Hunt doubles down on ‘Housing First’ to ease homelessness

But last roll of the dice on fast-fading bid for PM doesn’t come with commitment to ending the benefits freeze.

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As a last roll of the dice on his fast-fading bid for PM, Jeremy Hunt doubled down on housing as a “basic human right”.

But neither Hunt or Johnson will commit to thawing the benefit freeze.

Hunt pitches a £30m programme based on Housing First principles, effectively offering unconditional permanent shelter and treatment to rough sleepers

This, he says, could take 1,000 homeless off the street as related pilot programmes were expanded.

Slamming homelessness as a “source of great shame”, Hunt said he saw housing as a “basic human right’.

As well as the guarantee of immediate or near immediate access to a place to live, Hunt’s plan promises the vulnerable would get “unconditional access to whatever treatment they need”.

Hunt’s plan builds on a housing vision unveiled earlier in his campaign to deliver 1.5 million new and affordable homes, with costs covered through a combination of “money and political will”.

But Hunt is not ready to thaw the benefits freeze – and nor is Johnson.

During the final leadership debate last night, neither heeded the urging of Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd that the ending of the freeze was “essential” for the next PM, with the current cap up for review next year.

Hunt acknowledged Rudd’s lobbying behind the scenes, but said only he would look at such a policy change “very sympathetically”.

Johnson told the audience he’d made enough spending commitments.

“I am going to have a look at it, but I am going to avoid making policy on it here tonight,” he said.

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