Zulum set to propose a motion to address homelessness

By Beatriz Silva

At the upcoming UGM, to be held on 12 March, LSESU Gen Sec Zulum Elumogo will put forward an initiative to tackle homelessness. The goal of the initiative is to make the issue of homelessness a priority both for LSE and LSESU, and to ensure that concrete steps are taken towards tackling an issue that affects LSE students, faculty and staff.

The motion proposes the launching of a Sustainable Strategic Partnership between LSE, LSESU and St Mungo’s in order to develop a collective strategy to effectively tackle homelessness in the next three years. St Mungo’s is a charity founded in 1969 to help people experiencing homelessness in England. Additionally, the motion highlights the organisation of a ‘Skills & Careers Fair’ for rough sleepers. If the motion passes, the Fair will be held at least three times a year at LSE, with support from St. Mungo’s. The first fair is set to take place on 6 May.

As underlined in the motion, homelessness in London increased by 165% since 2010 and the most acutely affected areas are the local councils of Westminster and Camden. Given that LSE’s campus is located in both council areas, the motion suggests that currently uncoordinated efforts should be correctly channelled in order to optimise the school’s capacity to play a role in alleviating homelessness. The motion refers to LSE’s founding principle “for the betterment of society” and emphasizes the critical role that the university can play in addressing local issues, particularly by partnering with an expert organisation such as St Mungo’s. 

The topic of homelessness has been prominent at LSE in previous years. In 2018, a petition launched by LSE students was signed by 66,000 people to immediately remove the “anti-homeless benches” on campus. New benches separated by handrails had been recently installed close to the LSE library, triggering claims that the school was participating in the establishment of anti-homeless architecture. This led LSE to set up a review of the benches at the time, but not much was done after that. 

When questioned on whether this time would be any different, and whether LSESU would be able to successfully lobby LSE into adhering to this initiative, Elumogo stressed the fact that the motion is the result of a campaign organised by a Sabbatical Officer and that working with LSE’s Estates Division has made this a meaningful and thought-through initiative. 

As LSE celebrates its 125th anniversary, Zulum calls the LSE community’s attention to the fact that “there is no better time to remind ourselves of our founding purpose than by establishing a cross campus initiative to help the local homeless community”.

According to Elumogo, if successful, this motion will become a leading priority for the SU, thus mandating the future General Secretary to continue the work already started. Students, as well as faculty and staff, will be encouraged to participate by volunteering, fundraising or providing research, he added. For now, anyone interested in getting involved in the first Skills & Career Fair can contact the General Secretary directly at su.generalsecretary@lse.ac.uk.

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