Government won’t meet its target to end rough sleeping by 2024 says panel of experts

    Chronic and unresolved systemic issues have left country exposed to rising homelessness

    Strong partnership working and a shared purpose made a massive reduction to rough sleeping during the pandemic, but we are now beyond ways of working. The current Government and next administration must take urgent action to address the rapidly rising rates of homelessness and rough sleeping, which stem from a severe shortage in affordable housing, a lack of appropriate support services, and a cost-of-living crisis that is pushing more and more people into homelessness. This is the recommendation of the latest report of the Kerslake Commission, established to learn the lessons from Everyone In, a report which is a blueprint for tackling homelessness and rough sleeping and a tribute to its former Chair, Lord Bob Kerslake.

    Latest national official figures show a 26% increase in rough sleeping and the highest rates of people living in temporary accommodation on record. As political parties prepare for their party conferences, the Commission recommends three key principles that should guide the next administration’s approach to end homelessness and rough sleeping for good:

    • Prevent people from getting to the brink of homelessness – We need to be preventing people from reaching crisis point and becoming homeless or at risk of homelessness
    • No one should need to arrive on to the streets to get help – Where people are at risk of rough sleeping, there should be a cross sector effort to make timely and effective interventions that prevent an episode of rough sleeping
    • Everyone should have a route out of rough sleeping – For anyone who is rough sleeping, there needs to be a meaningful and tailored offer which will take them away from the streets for good

    The report is clear that the Government will not meet its goal to end rough sleeping by 2024. In fact, rough sleeping is on the increase and at the heart of it are chronic and unresolved systemic issues, which have left the country vulnerable to new pressures. The report warns that many of the problems outlined would be resolved if there was more supply of social rented housing and supported housing and likens the scale of the challenges to early 20th century Britain.

    Drawing on evidence from local authorities, homelessness service providers and people with lived experience, the Kerslake Commission strongly advocates that prevention and system change must form the basis of a robust response, rather than solely responding to people in crisis. In the interim, the Commission is urgently calling on the Government to increase housing benefit so that it covers local affordable rents.

    Responding to the report, St Mungo’s Chief Executive, Emma Haddad, said: “The dedication of people working throughout the homelessness sector shines through the report, but it sets out starkly that we are working against the tide. The chronic shortage of affordable housing and appropriate support services means we are just responding to people already in crisis rather than preventing them from reaching that point in the first place. The recommendations give a clear set of actions to both the current Government and the next administration that would make a big difference to tackling rough sleeping and homelessness. They would do well to listen to the expert voices contained in the report.

    “We made so much progress on rough sleeping during the pandemic, which clearly demonstrated what can be done when we work together with a shared purpose and dedicated funding. It’s time we applied the same energy to stop this homelessness and rough sleeping crisis spiralling further.

    “When Bob Kerslake died in July 2023, we lost a staunch ally of the homelessness sector. This report is a tribute to him and his life’s work.”

    The Kerslake family said: “After over 40 years as a public servant, many of which were spent on delivering quality homes and environments, Bob was saddened and dismayed by the rise of homelessness across our country. He was proud to chair the commission and totally committed to its findings. He would have been vociferous in publishing its conclusions and recommendations.

    “His main focus would have been persuading those who have the power to make positive changes to read this report in depth, then work together to meet those recommendations. As his family, we firmly believe that this would be a fitting tribute to a great man who worked tirelessly for the betterment of others.”

    The Kerslake Commission was steered and directed by Lord Bob Kerslake until his untimely passing in July 2023 and this report has been built from his legacy.

    Offer accepted by Unite

    Unite the Union have voted to accept our pay offer, bringing the strike and pay dispute to an end. Here is our statement:


    Emma Haddad, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: 

    “Following a vote, Unite the Union has confirmed its members have accepted the new pay offer package we put forward on 18 August 2023.

    “In this offer, everyone who is on up to and including point 36 on the National Joint Council (NJC) pay scale will receive £1,200 per year as a St Mungo’s allowance in addition to the annual pay award, which will be a minimum of £1,925 this year.

    “This means over 90% of staff will receive a total minimum increase of £3,125 in 2023-24. This works out as a 7-15% pay increase, depending on salary. The total cost to St Mungo’s will be just under £6m.

    The agreement also includes a number of non-pay items, including an increase in annual leave.

    “This vote resolves the dispute and ends a period of unprecedented strike action, and we understand Unite is asking people to return to work on Monday 4 September 2023. We are relieved with the outcome as we know this has been a difficult time for everyone involved. We look forward to working together with our colleagues and our partners as we continue to support people recovering from, or at risk of, homelessness.”


    Notes to Editors/background information

    As well as the £3,125 pay rise, St Mungo’s is offering:

    1. An additional three days of annual leave for everyone.
    2. A permanent increase in the mileage allowance.
    3. A review of our wider benefits package, with a commitment to ensure modern and competitive policies around issues like maternity and paternity leave, carers’ leave, sickness, and compassionate leave.
    4. The removal of the probationary period when moving to a new role internally.
    5. A commitment to an external review of spot rate pay (pay outside of the NJC scale), and ongoing, regular conversations in the Joint National Committee regarding senior roles and senior pay.
    6. A commitment to establish a wellbeing fund for teams to access, working with colleagues to define and create it.
    7. A commitment to continue lobbying, with partners, for better funding across the homelessness sector.
    8. A commitment to sharing financial information quarterly with the whole organisation. Unite commit to use this information with the intention of working together to avoid future disputes.
    9. Early payment of the 2023-24 NJC pay award that is still being negotiated, with a view to paying any difference once the final award is agreed, in line with our recognition agreement.
    10. A freeze on Executive Director and CEO pay for the current year.
Go back