On Sunday 24 May the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP announced “radical plans to provide thousands of long-term, safe homes for vulnerable rough sleepers taken off the streets during the pandemic.”
The announcement said that “this ambitious commitment – the biggest of its kind since the Government’s Rough Sleepers Initiative began – will be backed by £160 million this year and will support many of the thousands of rough sleepers currently housed in emergency accommodation to move on to more sustainable, long-term housing.”
This will include accelerating plans for the £381 million announced for rough sleeping services in the Budget – now extended to £433 million – to ensure that 6,000 new housing units will be put into the system, with 3,300 of these becoming available in the next 12 months.
The plans are being pulled together by the Rough Sleeping COVID-19 Response Taskforce, led by Dame Louise Casey, which will be “bringing together local government, charities, faith groups, public sector partners and businesses in order to use the coronavirus crisis and current successful work so far in bringing ‘everyone in’ as a catalyst towards ending rough sleeping for good.”
St Mungo’s has welcomed this as a step in the right direction while recognising the huge challenge this is, and continuing to press for our five No Going Back campaign calls.
Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive, said:
St Mungo’s has been part of the national effort to help thousands of people off the streets to keep them safe, and we’re currently supporting around 1,600 people in hotel rooms.
The Government’s announcement is a welcome step in the right direction, recognising as it does the need to urgently provide the safe and secure housing – and vital support – that people need to rebuild their lives away from the streets for good. We look forward to working with Dame Louise Casey, the taskforce and local partners to put plans into action so that no one has to go back to the streets, while recognising the huge challenge this is.
We will continue to press the Government on the further measures required to ensure everyone gets the support they need, and that no one is left sleeping rough during this public health emergency, or beyond.