Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has urged the Government to act on the recommendations made in the interim report of the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping.
Today (27 July) the report entitled ‘When We Work Together – Learning the Lessons’ has been published.
The independent Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping, chaired by the former head of the civil service Lord Bob Kerslake, was convened in March 2021 to examine the lessons from the public health emergency response to rough sleeping during the pandemic, and to understand how the significant progress made can be embedded in the longer term.
It is made up of an influential group of 21 experts including parliamentarians, political leaders, the health, housing and homelessness sector practitioners and people with lived experience.
The Commission analysed the cross-sector response to Covid-19, and the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ initiative, launched in March 2020, which saw local authorities directed to move people who were sleeping rough into emergency accommodation to protect them from the virus.
St Mungo’s provided the secretariat support to the Commission with its Chief Executive Steve Douglas CBE proving advice and support to Lord Kerslake and the Advisory Board.
The report makes 21 recommendations for the priorities and approaches needed to end rough sleeping targeted at the 2021 Comprehensive Spending Review.
The key points of which are:
- The Government must capture and capitalise on the gains that were made as a result of its ‘Everyone In’ policy and the partnership working which flowed from it as a matter of urgency, and maintain the necessary funding
- The cross-sector, cross-departmental, momentum initiated by central Government at the start of the pandemic, married with the additional support and resourcing provided since, has clearly demonstrated that street homelessness can be ended
- Future funding streams made available to local authorities must be more flexible and have longevity if the prevention and long term support measures needed to end rough sleeping are to be effectively and appropriately implemented as determined by local need in a ‘spend to save’ approach
- That street homelessness is treated as a public health and housing priority which requires a cross-Governmental approach with co-ordination on both strategy and delivery, at all levels
- To prevent more homelessness and rough sleeping in the future we need to maintain the £20 uplift in Universal Credit and the change to local housing allowance, and
- Investing in better and more permanent solutions such as the Housing First initiative alongside the additional spend in temporary accommodation, with wrap around support is vital.
St Mungo Chief Executive Steve Douglas CBE said: “We at St Mungo’s are really pleased with the recommendations which have been presented in the Interim Report of the Kerslake Commission.
“We are proud to have been able to support its important work as the secretariat and we thank all the experts involved who have been so generous with their time and expertise, to Lord Kerslake for the chairing, and especially to the people who have experience of homelessness and who shared it with us.
“The report is comprehensive and thorough, and it reflects our own experience having managed 30 hotels during the pandemic and provided support to an additional 4,000 people on top of the 3,500 we provide support to each night.
“We saw first-hand the difference that cross-party, cross-sector, cross-departmental collaboration made during this time – and we know it saved lives.
“We fully support the Commission’s recommendations and urge the Government to take them forward. If they do, it will go a long way towards achieving our shared aim of ending street homelessness.”
The Commission’s final report will be published in September and will make an ambitious call for a longer term strategic response based on the principles that underpinned Everyone In.
To find out more about the work of the Commission visit www.commissiononroughsleeping.org