Plans to provide thousands of long-term, safe homes for vulnerable rough sleepers taken off the streets during the COVID-19 pandemic have been unveiled by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP.
Rough sleepers currently housed in emergency accommodation will be supported to move on to more sustainable, long-term housing, backed by £160m in funding this year.
By accelerating plans for the £381 million announced for rough sleeping services at Budget – now extended to £433 million – the funding will ensure that 6,000 new housing units will be put into the system, with 3,300 of these becoming available in the next 12 months.
In addition to accelerating this capital spend for investment in housing stock, the government is also increasing the revenue invested in the total programme by 37% to make sure that the rough sleepers have the support they need to stay off the streets for good.
Once in their new home, rough sleepers will be supported by specialist staff to access the help they need to rebuild their lives, move towards training and work, and remain off the streets for good.
Thanks to the efforts of charities, local government and other partners, in just over two months, more than 90% of rough sleepers known to councils at the beginning of the pandemic have now been offered accommodation where they can remain safe and able to protect themselves during the crisis.
The plans are being pulled together by the Rough Sleeping COVID-19 Response Taskforce, led by Dame Louise Casey, bringing together local government, charities, faith groups, public sector partners and businesses to use the coronavirus crisis and successful work so far in bringing ‘everyone in’ as a catalyst towards ending rough sleeping for good.
As part of this commitment, Homes England, in partnership with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has pledged to work hand-in-hand with housing associations and local authorities to fast-track thousands of units of longer-term accommodation for rough sleepers needed now.
Government will work in partnership with councils, local leaders and the property sector to ensure the housing is delivered as quickly as possible.
Ministers have also announced a further £6 million for frontline homeless charities and the Department for Education will be providing more than £700,000 for councils to support care leavers at risk of homelessness and rough sleeping.