Homelessness in Budget 2020

Wednesday 11 March 2020

The Chancellor of the Exchequer today presented the government’s budget for 2020.

St Mungo’s has welcomed a number of measures.

On funding for services to prevent homelessness and end rough sleeping:

  • £237 million, as announced by the Prime Minister last month, for accommodation for up to 6,000 people sleeping rough and a further £144 million for associated support services.
  • £262 million for substance misuse treatment services which, when fully deployed, is expected to help more than 11,000 people a year.
  • £46 million from the Government’s Shared Outcomes Fund to provide improved support to individuals experiencing multiple complex needs, such as homelessness, reoffending and substance misuse.

On welfare, key announcements include:

  • Additional exemptions from the Shared Accommodation Rate of housing benefit for people moving on from homeless hostels and care leavers, as well as victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking.
  • A reduction in the maximum rate at which deductions can be made from a Universal Credit payment from 30% to 25%, and 24 months to repay advances.

On social housing, key announcements include:

  • A commitment to build at least 1 million new homes by the end of the Parliament, and an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.
  • An additional £9.5 billion for the Affordable Homes Programme, bringing the total to £12.2 billion of grant funding to build affordable homes across England.

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said:

“This Budget definitely brings some good news for everyone who wants to see an to end homelessness and rough sleeping.

Research by St Mungo’s earlier this year found that 12,000 people experiencing homelessness went without life-saving drug and alcohol treatment last year. At the same time there has been a shocking 55% rise in deaths by drug poisoning among people sleeping rough. St Mungo’s has been calling for more investment in services which support people sleeping rough with drug and alcohol problems – as outlined in our Knocked Back report. We are pleased Government has listened to these calls and we warmly welcome this vital new funding, which will save lives.

“The Government has also acknowledged the need to invest much more in social housing in order to prevent homelessness, as well as the services that help people who need extra support to maintain their tenancy. We need to ensure this progress is sustainable so councils can plan for the long-term and fund services that prevent people from losing their home in the first place. We know £1bn has been cut from these vital services since 2008.

“The Government has more work to do to restore the funding that has been cut over the past decade and ensure the right services can be sustained in the long-term so everyone can find and keep a home for good. We also need to see a further increase in housing benefit so that it covers the cost of renting privately in all local areas. Without this, it will still be extremely difficult to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place and end rough sleeping by 2024, in line with the Government’s own target.”