A radical new package of measures to help tackle homelessness and ensure there is a strong safety net in place for the most vulnerable people in society has been announced today (17 December 2015) by Communities Minister Marcus Jones.
maintaining and protecting homelessness prevention funding for local authorities, through the provisional local government finance settlement totalling £315 million by 2019 to 2020
increasing central government funding for homelessness programmes to £139 million over the Spending Review period
a commitment to work with homelessness organisations and across departments to consider options, including legislation, to prevent more people from becoming homeless
£40 million from the Department of Health to refurbish hostels and provide low cost shared accommodation for young people at risk of homelessness
£30 million extra to councils to give them more control and flexibility over homelessness budgets by devolving the funding for managing temporary accommodation from 2017 to 2018
a £5 million fund to the 25 local authorities facing the greatest pressures in moving people out of temporary accommodation and into a settled home
Marcus Jones said:
We are committed to helping the most vulnerable people in our society. The protection of the Homelessness Prevention Grant in the Local Government Finance Settlement shows our continued commitment to tackling homelessness.
Statutory homelessness acceptances are now less than half the 2003 to 2004 peak but we are determined to ensure that anybody who needs help gets it.
We have made over £500 million available since 2010, which has prevented nearly a million people becoming homeless. We are committed to build on this over the next four years and work with the sector to do all we can to prevent homelessness.
Today’s announcement of the protection of the Homelessness Prevention Grant, builds on the Spending Review commitment of £139 million over the next 4 years for central government funding to tackle homelessness.
On top of this investment, today the Communities Minister confirmed that he will work with homelessness organisations and across government departments to explore options, including legislation, to prevent more people from facing a homelessness crisis in the first place.
In addition the government has today announced a new £5 million fund that will help 25 councils facing the greatest pressure in temporary accommodation.
Communities Minister Marcus Jones continued:
Time spent in temporary accommodation ensures no family is without a roof over their head.
And the number of households living in temporary accommodation is still significantly lower now than the peak in 2005, but we recognise that many councils still face significant challenges.
This funding will help alleviate some of the immediate pressures and allow those councils that most need it the breathing space to innovate and focus on preventing people becoming homeless in the first place.
The government is also giving local authorities more control and flexibility over homelessness budgets by devolving the funding for managing temporary accommodation.
From 2017 to 2018 £10 million extra a year is being allocated to areas under the most pressure, to give them more flexibility and choice in how they respond.
The Department of Health will shortly be announcing the successful bids for the £40 million Homeless Change and Platform for Life programmes. Across the country this money will be used to refurbish hostel accommodation and to help young people into housing, training and education to help them break the cycle of homelessness and move towards independence.
DCLG will work with local authorities and the voluntary sector in the New Year to shape options to increase the number of people who are prevented from becoming homeless.
The local authorities that will benefit from the new £5 million fund are listed below:
Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Birmingham, Brent, Bromley, Brighton and Hove, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham Haringey, Hounslow , Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Luton, Newham, Redbridge, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth and Westminster
Councils will be able to bid for up to £200,000. All funding must be spent within this financial year.