Seven-year-old writes MP letter about WGC homeless crisis

Daniel Elder gives his pocket money to help the homeless every time he sees them.

Daniel Elder gives his pocket money to help the homeless every time he sees them. He wanted to do more for them when he realised it was a big problem everywhere he went. - Credit: Alice Elder

A seven-year-old schoolboy has written to MP Grant Shapps after seeing numerous homeless people in WGC town centre. 

Daniel Elder gives his pocket money to help the homeless every time he sees them, but wanted to do more when he realised rough-sleeping was a wider concern.

His mother Alice explained: “He gets really upset when we are in town or anywhere and we see people begging and he always says he feels really sad and tells me how awful it would be if our family were homeless." 

Alice spoke to him about what they can do to help as a family but Daniel soon realised that his pocket money might not make a real difference. 

After speaking to his mother, Daniel eventually realised that the government had the power to make change happen, so he decided to write to Grant Shapps over the weekend. 

Daniel realised that the government had the power to make change happen, so he decided to write to Grant Shapps. 

After speaking to his mother, Daniel realised that the government had the power to make change happen, so he decided to write to Grant Shapps over the weekend. - Credit: Alice Elder

Daniel wrote: “I want you to take action and do something about it as a good leader should.” 

Grant Shapps office responded to the letter saying: “Grant understands peoples’ concerns about the government’s commitment to support homeless individuals.

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"He’s proud to have been elected on a manifesto commitment to end rough sleeping, and it’s encouraging to hear that the number of rough sleepers has fallen in every region of England, taking levels in 2021 to an eight-year low overall. 

“It’s important to note that the reasons for homelessness are incredibly complex and can affect an peoples’ decisions to seek care and support. On July 1st, Grant visited the One YMCA in WGC, whose ‘Peartree Project’ aims to create a fantastic 100-unit facility in the heart of Welwyn Hatfield that will help them deliver their 5-stage ‘Homelessness Prevention Pathway’. Once it’s completed, it will double their capacity to help homeless individuals by 2025. 

“There has also been hugely positive progress with the temporary accommodation schemes at Howlands House in WGC and Burfield Close in Hatfield. When completed, Howlands House will provide 72 flexible temporary housing units along with parking for vehicles and cycles, Burfield Close will provide 43 temporary dwellings with a communal garden, private amenity space along with parking. In 2019, it was acknowledged that much of the housing provided there would not be suitable for people in the future, and it is fantastic to see that planning has been approved for these developments which represent vast improvements in quality of accommodation. 

“There is also a route through which people concerned about others who may be rough sleepers may flag their concerns. ‘Street Link’, a website which Grant pioneered, and through which these reports can be made, aims to connect homeless people with local services and contribute to wider efforts of ending homelessness. These developments and initiatives highlight the fantastic works taking place across Welwyn Hatfield and options available to all of us in order to support homeless people.” 

His office also mentioned that “Grant was incredibly impressed to hear that Daniel donates his pocket money to homelessness charities”. 

Alice added: “I think it’s really amazing because he is a child with a lot of benefits and privilege and I think it would be really easy to live your life blind to what other people experience, so I am really proud of him for caring and trying to see what he can do to make the world better. I think he will grow up wanting to make life better for people around him.”