City MP calls for homeless memorial

Liam Byrne backs calls for permanent memorial to those who died homeless.

Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne has backed calls for a permanent memorial to those who died homeless – and called for West Midlands residents to back a petition to Housing Minister, James Brokenshire ahead of his visit to the city.

Byrne, who earlier this year read out in the House of Commons the names of those who died homeless in the West Midlands, has organised a petition in support of a local group SBCFamily, organised by Angela Sheridan-Hunt, which helps feed the homeless in Birmingham City Centre. They developed the idea after the death of Kane Walker earlier this year.

The petition has already received hundreds of signatures and can be signed here

Latest figures show that a homeless person dies in the West Midlands every fortnight – and Liam demanded the Housing Minister come to Birmingham to personally hear from the city’s homeless and frontline groups who care for them.

He wrote: “It was out working with a homelessness charity one Sunday morning near Birmingham New Street that I realised I had to stand for Mayor. We found a man in real distress, next to his wheel chair, still in his hospital gown where he had been for two days. And it then took us two hours to get him an ambulance. This is simply not right. We’re a region defined not just by our grit, but our goodness and our compassion. If we can’t look after the most vulnerable, then things have got to change.

“The best memorial for those who have died homeless is, quite frankly, for us to end homelessness for good. But we need a permanent memorial to those who have died homeless, so that they will never be forgotten.

“It would send a message to our homeless neighbours that the whole of the West Midlands sees them and is no longer prepared to ignore their suffering.”