More rough sleepers will be helped off the streets and into safe accommodation thanks to an extra £112 million funding for councils, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP has announced on the 28 January 2020.
This funding is a 30% increase this year and will be used by local authorities, charities and other organisations to fund up to 6,000 bed spaces and 2,500 support staff across the country.
This will help vulnerable rough sleepers get the support they need to rebuild their lives. It could mean a roof over their head, access to specialist mental health or addiction services, or advice on how to secure a home in the long term.
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Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said:
No-one should have to face a night on the street and we have a moral duty to support those who need help the most. It is encouraging to see more people getting the support they need, but there is always more to do.
We are focusing relentlessly on this issue and our efforts have already led to the first nationwide fall in rough sleeping in a decade – and the areas funded by our Rough Sleeping Initiative have seen rough sleeping numbers fall around a third more than they would be without this vital programme, but we need to go further. That is why we are providing this funding so vital work can continue as we set out to end rough sleeping once and for all.
Homelessness Minister Luke Hall said:
There are people all over the country working tirelessly to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in our society. Our Rough Sleeping Initiative is proving to be successful, and this funding will mean this vital work can be continued as we set out to end rough sleeping once and for all.
The Rough Sleeping Initiative was launched in 2018 to ensure local areas were given the boost they needed to provide these vital services for those living on the streets.
This will give people access to a roof over their head when they need it most – as well as the help they need to recover from a life on the streets.
We have seen the first nationwide fall in rough sleeping in a decade – and this comes as the government is facing a significant challenge following a large increase in the number of non-UK rough sleepers coming to the UK.
For example in Westminster it’s estimated that 49% of those sleeping rough are non-UK nationals and work continues across government to support these individuals.
Government funding for rough sleeping has already helped thousands of people to improve their lives and get off the street. This is a coordinated effort across housing, addiction support, mental health services and policing.
We intend to continue to bring all parts of government together to end rough sleeping by the end of this parliament.
For example, Southwark Council is working in partnership with all NHS local agencies to help end rough sleeping in their area. The council has placed a housing navigator within the 3 local NHS hospitals to coordinate a joint health and housing response to ensure no patient is discharged to the streets.
The council, through Rough Sleeping Initiative funding, has also employed one nurse to work in partnership with the outreach team to ensure any person sleeping rough has access to health care. The rough sleeper will also automatically qualify for council housing following the referral from the nurse.
This partnership has ensured 41 people sleeping rough have been now been rehoused with support into suitable accommodation.
The funding will be used by councils to:
- Create street-based services including outreach teams who will locate and support rough sleepers directly on the streets and offer them access to services
- Establish first stage accommodation such as hostels, Somewhere Safe to Stay hubs and emergency access beds which provide warm and dry shelter, rapid assessment, and support to people who are already – or at risk of – sleeping rough
- Set up housing support providing stable, affordable accommodation and intensive wrap-around support to help people who are sleeping rough recover from complex issues and sustain their tenancies
- Introduce specialist support workers including Rough Sleeping Coordinators, navigators, and specialist health and care staff
The funding follows the Prime Minister’s drive to tackle homelessness and the announcement of over £260 million for local authorities. This will help people who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes improve their lives and get back on their feet.
SOURCE: HM GOV