The government has allocated funding for its programme to provide interim accommodation for rough sleepers, with councils in the North of England set to receive a total of over £13 million.
Announced by housing secretary Robert Jenrick this past summer, the Next Steps Accommodation Programme aims to offer interim accommodation and support to the around 15,000 vulnerable people who have been given emergency accommodation since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
274 local councils across England will share £91.5 million of funding to help rough sleepers into interim accommodation in the private rented sector or supported housing. A separate £13.5 million fund will help councils tackle new or emerging challenges.
The government is also now considering applications for its £161 million fund to provide over 3,330 supported homes this year for those sleeping rough or staying in emergency accommodation. This fund forms part of its bid to provide 6,000 such homes by 2024.
Jenrick said: “The incredible national effort to support rough sleepers during the pandemic has protected many lives and is widely regarded as one of the most successful programmes of its kind in the world. I’m hugely grateful to all those involved.
“This funding will ensure that vulnerable people and rough sleepers continue to have safe accommodation and the care and support they need, to ensure as few as possible return to the streets.”
Overall, 63 Northern councils have been allocated funding as part of the programme – 35 in the North West, 11 in the North East and 17 in Yorkshire and the Humber – and will share a total of £13,293,299.
The biggest single Northern beneficiary of Next Steps funding is Manchester City Council which will receive £2,000,000. Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, and Sheffield are the next biggest recipients.
The amount of Next Steps funding allocated to councils across the North is eclipsed by that handed to those in London and the South East, who will share over £43 million and £15 million respectively.
Steve Douglas, chief executive of the homelessness charity St Mungo’s, welcomed the speed with which the funding has been allocated, saying that it will build on the success of the ‘Everyone In’ initiative.
“Going forward we want to work with government and partners on longer term solutions and hope that the homelessness review for a long-term strategy will begin this autumn,” Douglas said.
The £91.5 million allocated to councils in this funding round will only be available for use in the 2020/21 financial year.