IT’S going to take more than government cash to tackle homelessness, says the Local Government Association (LGA) – it will need councils to build more new homes too.
That’s the response to the Ministry of Housing’s latest announcement on funding to help local authorities tackle the problem of rough sleeping.
Yesterday, the ministry announced the provisional allocation of £34 million to fund 83 areas over the next two years.
The announcement followed the launch of the Rough Sleeping Strategy last month. This latest cash provides an extension of the £30 million provided in June through the Rough Sleeping Initiative Fund.
Sheffield was one of the areas that received money from that initial £30 million wave of funding. It was allocated £363,000 to expand its ‘housing led’ services and increased its provision of emergency accommodation. The fund also provided a specialist support worker to assist a 64-year-old with mobility and addiction problems to move from sleeping rough to settle into permanent accommodation.
“Our Rough Sleeping Strategy set out the blueprint to end rough sleeping by 2027. Now, we are vigorously taking the steps to make that happen,” said communities secretary, James Brokenshire MP. “The funding through our Rough Sleeping Initiative is already making a real difference in helping support those off the streets into services and accommodation this year.
“But there is still work to do and that’s why we are supporting these areas with further funding to ensure progress continues to be made and vulnerable people are supported into services and accommodation.”
In response to yesterday’s funding announcement, the LGA’s housing spokesperson, Councillor Martin Tett, indicated that the money is welcome, but not enough in itself to truly tackle the problem once and for all.
“This funding is a positive step towards helping councils, who are dealing with rising levels of rough sleeping in their communities, 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,” he said.
“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 house-building that we need can we put in place the long-term reforms that will help make homelessness a thing of the past.”