Nearly 9,000 places disappear from vital homelessness services following a decade of cuts
St Mungo’s is calling on the next government to guarantee the funding homelessness services need, as new analysis shows there were 8,755 fewer places in accommodation services for homeless people last year compared to 2010.
- funding for homelessness services has been cut by £1 billion a year since 2008/09.
- rough sleeping has increased has by 165% since 2010.
- the number of people dying while homeless has increased by 51% since 2013.
St Mungo’s analysis of Homeless Link data out today (4 December) shows the number of bed spaces in accommodation services in England has shrunk from 43,655 in 2010 to 34,900 in 2018. These services are a vital route off the street and the reduction in places means more people are stuck sleeping rough.
The analysis is being released to time with tonight’s National Housing Hustings where St Mungo’s and partners will be hosting party housing spokespeople to debate how the next government can end the housing crisis.
St Mungo’s research, published earlier this year, revealed that council spending on support for single homeless people across England fell by 53% between 2008/9 and 2017/18. This means local authorities are now spending almost £1bn less a year on vital homelessness services compared to ten years ago.
During the same period, homelessness has risen dramatically, with the number of people sleeping rough now 165% higher than it was in 2010.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed recently that the number of people dying while sleeping rough or in emergency accommodation in England and Wales has risen by 51% since 2013.
With a week to go until the general election, St Mungo’s is joining other charities to call for an end to homelessness and meaningful commitments from leaders looking to form the new government.
Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: “It’s clear that years of cuts to local authority budgets have devastated crucial services supporting people who are homeless. The human cost is a national tragedy. Last year, an average of two people died every day while rough sleeping or in emergency accommodation. This has to be a wake-up call for politicians and the communities they represent.
“The next government must take urgent action to end homelessness now and prevent people rough sleeping by guaranteeing long term funding for services. Without this no government will get close to their goal of making rough sleeping a thing of the past.”
Andrew Teale, Outreach Manager at St Mungo’s, said: “My own experience of rough sleeping gives me a unique insight into the challenges our clients are facing, but I’m shocked by the scale of homelessness today.
“My team and I work every day, in all weathers to help people sleeping rough. Last year, in Bournemouth and Poole, we helped nearly 300 people come off the streets. And yet we find new people every day.
“The problem is finding the long-term housing and support to help with challenges like poor health, substance use, low income and abuse that people really need in order to escape homelessness for good. If hostel, supported housing and addiction services had been as stretched when I was homeless, the story could have been very different for me.”
St Mungo’s is joining forces with Crisis, Shelter, Centrepoint, Depaul and Homeless Link for the #EndHomelessnessNow campaign which is calling on all parties to commit to ending rough sleeping and homelessness in their manifestos.
The campaign is calling for the next Government to make sure that everybody in our society has a safe and stable home, by putting in place a plan that commits to:
- Improving access to truly affordable housing, by building at least 90,000 social homes a year over the next five years, and improving security for tenants in the private rented sector.
- Strengthening support through the welfare system, through housing benefit that covers the cost of rent and fixing Universal Credit so that it doesn’t push people into homelessness.
- Providing long-term, guaranteed funding for services which prevent homelessness and quickly get people off the street and into a stable home.
Join the campaign at www.endhomelessnessnow.org.uk