New rough sleeping strategy must mark a turning point in tackling rough sleeping
• Today, the Government has announced a £100 million plan to end rough sleeping by 2027
• St Mungo’s Chief Executive Howard Sinclair believes this strategy must mark a turning point in tackling rough sleeping
• Investment in outreach, health services and new models of emergency accommodation are welcomed
• St Mungo’s is calling for the Government to go further when it comes to providing appropriate long term housing
St Mungo’s has welcomed the Government’s new rough sleeping strategy as a potential “turning point” in meeting its manifesto pledge to end rough sleeping by 2027.
St Mungo’s, a leading provider of rough sleeper outreach, hostels and recovery services, has been calling for a long-term commitment to end rough sleeping as part of its two year Stop the Scandal campaign. It wants to see more long-term solutions to help people rebuild their lives away from the street for good, especially when it comes to providing enough stable, safe and affordable housing.
Howard Sinclair, St Mungo’s Chief Executive, said: “Rough sleeping is harmful, dangerous and dehumanising and we share the Government’s aim that no one should have to sleep rough. This strategy is a really important first step towards meeting the Government’s 2027 target to end rough sleeping and shows they are serious about understanding the problem and getting the right support to people at the right time.
“St Mungo’s looks forward to working with the Government to make sure this new rough sleeping strategy marks a turning point in tackling rough sleeping in our country.
“After campaigning for a new rough sleeping strategy with our Stop the Scandal campaign, St Mungo’s has been pleased to support the development of the strategy. As a member of the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel, I am encouraged that the Government has taken on board many of its recommendations. I welcome the initial investment in outreach, in health services for people who sleep rough and in new models of emergency accommodation to help people before they reach the street. It’s also good to see that steps will be taken to meet the specific needs of different groups, including women, non-UK nationals and LGBT people who sleep rough.
“Since 2010 the number of people sleeping rough in England has risen by 169%. Over that time the number of people dying on the streets has also increased.
“Tragically, for too many people, rough sleeping costs them their life and so the commitment to ensure more reviews when someone dies while rough sleeping is also really important.
“Throughout this process I have been clear that this needs to be a truly cross-government effort and offer long-term solutions to help people rebuild their lives away from the street for good, especially when it comes to providing enough stable, safe and affordable housing.”
St Mungo’s is one of a number of housing and homelessness organisations on the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel that informed the strategy, and who have today issued a joint statement in response to its publication:
“This strategy is a significant step towards the government’s goal of ending rough sleeping by 2027, which will make a real difference to people’s lives. As members of the Advisory Panel, we welcome the new funding commitment for dedicated outreach teams and for emergency bed spaces, while the announcement of nationwide trials of a ‘somewhere safe to stay’ duty and the review of the vagrancy act have the potential to pave the way for desperately needed reforms, preventing people sleeping rough.
“However, for the strategy to work, the government must also set out bold, cross-departmental plans to tackle the root causes of all forms of homelessness, and prevent it from happening in the first place. This must include plans to build significantly more social housing, to foster greater security for renters, to ensure people have access to benefits and other support they need to help them keep their homes. We also need to see a reversal of policies that leave migrants homeless and destitute, and healthcare, mental health and substance misuse services that are available and truly accessible to those who need it.
“To end rough sleeping by 2027, the government must build on today’s welcome announcement and set out plans to prevent homelessness from occurring in the first place. The ambitious target that the government has set itself will only be achieved if it is equally bold on addressing the policies that cause rough sleeping.”
Notes to Editors:
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