Dealing with homelessness
Our first priority on homelessness is to deal with rough sleeping. In June 2010 we established a cross-government working group on homelessness, bringing together ministers from 8 government departments. The group works to help rough sleepers, and those at risk of homelessness, to stay off the streets.
Figures published on 25 February 2014 show a total of 2,414 people sleeping out across England on any given night. This is the fourth annual statistical release following the introduction of revised guidance on evaluating the extent of rough sleeping.
We are giving £400 million to local councils and voluntary sector partners to spend on homeless prevention between 2011 and 2015. This will provide, for example:
- deposits to help people rent properties in the private rented sector
- mediation services to help resolve family tensions in the home which might otherwise lead to a member of the family leaving home
On 21 December 2011 we announced a further £18.5 million funding for local councils to prevent homelessness. This will help local councils ensure nobody is turned away without clear and useful advice when they’re most in need. This is on top of the £12.5 million that we’re providing to Crisis to help find stable private rented accommodation for single homeless people, including priority groups such as recovering drug users and ex-offenders.
We’re investing an additional £1.7 million in a new scheme to support local councils to deliver a Gold Standard homelessness prevention service. The peer-led support scheme will provide a host of free training and support to help council homelessness teams learn from each other to deliver the best possible service. It will be delivered by the National Practitioner Support Service hosted by Winchester City Council and supported by the National Homelessness Advice Service. The scheme formally open for applications on 1 May 2013.
The London No Second Night Out pilot is aimed at those new to rough sleeping in London. It’s run by the Greater London Authority with initial funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). It has a 24-hour phoneline - 0870 383 3333 - so that the public can report someone sleeping rough who can then be referred to an assessment hub for help. In August 2012, DCLG announced an extra £3.5 million to help extend the No Second Night Out initiative to 8 more areas across the country:
- Great Yarmouth
- North Devon
We’re providing £20 million to Homeless Link for a new homelessness transition fund to help voluntary sector frontline services. The funding will also support communities to introduce initiatives such as No Second Night Out nationwide. The first payments from the fund were announced on 19 December 2011, giving out £8 million to 41 projects across England.
If people see someone they suspect is sleeping rough, they can use the Homelessness help map to find contact details of their local outreach team. We’re also in the process of developing a national rough sleeping ‘reporting line’.
On 17 September 2012 the government published its disability strategy. The strategy includes a commitment to create a new capital fund, worth £200 million over 5 years from 2013, for specialist housing for older and disabled people.
We have also given new duties to local councils in the Draft Care and Support Bill to make sure that care and support is not interrupted before a person’s needs are reassessed. This should help more disabled people to move to the home of their choice.