Homelessness czar Dame Louise Casey ‘steps back’ from government role

Dame Louise CaseyImage copyright

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Dame Louise led the government’s Rough Sleeping Taskforce during the coronavirus outbreak

Dame Louise Casey has “stepped back” from her role as the government’s chief advisor on homelessness.

She was appointed in February to carry out a review, but the coronavirus outbreak saw her redirected to lead the government’s homelessness task force.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick thanked Dame Louise for her contribution, highlighting her work during the outbreak.

She has also been appointed a crossbench peer in the Lords.

In a letter announcing her decision, Dame Louise said: “Accepting the crossbench peerage is also a big deal to me and I want to think about how best I can make my contribution to public service from there.

“So for a number of reasons this seemed like the right moment to step back, especially as the country looks to gear up to the ‘new normal’.”

The BBC’s chief political correspondent, Vicki Young, said the former Victims’ Commissioner was known for her straight talking and had not always seen eye-to-eye with the Conservative government.

It is understood Dame Louise would consider returning to lead the rough sleeping review later in the year, but only if there was a broad remit to consider all aspects of homelessness.

Emergency housing

Dame Louise was appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson six months ago to head up the review into homelessness, saying he was “absolutely determined to end rough sleeping once and for all”.

He put a deadline on this pledge of the end of this Parliament in 2024.

But when the pandemic hit the UK, Dame Louise became the head of the government’s homeless Covid taskforce, organising emergency housing for almost 15,000 rough sleepers during lockdown.

Housing Secretary Mr Jenrick praised her work throughout the pandemic, saying it had led to “so many rough sleepers being helped off the streets and kept safe from coronavirus”.

He added: “Her work leading the Rough Sleeping Taskforce will ensure as many people as possible who have been brought in do not return to sleeping rough.”

BBC News