St Mungo’s responds to Rough Sleeping Initiative funding news

Tuesday 28 January 2020

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has today announced successful bids for £112m Rough Sleeping Initiative funding.

This funding is part of £422m to help reduce homelessness and rough sleeping announced at the Spending Round in November 2019.

Responding to the news, Dominic Williamson, St Mungo’s Executive Director of Policy and Strategy said:

“This announcement of funding for vital homelessness services is encouraging.

“There has been a very sharp increase in the number of people living, and dying, on the streets over the past ten years and services have been under huge pressure to do more with less.

“We know investment is needed to help more people sleeping rough, and to provide safe, emergency accommodation away from the dangers of the street, which is why this money is so valuable.

“But we also know longer-term support to help people hang on to their accommodation has been eroded over the past decade to the tune of £1 billion, and this new funding will not go nearly far enough to replace the crucial services which have been lost as a result.”

Last year St Mungo’s research revealed a £1bn funding gap in homelessness services and called for a longer term commitment to funding life-saving services. The report showed that council spending on support for single homeless people in England fell by 53% between 2008-9 and 2017-18. This means that local authorities in England are now spending almost £1bn less a year on these vital homelessness services compared to ten years ago.

Williamson continues: “People who have already faced traumatic experiences and set-backs throughout their lives – such as abuse, domestic violence, and family breakdown – are being let down through cuts to vital services. When people sleep rough, they end up being knocked back from life-saving treatment, housing and support just when they need it most.

“The Government must now scale up the investment and guarantee funding for successive years so that services can start to focus once again on supporting people away from the street for good, and help them to avoid homelessness in the first place. This must be underpinned by a genuinely cross-government strategy to plan investment in social housing, welfare support and bring together health and housing services in line with the Government’s own election promise.”

ENDS