Labour pledge to end rough sleeping – St Mungo’s response

14 December 2016

The Labour Party has outlined its pledge to end rough sleeping as part of a new strategy announced by John Healey.

St Mungo’s Stop the Scandal campaign has been calling on all parties to develop a national strategy to end rough sleeping.

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: “We strongly welcome this commitment to ending rough sleeping and the call for a national rough sleeping strategy. We are particularly pleased to hear the promise to fund the new homes required to help turn this pledge into reality.”

“Every day, our teams see the harm that people suffer when they spend time sleeping rough. Our clients tell us about violence, abuse and worsening problems with mental health. Many became homeless following relationship breakdown, eviction or losing a job – problems that can happen to anyone.”

The Labour Party’s announcement today details a pledge to end rough sleeping within its first term in government and a pledge to double the number of homes ring-fenced for people who require a stable home to help them in their recovery after living on the streets, through the Clearing House model.

The announcement also asks ministers to back charities to expand street outreach teams for people sleeping rough.

Sinclair continued: “We are pleased to hear a commitment to extending the London-based Clearing House scheme, which provides homes for vulnerable people who have slept rough. We know that the Clearing House model works. Since it started 25 years ago the service had referred 13,500 people into stable accommodation.

“But homelessness is about more than housing. Homeless people are also often facing challenging health issues, needing to improve skills and employability and wanting to form, and keep, positive relationships for moving on.

“This is why we will continue to press for all parties to commit to secure future funding for supported housing, to help vulnerable people with the most complex needs to get the help they need to rebuild their lives.”

St Mungo’s is campaigning for a new national strategy to end rough sleeping which includes:

1. Ensuring nobody, no matter where they are in England, is turned away to sleep rough by their council when they have nowhere safe to stay.

2. Ensuring specialist homeless mental health services are available in all areas with the highest levels of rough sleeping.

3. Delivering a funding model for supported housing services that meets demand, so those who need it have somewhere safe to stay and the right support to rebuild their lives.

4. Improving data on rough sleeping in all areas of England.

In 1991 the Rough Sleepers Initiative (RSI) set the objective of making it “unnecessary for anybody to sleep rough on the streets of London”. One of its legacies was the Clearing House, a project managed by St Mungo’s on behalf of the Greater London Authority which allocates properties generously provided by Housing Associations throughout London to people formerly rough sleeping on the capital’s streets.

Darren has slept rough in London, he said: "I was homeless for a number of month's and through the help of St Mungo’s have now started to find my feet again."

“I had a job then one day lost it and wasn’t able to support myself, even the basics like eating. I was then evicted from my flat and ended up sleeping rough. My council were unable to help me so I was stuck with nothing. More needs to be done to help homeless people.”

Darren recently spoke at an event in parliament to mark St Mungo’s Stop the Scandal campaign. In February, St Mungo’s launched Stop the Scandal calling on the Prime Minister to lead a new strategy to end rough sleeping. More than 15,000 people signed an open letter to Theresa May which was handed in on World Homelessness Day on 10 October.

St Mungo's clients have reqeusted a meeting with Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, to dicuss these issues further. Help by sending him a reminder

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To speak with case studies and spokespeople from St Mungo’s please contact:

Gemma Hollingshead, St Mungo’s Press & PR Manager on 020 3856 6131 / 07979 018 734

Charlotte Cohen, St Mungo’s Press & PR Officer on 020 3856 6126 / 07739 195 351

Clearing House at 25

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