Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has launched the Next Steps Accommodation Programme to ensure that the 15,000 vulnerable people who were provided with emergency accommodation during the coronavirus pandemic continue to have a safe place to stay.
The £266m fund, which is open to councils and their local partners, aims to cover property costs and to support new tenancies.
“The remarkable national effort to support rough sleepers and vulnerable people during this crisis has protected many lives and I am hugely grateful to all those involved,” said Jenrick.
“We now have a landmark opportunity to break the cycle of rough sleeping and ensure that people do not return to a life on the streets.
“Today I am launching the funding to ensure that vulnerable people and rough sleepers continue to have a roof over their heads and are helped into longer term accommodation, enabling them to start to rebuild their lives.”
The programme takes total government support for homelessness and rough sleepers to over half a billion pounds. A total of £105 million is now available to ensure interim accommodation and support continues for those who need it and can be used to help people move into the private rented sector, extend or secure alternative interim accommodation or where possible help people to reconnect with friends or family.
In addition, first wave funding, totalling £161 million, is also available to provide 3,300 additional supported homes this year for those currently housed in emergency accommodation. This is part of a total of £433 million to provide 6,000 long term, safe homes for those in need.
This funding is part of the response coordinated by Dame Louise Casey, who has been leading the COVID-19 Rough Sleeping Taskforce. Expert advisers will also be available to support local partners develop their plans for accommodation and related support services.
Minister for rough sleeping and housing, Luke Hall MP said: “There has been a colossal effort from our councils, charities and partners to provide a protective shield for the most vulnerable during this pandemic.
“Their efforts must not be in vain and today’s release of funding will make a huge difference by preventing thousands from returning to the streets with further support to allow them to rebuild their lives with a roof above their heads.”