Homeless not Voiceless

Voting ImageHomeless, not voiceless

Services across Plymouth are helping people without permanent accommodation register to vote in the upcoming general election.

Michelle Kimber, a Harbour Centre1 administrator, initiated the campaign based on those run by Crisis.

Michelle told us why: “Every British citizen has the right to participate in the democratic process. Unfortunately, those without stable accommodation are often disenfranchised and may not be aware they can register to vote. Someone staying in a hostel would obviously register at that address but people who are sofa-surfing, in temporary accommodation like a B&B, or sleeping rough, can also register using the address of a day service.”

Michelle added “The one thing we are not doing, however, is telling anyone who to vote for!”

The initiate is supported by services across the city, including Hamoaze House 2, Quay Project3 and Shekinah4.

Rebecca Cheshire, Harbour Chief Executive, explained the wider benefits: “We know that people find it easier to make positive changes in their life when they feel part of their community. People who are homeless may feel detached from our society; encouraging people to use their vote, to find their voice, helps them feel reconnected and builds their self-worth.” Rebecca also spoke to Plymouth Radio and an axtraxt from her interview can be heard here

Mark Bignell, Hamoaze Chief Executive, added:  “A significant part of the process of change is for people to know that they have choices and that their choices are important and will be valued and respected.  It is essential that people have this opportunity in decisions that will affect their future.”

Paper copies of the ‘Electoral registration form for someone with no fixed or permanent address’ are available from Hamoaze House, Harbour Centre, Ocean Quay and Shekinah. The form can also be obtained from Plymouth City Council Electoral Service or on-line at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/voter-registration-forms-paper-versions.

The deadline for voter registration is midnight on Monday 22 May 2017.

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