THE Government has released details of an action plan to end rough sleeping by 2027, but town hall chiefs warn it won’t work unless councils get the funding they need.
The Rough Sleeping Delivery Plan, announced by communities secretary James Brokenshire MP, is expected to deliver the measures contained in the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy, which was published over the summer.
“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,” said Brokenshire.
“That is why we are taking action to provide support to help get people off the street this winter and set the foundations to put an end to rough sleeping altogether by 2027. 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.”
The measures include:
- New Work Coaches for every single Jobcentre Plus by summer 2019, which the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) claims will help the homeless to navigate the support available to them
- An expectation placed on all councils to publish detailed rough sleeping and homeless strategies by winter 2019 – setting out how councils plan to provide specialist support and accommodation for vulnerable people on the street. Government will take action where councils fail to do so
- Carrying out a comprehensive government study into the links between homelessness and the LGBT community – making 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
Ministers have also launched an £11 million fund for councils across the country to get as many people as possible off the streets and into secure accommodation where they can get the help they need to rebuild their lives.
This builds on the first year of the Rough Sleeping Initiative, launched in March, which MHCLG says is providing £64 million to over 80 councils over the next two years in England to support rough sleepers in their area. This funding is creating 1,750 new bed spaces, as well as an additional 500 outreach workers.
“Any extra investment will help local efforts to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping,” said Councillor Martin Tett, housing spokesperson for the Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales.
“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% 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.”