Conservatives in Government have set an ambitious target of halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eradicating it by 2027. These are challenging goals and more action will be needed from across government to achieve them.
There can be no success without preventing more people from living on the streets. Understanding the issues that lead to rough sleeping and being able to address them before people are forced to sleep rough is paramount in our new strategy, as well as working to build our understanding of the links between modern slavery and rough sleeping.
The government is also setting aside up to £17 million to fund ‘Somewhere Safe to Staypilots’ to quickly assess the needs of people at risk of rough sleeping and support them to get the right help. This means working locally with NHS England and Public Health England to fill gaps in health services for people sleeping rough as part of the long-term plan for their health and social care. Starting with £2 million this year, we have asked NHS England to spend up to £30 million over the next five years on health services for people who sleep rough.
I believe that in 21st century Britain, it is unacceptable that people should be faced with the fear of homelessness and it is important to support the most vulnerable in society to get their lives back on track. Since 2010, over £500 million has been made available to give councils and the voluntary sector the tools needed to prevent homelessness. This has prevented nearly 1 million people from becoming homeless, but I know that more can be done. I am glad that the Government is maintaining homelessness prevention funding for local authorities and increasing central government funding for homelessness programmes to £139 million. £40 million is also being provided to refurbish hostels and to provide low cost shared accommodation for young people at risk of homelessness. I welcome the £5 million fund which has been announced for the 25 local authorities facing the greatest pressures in moving people out of temporary accommodation and into a home. Furthermore, at the Budget the Government announced that it would invest £100 million to deliver low-cost 'second stage' accommodation for rough sleepers leaving hostel accommodation and domestic abuse victims and their families moving on from refuges. Funding for the Rough Sleeping Social Impact Bond is being doubled to £10 million to find ways to tackle entrenched rough sleeping. A further £10 million will also support innovative ways to prevent and reduce rough sleeping over two years, particularly in London, building on the success of the No Second Night Out initiative.