Ed Vaizey is in the first tranche of MPs undertaking the Inner City Challenge, he is writing a diary of his experience for ConservativeHome.
"I’m spending this week at the Kings Arms. But before people
say "Ah ha, typical, so this is what MPs do on their holidays", I
should explain that the Kings Arms Project, to give it its full title,
is a nightshelter, hostel and onward support scheme run by a local church. I’m here at the suggestion of the Centre for Social Justice,
to spend a week working, to try and gain a better understanding of the
problems faced by the homeless, and by a charity working in this sector.
Blogging from a BlackBerry isn’t easy, so I’ll keep my missives
mercifully short, and write a longer blog at the end of the week. Let
me just set the scene. The nightshelter caters for 18 residents a
night, most of whom have had or have drug and alcohol problems. It’s
open from 7pm and residents must be out by 9am the next day. Residents
sleep 4 to a room and each room is euphemistically named after a hotel
– naturally the Ritz is my favourite.
The hostel has room for 14. Residents share a room with one other and
stay for an average of 4 months. Some go back to the street, others go
on to proper accommodation and a job. It takes three or four stays
usually to make progress.
So far everything I have seen is amazing and impressive. I’m really
enjoying it, I’d that’s the right word. I hope they are enjoying
having me. Tomorrow, I’ll blog from the nightshelter to give you my