We can end rough sleeping
By 2010, 20 years of government action meant the end of rough sleeping was in sight. But since then spiralling housing costs, increasing insecurity for private renters and cuts to services that prevent homelessness have seen rough sleeping more than double.
Rough sleeping is the most damaging form of homelessness
The average age of death for a man who dies whilst sleeping rough or in homelessness services is only 45. For women it’s 43. And the longer someone spends on the streets the harder it is to come back from.
It doesn't have to be this way
The Government has pledged to end rough sleeping by 2024 and provided some new funding for services to help people already sleeping rough. But it's a drop in the ocean compared to the £1 billion a year that's been cut from services that prevent homelessness and end rough sleeping over the last 10 years.
Government action can stop people returning to the streets permanently by:
- Investing an extra £1 billion a year in services that prevent homelessness and end rough sleeping. And ring-fence the money so it can't be spent on anything else;
- Building more social homes and making them available to people who have slept rough; and
- Improving private renting to better suit the needs of people with a history of sleeping rough.
"Without Paulina, I'd still be on the streets."
“I became homeless because I couldn’t make the rent for my flat, despite working as a labourer. After sofa surfing for a while, I lived in the woods on and off for around two years.”
Jan began visiting a day centre in Brighton, to get meals and clothing. It was there he met Paulina, who would become his key worker.
“Having Paulina as my keyworker changed everything. For the first time, I feel like someone’s supporting me.
She supporting me to find work and sort my finances. I didn’t realise when I was sleeping rough that I had depression. It was Paulina who pushed me to go to the doctors, I would never have gone without her and I’m now getting treatment.
She makes me want to put the effort in, because she’s working so hard as well.
Everyone deserves the chance I’ve had to turn things around for themselves.
That’s why I’ve written a petition for the Secretary of State for Housing – the Government must do more to make sure that everyone can get the support I’ve had.”Sign Jan's petition
What we're calling for
Our Home for Good campaign report explains the difficulties people face when leaving the streets behind and what the Government must do to end rough sleeping for good.
To learn more about what we're calling for, click on the recommendations below:
Invest an extra £1 billion a year in services that prevent homelessness and end rough sleeping. And ring-fence the money so it can't be spent on anything else.
- Homelessness services support people to rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind for good. Without the right help, people are much more likely to return to rough sleeping.
- To get everybody into a home for good, the government must use the 2020 Spending Review to provide long-term investment in homelessness services, ensuring a tailored package of support is available to everyone who has slept rough.
Improve the private rented sector to better suit the needs of people with a history of rough sleeping
To get everybody into a home for good, the government must:
- Re-align Local Housing Allowance rates to ensure that Housing Benefit covers the rent of at least 30% of properties in the local area.
- Legislate to make private renting more stable by requiring open-ended tenancies, limiting rent increases and ending 'no fault' evictions.
- Support landlords to let to people with a history of rough sleeping.
To get everybody into a home for good, the government must:
- Increase investment to build 90,000 homes for social rent every year for 15 years.
- Reserve some social housing for people with a history of rough sleeping and make these homes available through housing-led programmes, including Housing First.
- Stop excluding people who have experienced homelessness from social housing.
Ensuring people are getting the right support has to be part of the Government's plan to end rough sleeping for good. To find out the difference that good support can make, read Kevin, Jennifer and Charlotte's stories below.
"A lot of people need ongoing support, I needed ongoing support."
For years, Kevin didn't have a stable home - staying with partners or friends and eventually sleeping rough.
After some time in hostels, he moved into a private flat but without the right support - he lost his tenancy.
"Housing people alone doesn't solve the problem - it's everything that goes with it. With people who are street homeless, it's not as easy as just giving them a roof over their head.
Moving on, in to your own place, is the scariest time for anyone. A lot of people need ongoing support; I needed ongoing support."
Kevin now works in a community centre, working with people experiencing homelessness every day.
"I work with people who are or have been homeless and I know there is capacity in everyone to turn their lives around. But the right support just isn't in place for everyone. I truly believe I am one of the lucky ones."
"The support St Mungo's has given me has been crucial."
Jennifer struggled to find support after she was evicted from her property in South London and became homeless.
"I didn't know what to do, how to get started. I knew there must be something, but I didn't know what.
Finally I found Streetlink, who told me they could help but it would take 48 hours. For that time, I just walked round London and kept myself busy. I refused to lie down."
Through Streetlink Jennifer got into emergency accommodation and then into a community where she worked and lived for three years. Finally she was referred to St Mungo's for a social home through the Clearing House scheme for people with experience of sleeping rough.
“It's only now being with St Mungo's that I'm able to settle properly. I got offered a clean slate, and it's been nothing but positive. The support St Mungo's has given me has been crucial.
Having my keyworker, it's so important - I know she genuinely cares. She always offers her help and we work together on my future. I can catch up with her whenever, and bit by bit, I've been getting stronger and more confident."
“I know I can speak to anyone here and they’ll help me.”
Charlotte is a client of a St Mungo’s hostel in London, and has been there for two years.
“I was living with my family but everything wasn’t going great so I moved out. I got an assessment and not long after that – I was able to move in here.”
Charlotte has regular support of two keyworkers, but also has support from all the project staff.
“Being here, it’s good because it’s so easy to talk to everyone. I can get things off my chest, and I can talk in private when I need.
I have a weekly catch up with one of my key workers, where we talk about everything like my finances and my job. But if they’re away, I know I can speak to anyone here and they’ll help. They all should get awards!
I’ve got a support network now with new friends and I’m trying to stop drinking, which I get support for.
When I was living with my family, everything was unstable but now, it’s all changed. My relationship with my family is better now, because I live here. It feels like home.”