The Local Government Association has responded to the latest report from the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping.
With the latest figures showing that there has been a 26% increase in rough sleeping around the country, as well as record numbers of people living in temporary accommodation, the report has called for the current and next administrations to take urgent action to address the current crisis. According to the reports, the ongoing rise in homelessness and rough sleeping rates is stemming from affordable housing shortages, a lack of statutory support services, and the cost-of-living crisis.
As part of the report, the Commission has recommended three key principles that should help to guide the homelessness approach of the next government administration, as they look to end homelessness and rough sleeping for good. These principles are:
- Prevent people from getting to the brink of homelessness
- Nobody should need to get onto the streets before they get help
- Everybody should have a way out of rough sleeping
Thanks to evidence from local authorities, providers of homelessness services, and those with lived experience, the commission is advocating for a change of approach. This change would see prevention form the basis of a robust response, rather than the current approach of only responding to those who are in crisis already. Alongside this step-change, the government has also been urged to increase housing benefits so that it covers local affordable rents.
With the Local Government Association representing councils all around the country, it has responded to the report. LGA Chair Cllr Shaun Davies said:
“Councils want to turn the tide of rising homelessness and ensure no one has to sleep rough on our streets, an ambition which Lord Kerslake admirably strived for.
“As this report recommends, we need to prevent people from reaching crisis point in the first place, alongside providing tailored support for those who are already homeless.
“Local Housing Allowance rates should also be urgently reviewed to ensure that at least a third of the market is affordable for people claiming housing related benefits, alongside adequate resources for councils’ homelessness services and a cross-departmental homelessness prevention strategy.
“As per our six-point plan, councils also need to be given the powers and resources to build 100,000 social homes a year to address the national shortage of affordable housing.”
This LGA response comes only months after it called for a “generational step-change” as the government looks to tackle homelessness and housing issues, this call was introduced alongside a further six-point plan for social housing to help with the crisis.
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