It has come to our attention the Tories are claiming that…
“During the COVID crisis, the homelessness scheme resulted in the Holiday Inn in Ayton being used to give shelter to the homeless by Sunderland City Council (SCC).
Despite appealing to ward Cllr Louise Farthing for nearly a year about severe cases of anti-social behaviour in Ayton from the people staying at the Holiday Inn…nothing was done.”
At Washington and Sunderland West Labour Party, we felt that it was important to treat our residents with respect and interact with you honestly. We want to set the record straight on this matter so that residents can make their decisions with accurate information.
Cllr Louise Farthing
Firstly, the homelessness policy in which homeless people were housed in the Holiday Inn was, in fact, a Tory government policy so we find it strange that the Tories in Sunderland are so against their own governments policy. Perhaps if we hadn’t all suffered a decade of Tory austerity we wouldn’t have so many vulnerable homeless people in the first place?
Next we turn to the claim that “…nothing was done” by Cllr Louise Farthing. The first comment on this issue was made by Cllr Farthing almost a year ago on the 28th of April 2020 to Ayton Residents Association (ARA) Facebook page in which she said
“I have been asked by local residents to provide information about the use of the Holiday Inn at Ayton for Emergency Accommodation. Sunderland Council is using the Holiday Inn but on an assessment centre basis with the aim of moving people on after one nights stay. The Government directed Council’s to ensure that street homeless would be provided emergency accommodation to reduce the spread of COVID 19 during the lockdown. The Holiday Inn were keen to support the Council with the Government’s programme. The council does not have its own emergency accommodation as it uses a housing first approach to homelessness, which means a home is provided first and then support services are provided.”
That post had many comments from residents to which Cllr Farthing and Cllr Graeme Miller responded.
Cllr Graeme Miller
On the 10th of August 2020 Cllr Farthing made a statement to ARA that “The Council’s contract for rooms at the Holiday Inn has come to an end. However the local authority continues to spot purchase rooms as and when necessary.” She went on to say this was due to “high demand for accommodation but the Holiday Inn is only used when there is nothing else available.”
As recently as the 20th of February, just a few weeks ago, Cllr Farthing stated
“I have written to the Leaders of Councils and Cabinet members with the responsibility for housing at Durham County and Gateshead, who continue to use the Holiday Inn for temporary accommodation. Sunderland Council stopped regular use in the summer of 2020 following representation from me on your behalf.”
On the 29th of July 2020 a resident posted in ARA to say
“I do think we should say a big thank you to Cllr Louise Farthing for listening to our complaints and answering us swiftly. Might not always be the answer you want folks but she does investigate and come back with an answer. Not many Councillors out there are doing the same.”