The government has announced it is investing £212m in homes for rough sleepers and councils are being encouraged to bid for a share of the funding.
Homes will be made available in every region of England, enabling people who sleep rough, or are at risk of sleeping rough, to be rehoused in secure, long-term accommodation and will provide some of the most vulnerable in society with a place to live and help them to rebuild their lives as they transition away from life on the streets.
Through this scheme, rough sleepers will be supported by specialist staff to access the help they need, such as support for mental health or substance misuse needs, so they can move towards training and work, as well as finding a permanent home.
This funding is the next stage of the largest ever investment in longer-term accommodation for rough sleepers, with 6,000 homes pledged by the end of this Parliament as part of the government’s mission to end rough sleeping once and for all.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is leading a cross-government drive to eliminate rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament, with £750m being spent over the next year to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.
Commenting, Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we made it a priority to protect rough sleepers through our ongoing Everyone In campaign, which has supported more than 37,000 people into long-term accommodation.
“To build on this progress, we are making the biggest ever investment in longer-term accommodation for rough sleepers so they can have a secure, safe and comfortable home and rebuild their lives.
“Councils have played an outstanding role in protecting rough sleepers throughout the pandemic and today’s funding is a further opportunity to work together to achieve our mission of ending rough sleeping once and for all.
Chairman of the Local Government Association, Councillor James Jamieson added “It is vital that we build on the success of councils, government and partners in getting rough sleepers off the streets during the pandemic and make this the new normal rather than a one-off emergency response.
“This investment will help to transform the lives of people sleeping rough and ensure they get the crucial support they need and a roof above their head.
“Councils stand ready to play their part in the cross-government drive to end rough sleeping altogether and make sure no one suffers the tragedy of becoming homeless.”
The government’s Everyone In initiative was launched by the Housing Secretary at the start of the pandemic to protect rough sleepers more than 26,000 of the 37,000 people it has helped have already moved on to longer-term accommodation.
Data published last month shows that rough sleeping has fallen 43% since the peak in 2017, with 2,688 people estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night in autumn 2020, compared to 4,677 in 2018.
Through the first year of the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme, the government allocated more than £150 million, as well as investing in high-quality support over the next three years, so that vulnerable people helped through the programme can maintain their tenancies and move on from rough sleeping.
Councils are playing their part in this across the country.
Bristol City Council received funding for a partnership with homelessness charity, St Mungo’s, which will deliver 21 homes for former long-term rough sleepers supported through the ‘Everyone In’ campaign, with the new tenants being supported to sustain their tenancies by St Mungo’s specialist support workers.
In the North West, St Helens Council and an affordable house builder are delivering 28 homes for rough sleepers renovated from the shell of long-term, unlettable flats and tenants will benefit from the high standard of accommodation and the garden space provided as part of the development.