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Ed Vaizey MP: Third diary instalment

Ed Vaizey is in the first tranche of MPs undertaking the Inner City Challenge, he is writing a diary of his experience for ConservativeHome.

"It's almost three in the morning.  I'm doing the night shift with Heather and Becky.  We've just cleaned the bogs and the kitchen.

A chance now to reflect on the day.  I've seen a little of both the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega of homelessness.

With Ali, who does floating support, I've seen some interviews and heard about some of the success stories. Floating support is funded entirely privately and does what it says on the tin, giving continuous and tailored support as needed.  It's through this process that people get moved to hostel to housing and, with luck, off their addictions.  A lot of people have been helped, and there are many beginning to lead normal lives.

At the other end are those sleeping rough, not even in a nightshelter. I met one tonight, but was shown many more places where people bed down, from parks to car parks, and also where they shoot up.  These people really can be completely forgotten.  If they choose, they can be almost invisible, except to the occasional passing yob.

My worst moment by far also happened today.  I met a charming and articulate businessman in the morning at an interview.  I saw him again this evening, drunk, trying to get into the nightshelter.  Ten years ago he was rich and successful. Now he is an alcoholic and homeless. It really can happen to anyone."


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