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Further funding for councils to tackle homelessness

Words: Laura Edgar
Homeless / iStock-539478350

An £11 million fund has been launched by the government to help councils get homeless people off the streets and into secure accommodation.

The government said the cash builds on the Rough Sleeping Initiative that was launched in March. This provides over 80 councils with £64 million over two years to support those sleeping rough in their area.

It aims to create 1,750 new bed spaces and 500 additional outreach workers.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has also published the Rough Sleeping Delivery Plan, which supports the Rough Sleep Strategy which came out in the summer. The plan includes targets and sets out how the strategy will be delivered.

The plan places an expectation on all councils to publish detailed rough sleeping and homeless strategies by winter 2019. They should include how councils plan to provide specialist support and accommodation for vulnerable people on the streets.

The government said it will take action where councils fail to.

Brokenshire said: “No-one is predestined to spend their lives sleeping on the streets. Yet, despite this, too many people still sleep rough on any given night.

“This new action plan sets out the next steps to making this goal a reality. And while we are already seeing progress, I am clear we must go further than ever to achieve our ambition of a country in which no-one needs to sleep rough.”

Other commitments in the delivery plan include:

  • Reporting on the findings of a feasibility study on the causes of homelessness and rough sleeping.
  • Introducing new work coaches for every single Jobcentre Plus by summer 2019 – helping the homeless to navigate the support available to them.
  • Carrying out a comprehensive government study into the links between homelessness and the LGBT community to make sure the right support services are in place to help LGBT homeless people off the streets and into stable accommodation. The study will be published in summer 2019.

Martin Tett, housing spokesperson for Local Government Association Housing, said any extra investment will help.

“Councils are determined to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping from happening in the first place and support families affected. This is becoming increasingly difficult with homelessness services facing a funding gap of more than £100 million in 2019/20.

“Proper resourcing of local government funding is essential if we are going to end rising homelessness. Councils also need to keep 100 per cent of the receipts of any homes they sell to replace them and reinvest in building more of the genuine affordable home they desperately need and the ability to adapt welfare reforms to prevent people from losing their home where possible.”

Image credit | iStock