AIM: to generate a comprehensive nationwide policy for housing, in the spirit of Atlee's post war strategy for a Welfare State.
Could a Labour Government initiate a branch of kindly, trusted police to approach every homeless person on the street and take them to a local assessment facility, perhaps utilizing out-of-use warehouses or shops in the first instance?
Here, their immediate needs could be addressed, as offered by charities with limited means and geographical range, such as Shelter, Crisis and Aslan, but also, focus would be on ensuring that help is given before anything worse happens to these people, making it harder to get back from the trouble that drove them to the street.
The approach must be seen to be sympathetic. Life changes can be sudden and unexpected. Whether or not unwise choices are involved must make no difference. You cannot know. You cannot judge. It must be clear that all helpers can be trusted in this.
Even children know that their heroes, like Paddington, or Hazel-rah in Watership Down, may be characters who have done all they could to help themselves, but a point comes when they need help from others to survive, and for their story to end as an inspiration to others. Otherwise, their lives would end in failure and their existence, forgotten. Life can be like this.
Research based on this work would help the government to reform housing policy. It would be clear where we need housing programmes for social housing and reform of laws to promote good relationships between landlords and tenants in the private sector.
Incidentally, this could also unearth information about criminal behaviour such as financial irregularities, slavery, sexual and physical abuse that are driving problems that lead to people becoming homeless. This could lead to constructive prosecutions and legal reforms, as well as social education in schools.
This country could become a safer place for all, from the cradle to the grave, and an inspiration to the rest of the world.