It’s August – the sun is shining (mostly!), Parliament has broken up for the summer and Boris Johnson’s new cabinet have now been in office for over a week.

In Britain in 2019, it is shameful that even one person is homeless.

I have been campaigning to repeal the Vagrancy Act, which criminalises rough sleeping, and to take a more compassionate approach to fixing the homelessness crisis in this country.

Read also: Oxford life expectancy gap is now 15 years

Last week I wrote a letter to Robert Jenrick, the brand-new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, urging him to put his money where this Government’s mouth is and commit long-term funding for the Oxfordshire Trailblazer project.

Trailblazer is a shining example of how we can work together across councils, charities, government, health services and other organisations to take a holistic and compassionate approach to this issue.

However, the vast majority of its funding comes from central Government, and that’s due to run out in September.

Read also: Government cash to help homeless runs out

There are two simple things that Robert Jenrick could do to make tackling homelessness a top priority: commit long-term funding to these prevention schemes, not just temporary ‘pilot’ money; and scrap the cruel, Dickensian Vagrancy Act.

Since my debate in the Commons in February and meetings with Ministers, thousands of people have signed the Lib Dems’ national petition calling on the Government to scrap the Act ( In Westminster I have been working cross-party, with Crisis and other campaign groups, to build support.

As part of this work, I was delighted to host the launch of Crisis’ report into why we must repeal the Vagrancy Act in June in Parliament.

Read also: Police warn that these three cars are at risk of having catalytic converters stolen in Oxford

But we still have a way to go. The Government has launched a review into current legislation in this area, but in the meantime homeless people are dying on our streets. Crisis’ report says that the Vagrancy Act 'does not tackle the problems people have, and there is evidence that it can also push people further from the help they need'.

Homelessness is a national crisis, and we are seeing the effects in our own community here in Oxfordshire. In Oxford, the city council have introduced fines as a way of dealing with rough sleepers, and I’ve been heartened that over a thousand people have signed our local petition to take a more compassionate approach (

Homelessness is a growing emergency in our communities, and I hope the Government will prioritise ending homelessness once and for all.