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New support measures announced for rough sleepers

Friday 08 June 2018

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire MP has announced £30 million in immediate support to help rough sleepers off the streets and into accommodation.

83 areas across England with the highest numbers of rough sleepers will receive a share of the funding, in order to significantly increase the support they are able to offer people currently living on the street and and also those at risk this coming winter.

Rough sleeping in England has been on the increase for seven consecutive years, with officials estimating that 4,751 people slept rough for at least one night in autumn last year, an increase of 15 per cent on the previous year. 

The package, which is part of wider Government action to tackle homelessness, is expected to provide an additional 1,750 bed spaces and an extra 531 dedicated homelessness workers. The cash boost will also help to recruit outreach staff, provide psychological support, better co-ordinate services available to those in need and at risk, and create more temporary and crisis hostel accommodation, including for women and couples. 

Supported by the Government’s new Rough Sleeping Initiative Team - consisting of experts from the sector with a proven track record of successfully helping rough sleepers and preventing those at risk from becoming homeless - the funding will cover:

  • Camden - £870k will be allocated for a considerable expansion of their outreach team to deliver targeted street interventions focusing on hot spot areas, as well as new staff to support rough sleepers to keep their own accommodation
  • Cornwall - just over £430k has been earmarked for crisis hostel accommodation, cold weather provision and support for the most disengaged rough sleepers with chronic needs
  • Manchester City Council - £418k will fund specialist staff to work with young rough sleepers and offenders and provide additional night shelter beds and supported hostel beds
  • Brighton – just under £0.5 million has been set aside for new outreach staff, psychological support and temporary accommodation
  • Leicester – £265,000 will help to increase outreach provision, create a Rough Sleeper Co-ordinator role and establish an innovative “Housing Led” scheme enhancing options for those sleeping rough in the city
  • Lincoln – £376,000 has been allotted to increase outreach and specialist support provision; the funding will also provide 15 bed spaces for rough sleepers with complex needs and create a Rough Sleeper Co-ordinator post
  • Plymouth – £363,000 to develop a multi-agency team to deliver bespoke interventions for rough sleepers as well as temporary accommodation and housing coupled with support for rough sleepers
  • Westminster – £534,000 will help to deliver new Housing First units, to support rough sleepers with complex needs get off the streets into stable and affordable accommodation; the funding will also provide for 18 staff including mental health specialists, bed spaces for women and couples and extended night shelter provision

This latest announcement builds on significant action already taken, with the Government committed to invest more than £1.2 billion to tackle all forms of homelessness in an effort to halve rough sleeping by 2022, and end it altogether by 2027.

This includes the new Housing First pilot scheme which was announced last month to get people into stable and affordable accommodation. Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region and the West Midlands all received the go-ahead from Government to launch new pilot projects worth more than £28 million to support rough sleepers with complex needs get off the streets into stable and affordable accommodation.

In April the Homelessness Reduction Act was introduced which places new duties on councils to prevent and relieve homelessness, and provide more people with the support they need, sooner. Alongside this, Flexible Homelessness Support Grant funding has been made available to councils, which they can use to work more strategically to prevent and tackle local homelessness pressures.

Next month Government will publish its long-term Rough Sleeping Strategy that has been developed in partnership with a panel of homelessness experts, charities and local Gvernment. It will set out a comprehensive plan to make life on the streets a thing of the past by ensuring those sleeping rough have appropriate routes away from the streets – and prevent them from sleeping rough in the first place.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon. James Brokenshire MP said: “No one should ever have to sleep rough. I am determined that more people living on the streets and those at risk this coming winter get the help they need now. That’s why I am making £30 million available that will help councils boost the immediate support they are able to offer. Whether this pays for more beds or more outreach workers this will make a real difference now. Many challenging factors lie behind rough sleeping, from mental health problems to addiction and our long-term strategy to be published this summer will outline how we plan to tackle them and eliminate rough sleeping for good.”

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, commented: “Given how dangerous it is to sleep rough, we are pleased that ministers have recognised that urgent action is needed to support people off the street and out of danger, as well as to prevent people ending up on the streets in the first place. Effective outreach services are a crucial part of this along with sufficient emergency accommodation and assessment and support for people with mental health and substance use problems. While this money is a welcome first step, we hope that the Government will provide sufficient funding alongside its forthcoming rough sleeping strategy to achieve the Prime Minister’s goal of halving rough sleeping in this parliament and ending it within 10 years.”