flynns website. Surely a MP wouldn't be making such outlandish statements, obviously he would have taken a peek at the legislation that governs homelessness, maybe asked the DCLG to supply him some background detail and data.
Well what I found on his website was truly appalling. It was like the pub bore had been put down his pint of Stella Artois and his Daily Mail and had learned how to type. Mr Flynn made a point of addressing what he alleges are myths put forward by homeless charities. I thought I'd put some of My Flynns myths and his version of the truth below, plus a comment of my own.
MYTH: People sleep rough because they have no housing.
FACT: People sleep rough because of alcohol or drug addiction, mental ill-health or the effects of institutionalisation in the armed services, prisons or care homes.
Does Mr Flynn merely think that these people have misplaced their accommodation or thought they fancied a night under the stars? And of course someone who is homeless and suffered any of the above problems may be in priority need under the homelessness legislation.
MYTH: Anyone living in an overcrowded, imperfect housing without a fitted kitchen or patio is homeless.
FACT: Homeless people are people without homes.
Now I have worked in housing for many many years, I have never had anyone apply as homeless because they did not have a fitted kitchen or a patio. Maybe Mr Flynn is happy for people to live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. I'm starting to think that maybe he was behind Gordon Browns announcement the other week to house 16 and 17-year-old single parents in state-run shared houses rather than council flats
Well I was going to finish here and say sorry about going on about such a old news item. But having decided to edit a bit I went off Google Paul Flynn+ Homelessness. I thought maybe I'd find an explanation or even an apology for the item on his website. Surely he must have been told the errors of his or realised himself. I would love to you inform you that he has, but alas he hasn't! The
BBC website has a story from January 2008.
Apparently Mr Flynn again graced his website stating that he had been invited to a "sob-in" by Shelter Cymru and that they ran "a fatwa against good news". Shelter Cymru even responded to Mr Flynns allegation on their own website.
Mr Flynns views on homelessness baffled me the more I looked into them, but the only explanation I could find was contained in the last line of the BBC article above.