Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has welcomed the Government’s commitment to spend at least £630m a year tackling homelessness and rough sleeping for the next three years.
The money – announced in the Spending Review today (27 October) which covers the period until March 2025 – equates to £1.9 billion in total and will be accompanied by £109 million capital investment over the same period.
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak also announced funding which will be used to provide drug and alcohol treatment for people sleeping rough and £200 million a year by 2024-25 for reoffending initiatives including delivery of transitional accommodation for prison leavers and treatment for substance misuse with the Government say it is committed to a “cross-government approach to address the drivers of rough sleeping”.
St Mungo’s Chief Executive Steve Douglas CBE said: “We are pleased to see that tackling homelessness and ending rough sleeping is still a priority for the Government and welcome the announcement of the three-year funding settlement which we called for in our submission to the Spending Review and was one of the key recommendations of the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping.
“As with any major funding announcement we await the specific breakdown and more information about how the money will be allocated and we will be liaising with Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for that detail.
“Hopefully the multi-year settlement will give local authorities the confidence to invest in more of the longer term accommodation and wrap around support which we know from our clients is a key element of ending rough sleeping and supporting their recovery.”
Also announced today was:
- multi-year funding to enable local authorities to support the ambition to level up communities across the country
- a recommitment of investing £11.5 billion through the Affordable Homes Programme (2021-26), (£7.5 billion is over the spending review period) to build up to 180,000 new affordable homes.
Following the cut to the Universal Credit uplift last month the Government has announced measures aimed at easing the financial burden on people on low incomes who are working.
It is increasing the living wage to £9.50 an hour and reducing the Universal Credit taper from 63% to 55% meaning that now for every £1 claimants earn over their work allowance, their Universal Credit will be reduced by 55p not 63p which will come into effect by 1 December.
Mr Douglas continued: “It is positive that homelessness is now being recognised as an issue which cuts across departments.
“We urge the Government to utilise its Inter-Ministerial Group on rough sleeping to drive forward its ambition to end rough sleeping by the end of this parliament. And that the new Secretary of Statement ensures that homelessness remains a priority for his department which is responsible for leading the Government’s ‘Levelling up’ agenda.
“Ministers will also need to keep a careful eye on the flow of people coming to our streets as winter approaches, the cost of living increases and the ending of the pandemic support measures take effect.
“If the support announcement in today’s budget are not sufficient we could yet see a dramatic increase in the number of people at risk of, and becoming, homeless over the coming months.”