Poverty and Inequality

11.06.18

£30m for rough sleepers as charity claims homelessness can be ‘thing of the past’ in 10 years

The communities secretary James Brokenshire has pledged £30m in funding to boost immediate support for rough sleepers to help them into accommodation.

A total of 83 areas will share the much-needed cash boost from Brokenshire with councils holding the highest numbers of homelessness across England being given top priority to increase support offered to people now and over winter.

Funding will be used to provide an extra 1,750 bed spaces for rough sleepers and an additional 531 homeless workers. The funding will also help to improve the coordination of services available to those at risk.

Areas such as Camden, Cornwall and Manchester City Council will receive “significant” sums of the cash, with the London borough receiving £870k for delivering targeted street interventions focusing on hot spot areas, as well as new staff to support rough sleepers to find and retain accommodation.

Brokenshire says the funds will make a “real difference” and that those at risk in the coming winter will receive the help they need now.

“Many challenging factors lie behind rough sleeping, from mental health problems to addiction, and our long-term strategy to be published this summer will outline how we plan to tackle them and eliminate rough sleeping for good,” he added.

"For the first time ever, we have a comprehensive plan"

The news comes as homeless charity Crisis published a comprehensive report to make homelessness “a thing of the past.”

The charity claims that the current 236,000 homeless people across England, Wales and Scotland, need 100,500 homes to be built each year for the next 15 years.

"For the first time ever, we have a comprehensive plan that shows exactly how we can address the root causes of homelessness and make it a thing of the past," said chief executive of Crisis, Jon Sparkes.

"Other parts of the world are taking huge strides towards ending it, and Britain can too."

"We must not become a society that simply accepts homelessness as 'a sad fact of life' – it doesn't have to be this way," added Sparkes.

Now, with government funding, councils will be supported by the Conservative’s new Rough Sleeping Initiative Team. This consists of experts from the sector as part of the Homelessness Reduction Act announced in April aiming to invest £1.2bn in the sector.

Other high priority areas include Cornwall, who will receive £437,000; Westminster, who will receive over £534,000; and Brighton, who will receive around £0.5m for new outreach staff, psychological support, and temporary accommodation for rough sleepers.

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s homeless charity, said:

“Given how dangerous it is to sleep rough, we are pleased that ministers have recognised that urgent action is needed to support people off the street and out of danger, as well as to prevent people ending up on the streets in the first place.

“Effective outreach services are a crucial part of this along with sufficient emergency accommodation and assessment and support for people with mental health and substance use problems.”

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Image credit: serikbaib

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