The government has published its rough sleeping strategy, vowing to offer quick specialist assessments and support to 6,000 vulnerable people.
The new measure is backed by £100m of funding and sets out the next steps towards achieving government aims of taking rough sleepers off the streets and into a home. The strategy hopes to end rough sleeping completely by 2027.
Following £30m of new funding for areas with the largest numbers of rough sleepers and the launch of the Housing First pilots, this strategy was developed across government and in collaboration with the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel which is made up of representatives from the homelessness sector and local government.
The rough sleeping strategy sets out a three-pillared approach:
Prevention – a deeper understanding of the issues that led to rough sleeping and providing timely support for those at risk
Intervention – helping those already sleeping rough with instant support tailored to their individual circumstances
Recovery – supporting people in finding a new home and rebuilding their lives.
This system wants to focus on stopping people from becoming homeless to begin with and providing them with the right support to find work and live independently.
Long-term goals include; rapidly housing those sleeping rough and offering full support to ensure their specific needs are addressed so that they can move into suitable permanent accommodation at the first opportunity.
Communities Secretary, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, said: “It is simply unacceptable that people have to sleep on our streets and I am determined to make it a thing of the past.
“Whether people are at risk of rough sleeping, already on the streets or in need of settled accommodation, we now have a solid plan to help the most vulnerable in our society.
“And this is not just about putting a roof over their heads but helping them find a place to call home.
“They need and deserve our support and, through our expert-backed strategy, I am confident they will get it.”
Rick Henderson, Chief Executive, Homeless Link said: “Homeless Link welcomes this strategy as a positive starting point setting out a range of initiatives that could make a significant impact on reducing rough sleeping. We welcome the recognition of the role of all government departments and public services including health, care,
substance misuse and criminal justice in preventing and ending rough sleeping.
“The voluntary sector has a critical role to play in ending rough sleeping and we are pleased that recommendations from our members have been included in the strategy. We will continue to work with our members and government to ensure this plan is built on and progress made on tackling the structural causes of rough sleeping including action on reducing poverty, urgently addressing the chronic shortage of low cost housing and ensuring an effective welfare safety net.”
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive, Crisis added: “Crisis is pleased to welcome this important step towards ending rough sleeping by 2027. Short term measures, such as new funding for non-UK nationals who sleep rough and for dedicated outreach teams will provide welcome relief for those facing the hardships of life on the streets.
“Once people are off the streets, a commitment to a rapid rehousing model can ensure that they never find themselves in this position again.
“It is also important the strategy acknowledges that the policies that prevent homelessness, such as the supply of social homes and a benefits system that covers the costs of housing, must be addressed. We look forward to welcoming the practical and concrete steps needed to tackle these issues.
“If we’re to end rough sleeping, a bold, housing-led approach to tackling the problem is required, alongside a robust strategy to prevent people from becoming homeless that involves departments from across government. We stand ready to work with the Government to meet its ambitions.”