An Isle of Wight councillor is on a mission to remedy homelessness on the Island.

Julia Baker-Smith, who recently took on the role as executive member for housing, has been working round the clock to organise setting up a new shelter. The last shelter left on the Isle of Wight at Downside School closed on Monday. Julia says she wants the problem solved sooner rather than later, and has herself been homeless, ten years ago. Councillor Julia Baker-Smith, Executive Member for Planning and Housing, said:

“I was in the royal navy and was a mum of a young two year-old and was expecting my daughter, overnight my circumstances changed, people’s circumstances do change incredibly quickly, I went from being a naval nurse on £30,000 a year, to overnight being homeless with nothing.”

She’s been working with volunteers who used to run the night shelter, and those who run the Island’s soup kicthen. Cllr Baker Smith said:

“The council is continuing to work with the volunteers who operate the night shelter and soup kitchen in order to find a suitable alternative solution and are facilitating this as best we can. We are in discussion with other potential partners to this end.  We have recently arranged storage/transfer of equipment, some of which was purchased for the shelter, by the council, in advanced of a more permanent solution being found. “Having been homeless myself 10 years ago I understand how important the night shelter, and the hard work of these volunteers is, and I am so grateful for their hard work and dedication.”  

jonweeks