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James Brokenshire unveils action plan to combat rough sleeping

Monday 10 December 2018

Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire MP, has unveiled the Government’s next steps to help people off the streets and meet its target to end rough sleeping for good by 2027.

Following the publication of the Government's Rough Sleeping Strategy earlier in the year, the Rough Sleeping Delivery Plan, published today, sets out how important measures contained in the strategy will be delivered – including targets and tough deadlines for 61 commitments.

As well as providing New Work Coaches for every single Jobcentre Plus by summer 2019 – helping the homeless to navigate the support available to them – the plan also makes way for new legislation to tackle rough sleeping.

The plan also places an expectation 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, with Government intervening and taking action where councils fail to do so.

To aid this, ministers have launched an £11 million fund for councils across the country who are not currently receiving Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI) funding, 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 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 many of whom who are already working tirelessly to support people off the streets and into recovery.

Commenting on the announcement, James Brokehsire said: “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.

“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 delivery plan also sets out more detail on the new Rapid Rehousing Pathway, putting in place structures to prevent and quickly respond to rough sleeping in the long term. Over the next nine years, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) aim is to research and plug evidence gaps and pilot new approaches to tackling homlessness, which will inform principle plans for wider roll-out, including:

  • Carrying out a more holistic review of all of research activities and requirements in order to identify overlaps and gaps, with a view to commissioning appropriate research in the near term to fill those gaps.
  • To ensure all work is approached from a user-centred perspective, by seek to understand the needs of all users of the policies, systems, and services delivered.
  • From this, look to find ways to consistently measure these interventions, in order to interactively improve them and meet users’ needs.
  • Evaluate the Housing First Pilots and the Rough Sleeping Grant/Social Impact Bond funded interventions for rough sleepers, learning more about the client groups and their needs, as well as what works to improve their outcomes. 

In recent weeks, the first people supported through the Housing First pilot scheme in the West Midlands have moved into their new homes. The pilot is one of three currently being funded by £28 million in government funding – with Liverpool City Region and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority also piloting the approach.