The latest NFA (National Federation of ALMOs) Best Practice report has concluded that the current government strategy on homelessness is failing to balance the homelessness equation.
The new report – which is based on the frontline knowledge of NFA members who manage their parent councils’ statutory homelessness duties – says the government strategy of crisis management isn’t working, and it should instead employ a strategy more focused on prevention.
The author of the report, Lisa Birchall, said that increasingly the core systemic cause of homelessness in the UK is the chronic shortage of truly affordable homes.
The report highlighted that, while the well-understood triggers of debt, domestic violence, and life-controlling dependencies still play a big part in the loss of a stable home, the loss of a private tenancy or family support now accounts for nearly half of all homelessness claimss.
Calls for more social housing
The partnership is now calling on the government to put the creation of at least 90,000 new social homes at the heart of COVID-recovery policy.
NFA policy director Chloe Fletcher said: “ALMOs who manage their parent council’s homelessness duties have developed highly targeted prevention programmes designed to block routes to homelessness, such as working with care leavers or those at risk of domestic abuse.
“This report shows that they’re very good at it, but that they’re doing it on a shoestring and can’t possibly do enough of it.
“That’s true for all local authorities in the aftermath of COVID and a decade of austerity cuts.”
Fletcher added: “Meanwhile, councils are spending more than £1bn a year on temporary accommodation and it makes no sense.
“And as we and our Homes at the Heart campaign partners have been saying since lockdown hit, it really couldn’t be plainer – the ultimate homelessness prevention programme is to build more housing that people can genuinely afford.”
Publication of the NFA report has been timed to co-incide with the campaign’s #SettledFutures week.
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