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Brokenshire launches rough sleeping strategy

Words: Laura Edgar
Strategy to end rough sleeping published / iStock-92399945

The government is aiming to halve rough sleeping on England’s streets by 2022 and end it completely by 2027, said the housing and communities secretary today (13 August), as he launched its £100 million rough sleepers’ strategy.

The three-pronged plan is set to be developed across government and in conjunction with the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel*, which comprises representatives from the homelessness sector and local government.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the government recognises homelessness “is a complex issue – as well as ensuring people have somewhere to live, we have to deal with underlying problems and ultimately help people turn their lives around”.

“The strategy launched today will help us act to prevent rough sleeping before it happens and make sure targeted support is reaching those that need it.”

Proposals focus on preventing people becoming homeless in the first place, while those living on the streets will get “swift, targeted support” to help get them off the streets and into long-term accommodation, as well as giving them the support they need to tackle issues they may have, explained the government.

A housing-led approach to ensure that people have their own home is “vital to restoring dignity and a sense of security, hope and recovery”.

The strategy follows the announcement of £30 million in funding for the areas with the highest numbers of rough sleepers and the launch of the Housing First pilots.

It sets out a three-pronged approach:

  • Prevention: Understanding the issues that lead to rough sleeping and providing timely support for those at risk.
  • Intervention: Helping those already sleeping rough with swift support tailored to their individual circumstances.
  • Recovery: Supporting people in finding a new home and rebuilding their lives.

James Brokenshire, housing and communities secretary, said: “Whether people are at risk of rough sleeping, already on the streets or in need of settled accommodation, we have a solid plan to help the most vulnerable in our society.

“And this is not just about putting a roof over their heads, but helping them find a place to call home.

“These vulnerable people need our support and, through our expert-backed strategy, I am confident they will get it.”

The government also plans to carry out a review of the legislation relating to homelessness and rough sleeping, including the Vagrancy Act, with the aim of ensuring the best measures are in place and that rough sleepers are not discriminated against.

Plans in the strategy include:


  • Piloting suitable tailored accommodation for those leaving prison so they don’t end up on the streets.
  • Researching the nature and scale of LGBT homelessness to determine what measures need to be put in place to prevent this.
  • Making sure that authorities investigate rough sleeper deaths to understand and tackle the root causes.


  • Rolling out a new initiative to help up to 6,000 people who are both new to the streets and vulnerable to rough sleeping, offering support to rapidly identify issues that led them to sleeping rough.
  • Up to £30 million for mental health treatment, informed by the findings of a health provision audit to be carried out this year.


  • Building affordable accommodation for those leaving hostels and domestic abuse refuges, and to support them in managing this accommodation.
  • Launching a £50 million fund for homes outside London for people ready to move on from hostels or refuges but need additional support

The rough sleeping strategy can be found here on the UK Government website.

* The members of the rough sleeping advisory panel and co-authors of the joint statement are: Crisis, Homeless Link, National Housing Federation, Shelter, St Basils, St Mungo’s, and Thames Reach.

Read more:

Industry reacts to government homelessness strategy, calling for more social homes

£30m government funding to help rough sleepers

Projects launched to support rough sleepers

Image credit | iStock