2017-18: Save Hostels, Rebuild Lives
Homeless hostels are the primary route out of rough sleeping, but their future was put at risk when the Government proposed potentially damaging reforms to the way they are funded.
In 2017 we launched our Save Hostels, Rebuild Lives campaign and gathered over 12,000 signatures on a petition opposing the proposed funding reforms. Our petition was handed in on World Homeless Day and within weeks the proposal was dropped, but later replaced with one that could have been equally damaging. After St Mungo’s campaigners kept up the pressure by briefing their MPs on the new proposals and sending 2,000 postcards to the new Homelessness Minister, the new plans were also abandoned.
As a result funding for homeless hostels will continue to be provided through the benefits system and not made reliant on less secure council grant funding – a huge victory for the campaign and a relief to the thousands of vulnerable people currently living in hostel accommodation. Ministers have also made welcome promises to review the wider funding given to hostels.
You can find out more about the role of homeless hostels and the threat of the original proposed reforms by reading our Save Hostels, Rebuild Lives campaign report or our policy report, Ending rough sleeping: the role of supported housing. Our January 2018 Briefing for MPs provides information on the second proposed reforms, and our blog A safe, secure future for homeless hostels looks at what the campaign achieved and what remains to be done.
2016: Stop the Scandal
In 2016 we launched our Stop the Scandal campaign, highlighting the links between rough sleeping and mental health and asking the government to stop the scandal of people with mental health problems sleeping rough.
Over 15,000 people signed our open letter to Theresa May, which called for an ambitious new national rough sleeping strategy providing for improved mental health support and improvements to homelessness legislation.
In 2017 the government:
- Backed the Homelessness Reduction Act, which imposes new duties on councils to prevent people sleeping rough from April 2018;
- Committed to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it altogether by 2027; and
- Launched a new cross-government taskforce to develop and deliver a new national rough sleeping strategy.
We’re working hard to make sure that the new strategy is as comprehensive as possible, and we’ll keep up the pressure to ensure that its implementation is properly funded.
You can find out more by reading our campaign reports – Stop the Scandal: an investigation into mental health and rough sleeping; Nowhere Safe to Stay: the dangers of sleeping rough; and Stop the Scandal: the case for action on mental health and rough sleeping.
2015: Homeless Health Matters
In 2015, our Homeless Health Matters campaign called on local and national health leaders to better understand and meet the health needs of people who are homeless.
Evidence shows that homeless people have some of the poorest health in our society, and often face difficulties in accessing healthcare when they need it.
Supporters asked their local Health and Wellbeing Board to sign our Charter for Homeless Health as a first step towards improving homeless health. We also started a petition urging the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to prioritise homeless health.
- 12,224 people signed the petition
- 42 Health and Wellbeing Boards around England have signed our Homeless Health Charter – that’s more than 1 in 4
- Plans made by these boards affect the health of a quarter of England’s population: that’s over 14 million people
2014: Reading Matters
Our Reading Matters campaign was calling for basic skills training to be well-funded, suitable and accessible to all homeless people. We published a report, Reading Counts: Why English and maths skills matter in tackling homelessness.
The report shows that people who are homeless have often had a poor experience of school, often connected to unstable and traumatic childhoods. People who lack basic skills are also likely to find it harder to recover from homelessness. Read the full report.
Thank you to the 2,700 campaigners who supported our campaign.
2013: No More
From 2011 to 2013, rough sleeping rose by 31% nationally. In response to this alarming rise, we launched our No More campaign.
No More increases in the numbers of people sleeping rough
No More preventable homelessness
No More suffering on the streets
We published the No More report, which looked at where people go for help before they start to sleep rough and identifies missed opportunities to help people to keep a roof over their heads.
Read about the 13% rise in rough sleeping in London during 2012-13.
2012: Rebuilding Shattered Lives
In 2012 we launched our Rebuilding Shattered Lives campaign, which called on people across the UK to showcase successful services which support homeless and vulnerable women.
We published a report which brought together more than 200 contributions from charities, academics and women with lived experience of homelessness. It sets out the issues, good practice and makes ten recommendations.
The report highlights problems including separation from children, mental and physical ill health, prison sentences, drug and alcohol use and involvement in prostitution. These problems often stem from trauma following violence and abuse.