An MHK believes that the government is not doing enough to tackle homelessness.

Onchan MHK Rob Callister said this after a written response was published on the matter.

Mr Callister had questioned Health and Social Care Minister Lawrie Hooper on the provision and support available to anyone who finds themselves without accommodation this winter.

In his written response, Mr Hooper said: ‘Whilst housing policy doesn’t rest with the DHSC or Manx Care, and whilst there is no statutory obligation or responsibility on DHSC or Manx Care to provide accommodation, it is recognised that a current lack of provision places us in the position of provider of last resort.

‘As such, where individuals are seeking support, at any time in the year, Manx Care operate a process for accessing emergency temporary accommodation, generally securing short stays in hotels and bedsits.

‘As well as providing temporary accommodation, the Adult Social Care service (Adult Generic Team) work directly with individuals to ensure any additional support needs are being addressed and/or signposting to relevant third sector organisations who can also provide housing support and other forms of social based assistance.’

In the response Mr Hooper said that the responsibility for homelessness is the Housing and Communities board, and the responsibility for public sector housing lies with the DoI. Yet Mr Callister, who was formerly health and social care minister, said: ‘When I was minister we were looking at the long-term policy for homelessness in the island.’

He said: ‘I just feel that this government is not doing enough to address the concerns about when people find themselves without accommodation, and I want to ask the questions before the autumn comes, because at the moment we have got good weather.

‘As far as I understand, the long-term housing strategy was supposed to be published and I am concerned as we head towards the autumn and winter period, people may find themselves homeless, with no real solution available to them.’

The housing strategy is set to be published in September.

Mr Callister added: ‘Fortunately the number of those who are homeless is small, but even if one person is homeless it is too many, so we have to start addressing these concerns.’

Mr Callister put the issues in part down to the closure of Graih last year, a homelessness charity, however he also said that the key issue is a lack of housing.

In a statement about the subject, political party Liberal Vannin said: ‘The party expresses its concern that 12 months since the charity, Graih, withdrew its provision, government has still not provided a sustainable solution to the problems faced by Manx residents who become homeless here, in the island.

‘We recognise that the support given by the DHSC and Manx Care over the last 12 months is merely scratching the surface and is not readily accessible to many vulnerable people, who can’t always find support from friends and family, many of whom are ill-equipped to do so.

‘We acknowledge and look forward to the long-awaited government strategy document on homelessness and hope that it will lead to immediate action and not further interminable discussion.’