St Mungo’s looks to the future at a virtual event to reflect on the achievements of the ‘Everyone In’ scheme across London.
“If the political will is there, then rough sleeping can be ended within this parliament.”
Today (Wednesday 23 June) St Mungo’s chief executive Steve Douglas CBE spoke at a virtual webinar organised by the London School of Economics (LSE) to share the charity’s experiences responding to the Covid-19 crisis as a leading provider of homelessness services.
Steve spoke about how St Mungo’s has worked with key local authority partners, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and other homeless charities to support more than 4,000 people into emergency accommodation since the first lockdown, and about our role in shaping future policy and practice around the way we address homelessness and street homelessness in the capital.
Attendees also heard from fellow panellists Hackney Council’s Head of Benefits and Housing Needs Service Jennifer Wynter and Professor Christine Whitehead from LSE, with Steve giving credit to the many partners who have helped deliver the ‘Everyone In’ scheme in London.
This follows an event held yesterday (Tuesday 22 June) by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), where Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick addressed council and charity leaders about the importance of working together to “continue to transform the lives of people sleeping rough on our streets.”
Key points in the discussion were:
- Lack of clarity around supporting non-UK nationals and those with No Recourse to Public Funds living in emergency accommodation.
- The need for a cross-departmental strategy to end rough sleeping which focuses on prevention and support.
For rough sleeping to be seen as a health issue, with local health and homelessness partnerships, plus specialist support and pathways. Reflecting on the success of ‘Everyone In’ and how to maintain momentum, Steve Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: “If the political will is there, and the funding that sits alongside it, then we believe rough sleeping can be ended within this parliament.
“Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, we have seen an unprecedented effort from charities, frontline service providers, health and social services, local and central government, and the GLA, to help people move away from sleeping rough for good.
“The last year has given us power and momentum to bring people in, and provide support, advice and accommodation as needed. This work wasn’t done because of the system, but in spite of it.
“Now, we need rough sleeping to be treated as a health issue, with joint commissioning and working between the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department of Health and Social Care. Speed and effectiveness of response makes such a difference. Going forward, triage and pathway working has to be the right way.
“The Government has made a manifesto commitment to end rough sleeping for good by 2027. We are committed to do everything we can to support this.”
St Mungo’s is providing secretariat support to the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping. An independent commission chaired by Lord Bob Kerslake which aims to understand what worked during the pandemic and what is needed to embed this good practice going forward.
The Kerslake Commission on Rough Sleeping and Homelessness will publish its interim report next month and a final report in September 2021.