Government's £100m strategy to end homelessness - too little, too late

14 Aug 2018
by Andrew Redfern

Yesterday the government unveiled its £100m strategy to tackle rough sleeping on England's streets, and to bring an end to the problem by 2027.

The number of people sleeping rough has risen steadily over the last seven years in towns and cities right across the country. Sadly the official national estimate of 4,750 street homeless people is, in my view, likely to be far higher.

Action from Central Government is, then, long over-due… but I have to say that yesterday’s announcement was a disappointment for me.

Make no mistake, any extra money is welcome insomuch as it can provide additional support to local services – to street outreach work, to the No Second Night Out initiative and to mental health services. We and our partners will certainly work hard to make the most out of any new money.

But this is not new money and it is not the joined up national strategy that we and others have long been calling for. I also would have liked to have seen a commitment to extend the successful pilot of the Housing First scheme in Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, which has been delivering very good result and is proven to work.

As a society we really should be stopping homelessness from happening in the first place – intervening to stop people from being evicted, helping people when they get into debt, and doing more to help foreign nationals who end up sleeping rough because they have no recourse to public funds.

In recent years, however, about £2billion a year has been taken away nationally from programmes designed to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place. That the government are now investing only one twentieth of that sum in tackling street homelessness after it happens can be seen as too little too late.

*Andrew Redfern is Chief Executive of Framework

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