St Mungo’s: This is a missed opportunity to alleviate impending homelessness crisis

Leading charity St Mungo’s has described the failure to heed advice from frontline experts aimed at averting a homelessness crisis as a ‘serious error’.

Today (15 March 2023) the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt MP unveiled his Spring Budget but despite calls from across the homelessness sector there was little specific support for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

St Mungo’s has urged the Government to increase Local Housing Allowance which would help those in private rented accommodation to afford their rents. It would also increase the number of properties affordable to people moving on from temporary accommodation such as homelessness hostels.

However, this was not included in today’s announcement.

Reacting to the budget, St Mungo’s Chief Executive, Emma Haddad said: “The number of people sleeping rough in England is increasing, the number of people in temporary accommodation in England is increasing, the number of people seriously at risk of losing their home is increasing, and the number of additional people our teams are seeing end up on the streets because of the cost of living is increasing. But what is not increasing is acknowledgement of the urgency of the situation.

“As one of the leading providers of homelessness services in the country we are seeing the impact of the cost of living crisis daily, and we are deeply concerned. Along with our colleagues across the sector, we gave our expert advice about what should be done to avert an impending homelessness crisis and stop the number of people pushed into homelessness continuing to rise. The failure to include any specific support for homelessness in this budget is a serious error.

“But, whatever comes, St Mungo’s teams will continue to be there every day for those experiencing homelessness.”

The Chancellor did commit to providing £100m to ‘local’ charities to support people struggling with the current cost of living, although further details of the allocation process have yet to be released.

Other measures announced included bringing the cost of energy paid for via pre-payment meters in line with the cost when paid for by direct debit, and a continuation of the domestic energy price cap for the next three months.

In addition the Government announced that the Work Capability Assessment will be abolished which it says will allow people who claim disability benefit to be able to seek work without loss of benefits.

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