Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s welcomes the Government’s ambitious new rough sleeping strategy ‘Ending Rough Sleeping for Good’.
The new strategy, published on 3 September 2022, commits £2 billion over the next three years to intensify efforts to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.
The strategy has a strong focus on prevention and tackling the root causes of homelessness stating that: “no one in our society should have to suffer the injustice of living a life on the streets”.
Interim CEO of St Mungo’s Rebecca Sycamore said:
“As a leading homelessness charity we know first-hand how important it is to focus on the root causes of rough sleeping in order to help break that cycle. We deliver a huge range of services to support people out of homelessness and into rebuilding their lives and so welcome this new strategy.
“A main aspect of our own strategy is delivering services around the prevention of homelessness and so measures to help achieve that are particularly welcomed. It is also good to see that this is a joined up piece of work with support from across Government departments – again this is something that we have been calling for for some time. Only by working together will we be able to make a real step change in ensuring no one has to sleep on our streets.”
The strategy commits to delivering:
- Better prevention, so that fewer people sleep rough in the first place
- Swift and effective intervention, so that people who sleep rough receive tailored support
- Extra help to aid recovery, with services working together to help people off the streets
- A more transparent and joined up system, learning from best practice to provide a world-leading response to rough sleeping.
Rebecca continued: “For the first time, the strategy defines what successfully ending rough sleeping would look like: that rough sleeping should be prevented where possible, but that where it does occur it should be rare, brief, and non-recurring.
“We have also consistently advocated that rough sleeping needs long-term solutions, particularly through longer term funding. The Government has recognised this, announcing new funding for the Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme, which will help people to recover from homelessness over time and to rebuild their lives.”
St Mungo’s further welcomes the strategy’s whole system approach to tackling the root cause of rough sleeping, including a focus on strengthened partnerships, improved employment support, and investment in mental health and drug and alcohol provision.
“If the comprehensive vision laid out in this strategy is followed through across Government, and backed up with the funding and partnership working required, then we have a real chance to end rough sleeping which the government committed to do so by 2024”.
Outside of this strategy, the Government must take urgent action for a more robust response to the cost of living crisis, to ensure that economic conditions do not overwhelm our shared ambition to end rough sleeping.