England: Housing organisations call for ‘bold plans’ to tackle cause of homelessness

England: Housing organisations call for 'bold plans' to tackle cause of homelessness

Housing and homelessness organisations in England have welcomed commitments in the UK government’s new rough sleeping strategy, while calling for bold plans to tackle the causes of homelessness.

A joint statement was issued today by members of the strategy’s Rough Sleeping Advisory Group: Crisis, Homeless Link, National Housing Federation, Shelter, St Basils, St Mungos and Thames Reach.

The UK government’s strategy, backed by funding of £100 million, outlines plans to halve the number of rough sleepers by 2022 and end rough sleeping by 2027.

The joint statement reads: “This strategy is a significant step towards the government’s goal of ending rough sleeping by 2027, which will make a real difference to people’s lives. As members of the advisory panel, we welcome the new funding commitment for dedicated outreach teams and for emergency bed spaces, while the announcement of nationwide trials of a ‘somewhere safe to stay’ duty and the review of the vagrancy act have the potential to pave the way for desperately needed reforms, preventing people sleeping rough.

“However, 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 must 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. We also need to see a reversal of policies that leave migrants homeless and destitute, and healthcare, mental health and substance misuse services that are available and truly accessible to those who need it.

“To end rough sleeping by 2027, the government must build on today’s welcome announcement and set out plans to prevent homelessness from occurring in the first place. The ambitious target that the government has set itself will only be achieved if it is equally bold on addressing the policies that cause rough sleeping.”

Responding further, Jean Templeton, chief executive of St Basils, added: “There is much to welcome in this strategy. We believe that homelessness in any form should not be part of growing up for young people.

“We are keen to continue to work with government to embed upstream prevention which ensures that 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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