Log in | Register

£30m government funding to help rough sleepers

Words: Laura Edgar
Homeless / iStock-539478350

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has announced that £30 million worth of funding will be shared between councils across England as they look to help people living on the streets into accommodation.

It will also help councils to consider those at risk in the winter.

In May, the housing secretary announced that three Housing First pilots would take place in Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region and the West Midlands Combined Authority, as the government looks to reduce the level of homelessness.

This money is to be shared across 83 areas to provide an additional 1,750 bed-spaces for rough sleepers and another 531 dedicated homelessness workers.

Money will also go towards improving the coordination of services available to those in need and at risk.

Projects that have received funding include:

  • Camden Council – £870,000 for the expansion of its outreach team to deliver targeted street interventions in homelessness hotspots. It will also go to recruiting new staff to support rough sleepers to keep their own accommodation.
  • Cornwall Council – £430,000 will go to crisis hostel accommodation, cold weather provision and support for the most disengaged rough sleepers with chronic needs.
  • Manchester City Council – £418,000 will fund specialist staff who will work with young rough sleepers and offenders, and provide additional night shelter beds and supported hostel beds.
  • Leicester City Council – £265,000 will help to increase outreach provision, create a rough sleeper coordinator role and establish an innovative ‘Housing Led’ scheme aimed at enhancing options for those sleeping rough in the city.
  • Lincoln City Council – £376,000 aims to increase outreach and specialist support provision. It will provide 15 beds for rough sleepers with complex needs and help to create a rough sleeper coordinator role.

The government’s new Rough Sleeping Initiative Team will support councils.

Howard Sinclair, chief executive of homeless charity St Mungo’s, said: “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.

“While this money is a welcome first step, we hope that the government will provide sufficient funding alongside its forthcoming rough-sleeping strategy to achieve the prime minister’s goal of halving rough sleeping in this Parliament and ending it within 10 years.”

Brokenshire said the funding would make “a real difference 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.”

In response, Martin Tett, housing spokesman for the Local Government Association, said the funding forms a “positive step” towards helping councils to “effectively support people experiencing street homelessness by providing the resources to help them into supported housing and to prevent it from occurring in the first place”.

“That preventative approach is essential towards helping people out of homelessness and into a secure form of housing, which is why we have to tackle the root causes of homelessness by adapting welfare reforms and enabling all councils to address our national housing shortage, through being able to borrow to build new homes. Only by triggering the renaissance in council housebuilding that we need can we put in place the long-term reforms that will help make homelessness a thing of the past.”

The full list of funding allocations can be found on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government website (pdf).

In a new report, homeless charity Crisis said the UK could see an end to people being homeless within 10 years - if the government adopts certain policies.

Everybody In: How to End Homelessness in Great Britain lays out the charity’s plan to ensure people are no longer without a home, because if the country continues without change, the rate of household homeless is set to “almost double” in the next 25 years from 160,000 households.

The report states that 100,500 new social social are needed each year for the next 15 years to meet the needs of homeless people and those on low incomes at risk of becoming homeless. It also calls for a roll-out of Housing First, and making it the default option for anyone homeless with complex needs.

To end homelessness, Crisis say in the repot that each UK government needs to think strategically. “They must work across all relevant government departments, at a local and national level, on a shared long-term vision of how to make it a reality.”

Everybody In: How to End Homelessness in Great Britain can be found on the Crisis website.

Image credit | iStock