Gov’t must ‘be bolder’ in pushing cross-departmental solutions to homelessness

Policy panel says new funding intentions must prioritise tackling the structural causes of homelessness across government.

sleeping homeless man on a bench

The organisations making up the rough sleeping strategy advisory panel want government to be bolder in stressing cross-departmental efforts to tackle the root causes of homelessness.

Homeless Link, Crisis, National Housing Federation, Shelter, St. Basils, St Mungo’s, Thames Reach acknowledge the overall £100m funding announcement today (July 13) as a “significant step” towards the government’s goal of ending rough sleeping by 2027 – specifically citing the new funding commitment for dedicated outreach teams and for emergency bed spaces.

The nationwide trials of a ‘somewhere safe to stay’ duty and the review of the vagrancy act are seen as having potential to pave the way for desperately needed reforms.

Earlier today, the NHF, through chief executive David Orr, urged government towards a full assessment of the impact of welfare reform on homelessness levels to contextualise the strategy intentions.

Collectively, the panel says that for the strategy to work, the government must also set out “bold, cross-departmental plans” to tackle the root causes of all forms of homelessness, and prevent it from happening in the first place.

This, the panel says, would include, plans to build significantly more social housing, to foster greater security for renters, to ensure people have access to benefits and other support they need to help them keep their homes.

The panel also sees a need to reverse policies that leave migrants homeless and destitute, and the provision of healthcare, mental health and substance misuse services that are available and truly accessible to those who need it.

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said: “To end rough sleeping for good the government will need to ensure this plan is built on and prioritises tackling the structural causes of homelessness 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 of Crisis referenced the plan his organisation published earlier this year  cited as “showing exactly” how the root causes of homelessness can be addressed.

“With the right measures in place, the Government can do what it takes and make sure that no one has to face homelessness again,” he said.

Jean Templeton, Chief Executive of St Basils, stressed a keenness to continue to work with government to embed upstream prevention ensuring “all young people have trusted support and somewhere safe, suitable and affordable to live that enables them to learn and work and to achieve their potential.”

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