We need you: Council calls for help on homelessness crisis

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Councillors are calling on the public to help solve the homelessness crisis in Milton Keynes.

The plea came just hours after the Citizen revealed that the number of Syrian refugees set to seek sanctuary in the city has increased fivefold since September.

Now the council plans to hold a public forum next week in a bid to find a solution to the growing problem.

Earlier this year Labour leader Pete Marland admitted he “got it wrong” when his party took over the reins of Milton Keynes Council 18 months ago.

He is now having to cope with 100 new applications of homelessness every month – and is spending more than £1 million a year on temporary B&B accommodation.

Currently 148 families – totalling up to 400 people – are staying in budget hotels, hotels and B&Bs as far afield as Stansted, Reading and Cambridge.

This week a VIP city Alderman revealed he has been forced to sleep in his car for the past two weeks after becoming homeless.

Former Tory councillor Paul Bartlett says he set up camp in McDonald’s car park at thestadium:mk because of a “real shortage of reasonably-priced rental accommodation for ordinary, working people”.

Two months ago the council sparked public outrage when it announced plans to accept up to 20 refugees – roughly five families.

But this week, campaign group Refugees Welcome revealed that at least 80 Syrians will be housed in the city.

The group now hopes to encourage more people to join their campaign by donating clothes and food to refugees – or even offering a room in their home.

They will also be seeking private tutors or school teachers to help refugees learn English.

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