Burnley MP backing long-term plans to end rough sleeping for good

Radical plans have been unveiled to provide thousands of long-term, safe homes for vulnerable rough sleepers taken off the streets during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 12:30 pm

This ambitious commitment is the biggest of its kind since the government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative began.

It will be backed by £160 million this year to support many of the thousands of rough sleepers currently housed in emergency accommodation, to move on to more sustainable, long-term housing.  

"During this crisis the Government, local authorities and charities have all worked together to make sure that we eliminated rough sleeping by providing emergency accommodation, but we need to build on it.

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The Government, local authorities and charities are working together to find a longer term solution to rough sleeping in the country. Photo: Getty

"We now have a unique opportunity to end rough sleeping for good and this announcement is the first step to a long-term solution,” said Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham.

The funding will ensure that 6,000 new housing units will be put into the system, with 3,300 of these becoming available in the next 12 months.  

In addition to accelerating this capital spend for investment in housing stock, the government is also increasing the revenue support of the total programme by 37% to make sure that the rough sleepers have the support they need to stay off the streets for good. 

Once in their new home, rough sleepers will be supported by specialist staff to access the help they need such as support for mental health or substance abuse problems, so they can rebuild their lives, move towards training and work, and remain off the streets for long term.

The plans are being pulled together by the Rough Sleeping Covid-19 Response Taskforce, led by Dame Louise Casey, bringing together local government, charities, faith groups, public sector partners and businesses in order to use the coronavirus crisis and current successful work so far in bringing ‘everyone in’ as a catalyst towards ending rough sleeping.  

“The goal is ambitious. Together we want to do everything possible to ensure that vulnerable people who were sleeping rough and have come inside during this pandemic, some for the first time in a very long time, do not go back to the streets” said Dame Louise Casey.  

As part of this commitment, Homes England, in partnership with Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has pledged to work hand-in-hand with leading housing associations and local authorities to fast-track thousands of units of longer-term accommodation for rough sleepers needed now. 

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said:   “This government wants to end rough sleeping for good, and we now have a real opportunity to deliver on this moral mission. I’m backing this effort with £433 million to fast-track the longer-term and safe accommodation needed to ensure as few rough sleepers as possible return to the streets.

"This is an unprecedented commitment – the most ambitious of its kind and the single biggest injection of specialist accommodation since the rough sleepers initiative began.”

Over the coming weeks, the Government will work in partnership with councils, local leaders and the property sector to ensure this new generation of housing for some of the most vulnerable in society is delivered as quickly as possible and in the most cost-effective way.  Interim accommodation is also being committed by the YHA, the YMCA and some universities.

The taskforce will continue to work with partners on this so that nobody has to go back to the streets.

Ministers have also announced a further £6 million for frontline homeless charities to directly support their important, vital work. 

In addition, the Department for Education will be providing more than £700,000 for councils to support care leavers at risk of homelessness and rough sleeping.