More rough sleepers are set to be helped off the streets and into safe accommodation thanks to £203m worth of government funding.
The funding will be allocated to councils across England and will support vital projects, such as shelters, specialist mental health or addiction services and targeted support to help rough sleepers off the streets for good.
It will be used by councils, charities and other local groups to fund up to 14,500 bed spaces and 2,700 support staff across England.
This funding is part of the government’s £750m investment this year to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, part of the their drive to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament.
Analysis of the Rough Sleeping Initiative, now in its fourth year, shows that the programme has reduced rough sleeping by almost a third, compared to areas which have not taken part in the programme.
Building on the past success of the programme, funding has almost doubled this year and will provide additional support to help those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The number of people sleeping rough across England has fallen for the third year in a row and by 37% in the last year alone.
Commenting, Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick said: “At the beginning of the pandemic we took swift and decisive action to bring rough sleepers in from the streets and settled them into longer-term accommodation in record numbers.
“That work continues, the results are clear and are a huge credit to all involved.
“Ending rough sleeping is a personal mission for the Prime Minister and me, and we have made huge progress since he came into No. 10, reducing rough sleeping by 43%.
“To build on this progress, we are making the biggest ever investment under the Rough Sleeping Initiative to provide vital services to those who need it most, as part of our drive to end rough sleeping for good.”
Minister for Rough Sleeping, Eddie Hughes added: “Across the country, there are staff and volunteers working tirelessly to make a real difference to the lives of rough sleepers.
“From providing bed spaces and night shelters, to funding dedicated support staff and medical treatment, today’s funding will mean that crucial work to help people off the streets can continue.
“This is part of an unprecedented £750m of government investment this year to help us reach our goal of ending rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament.”
The Rough Sleeping Initiative was launched in 2018 to help local areas provide tailored services to those living on the streets.
With this investment, the government has now allocated almost £400m to 281 councils through the programme, which supports coordinated projects across areas, including housing, mental health, addiction support and domestic abuse.
The government said that funding from previous years of the programme is already having a ‘transformational’ effect at a local level, with local authorities reporting significant falls in the number of rough sleepers.