YP Letters: City proud to show its compassionate side

From: Coun Peter Gruen (Lab), Chair of Adult Social Care, Public Health, and NHS Scrutiny Board, Leeds Council.

Christmas dinners are served to the homeless at St George's Crypt, as part of help-the-homeless day. Pictured former Leeds Rhinos player Jamie Peacock. 18th December 2015. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

IT was very timely to read your statistics about homelessness and empty homes in our region, especially at this poignant time of the year.

It is absolutely right to reflect on the issues of our time. And I see some real signs of care, support and friendship by so many in our city for those in difficult circumstances.

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Many people are organising collections so that more food than ever is finding its way to our food banks. These are staffed by volunteers and providing essential nourishment; the number of rough sleepers in the city is relatively low due to the continuous effort by the excellent network of homeless charities and our Housing Department working together; and our five year campaign to tackle “empty homes” shows up very clearly in your stats, particularly in social housing where voids are at a record low.

We brand ourselves as being an “ambitious and compassionate” city and so we know there is always more to do to eradicate inequality.

This is the right time to take a few moments to give thanks for our blessings while also helping others in our own neighbourhoods who could do with a welcoming smile.