Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has welcomed the Government’s latest pledge of £125 million to support survivors of domestic abuse in rebuilding their lives in a safe environment.
Announced this week (15 February) by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the extra funding aims to ensure safe accommodation spaces, such as refuges and shelters, can provide survivors with vital support services including healthcare, social workers and benefits.
The funding will be allocated as a un-ringfenced grant to councils across England, who will then be responsible for deciding how the funding is spent to best benefit those in their local community.
Jill Thursby, Women and Domestic Abuse Lead at St Mungo’s, said: “It is encouraging to see the Government committing extra support to survivors of domestic abuse, as we know from our clients that abuse and unsafe home environments are a leading cause of homelessness.
“This extra housing and support funding will prevent people from becoming homeless after escaping from abusive households, and offer those already sleeping rough a safe route to recovery.
“And it is good to see that local authorities are being given the flexibility to spend the money on the most-needed services in their area.”
A key recommendation from The Kerslake Commission was that an integrated strategy that covers all areas including housing, public health and domestic abuse, and brings the responsible Government departments together with a shared focus, is crucial to ending rough sleeping for good.
It is important that this funding is not considered in isolation, but as part of a wider strategy on homelessness prevention and St Mungo’s would urge the new Minister for Levelling Up to ensure that a cross-government strategy is implemented as soon as possible to achieve the shared aim of ending rough sleeping.
“We also welcome the Government consultation on removing the Local Connection Tests, which can prevent survivors from applying to social housing if they do not have a connection to the local area.
“Its removal would give people who have experienced abuse the opportunity to leave the community if they feel unsafe, and more choice in where they rebuild their lives.”
A second consultation focuses on overhauling current rules that make it hard for survivors to remove their abusers from joint tenancies, which can trap people in abusive households or leave them vulnerable to homelessness.