Former Chief Minister calls for political action and funding to tackle homelessness

  • Video report by Clare Burton

A former Chief Minister is calling on Jersey's current government to provide funding to tackle the growing homelessness problem in the island. Frank Walker, who was Chief Minister between 2005 and 2008, is now Chairman of the Sanctuary Trust, which runs a shelter for men in St Aubin. The charity, like others providing accommodation and services for homeless islanders, has seen a spike in demand in recent months.

Frank Walker was Jersey's Chief Minister between 2005 and 2008. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Mr Walker says the charity has been able to place several men into permanent accommodation with the government's social housing provider Andium Homes, but more formal, cross-departmental action is still needed.

A former resident of the St Aubin refuge praised the skills of the staff, who helped him to access social housing. Bill Crosby said it is far more than just a place to stay, and more value should be placed on the reformative programmes on offer.

Next year, the Sanctuary Trust is hoping to open a women's refuge. Mr Walker said he was shocked to have discovered the scale of the problem.

The charity is also considering expanding its offer for men, but without the funding and support those plans have not yet progressed. The Housing Minister, Deputy Russell Labey, has already promised a review, following the publication of an independent Homelessness Strategy.