The fund opens for bids today, and will be used over the next 2 years. £25 million is available for accommodation outside London and £30 million in London (£15 million from the Department of Health and £15 million from the Greater London Authority).
The money will be used for 2 types of projects:
the Homeless Change project will provide upgraded hostel accommodation to improve physical and mental health outcomes for rough sleepers and to help reduce A&E attendances
the Platform for Life project will create new low-rent shared accommodation for young people who want to work, but are struggling to hold down a job or attend college because of a lack of stable housing
Public Health Minister Jane Ellison, said:
Having nowhere stable to live, or sleeping on the street, can seriously damage a person’s health. It often leads to significant physical and mental health problems, and without accommodation and support, the chances of recovery are very limited.
Joining up health and housing services can make a massive difference and I’m delighted that these funds have the potential to not only help people get on with their lives, but also to save valuable NHS resources by reducing A&E attendances.
The Department of Health is working with the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as the Greater London Authority and Homes and Communities Agency on the 2015-17 capital programme, which will improve specialist accommodation for people who are homeless or in housing need.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
This new funding is designed to help prevent young people from ever sleeping rough and to ensure hostels are fully equipped and of a good standard for everyone who needs them. Offering young people extra support so they stay in education and on the right track is essential. Nobody should have to call the streets their home, and while we are proud of the decline in entrenched rough sleeping, more needs to be done to stem the flow of people facing homelessness and maintain services needed by some of our most vulnerable Londoners.
The Homes and Communities Agency and the Greater London Authority are now inviting organisations to bid for a share of the £55 million funding.
Andy Rose, Chief Executive of the HCA, said:
Access to appropriate housing based on a stable tenancy is crucial in helping homeless people and those at risk of homelessness rebuild their lives. We are pleased that the Department of Health has again recognised the HCA’s expertise on programme delivery and entrusted us with delivery of this new fund. This programme, coupled with the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund will have significant potential to make a real difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
To qualify for a room, young people will need to commit to a full time apprenticeship, further education, or a job. The room will be provided for up to 2 years, allowing them to get their lives on track and save up for a deposit to rent privately as an employed person.
The latest investment follows a £500 million fund set aside since 2010 to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness, and around £14 million per year over the last three years on new and improved hostel places. A £10 million Homeless Hospital Discharge Fund was also announced in 2013.
Homelessness Minister Kris Hopkins said:
This is good news and adds to the over £500 million worth of funding this Government has invested in preventing homelessness and improving services for those who are without a roof over their heads. Homelessness is a complex issue and people who are at risk are often caught up in other problems such as physical and mental health difficulties and worklessness. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to join up services such as health and housing – and that’s exactly what these projects will help to do.
For more information or to apply to the fund, see the Homelessness Change and Platform for Life Funds 2015 to 2017: prospectus