Alongside significant announcements on housebuilding, the Chancellor used his Budget today to launch a new taskforce dedicated to tackling the rise in rough sleeping; £28 million of funding for Housing First, an innovative approach to tackling homelessness; £20m for private rented sector access and support; and improvements to Universal Credit.
St Mungo’s Chief Executive Howard Sinclair said: “There is much to welcome in this Budget.
“With rough sleeping rising across the country, we have been calling for a new strategy to tackle homelessness. I welcome the opportunity to work with the taskforce to end the national scandal of rough sleeping altogether.
“We are also pleased to see a number of changes to Universal Credit that St Mungo’s had been calling for, particularly the removal of the seven day waiting period and the extension of the repayment period for advances to 12 months.
“The number of people sleeping rough in England has more than doubled over the last five years, so the size of the challenge should not be underestimated.
“New and innovative approaches, such as Housing First, have a role to play in tackling homelessness. St Mungo’s is the largest provider of Housing First in England, with nine services in different locations. We are seeing that this model works well for some people and are happy to share our learning. As such, we support the government’s intention to further pilot Housing First on a larger scale as part of the pathway to help people off the streets.
“However, supported housing, like hostels, remains the backbone of homelessness provision in this country and helps tens of thousands of people escape the streets and rebuild their lives each year. After more than two years, the future funding for these crucial services is still in limbo.
“I look forward to working with the government and other stakeholders to clarify this issue as well as develop a wider national strategy to prevent and tackle homelessness in all its forms.”