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Funding to tackle rough sleeping will ‘only scratch the surface’

·2-min read
<p>Rough sleeping in England is up 52 percent compared to 2010. </p> (Getty images)

Rough sleeping in England is up 52 percent compared to 2010.

(Getty images)

The government has announced over £200 million in extra funding to help rough sleepers off the streets and into permanent housing over the next year but homelessness charity Crisis says the support falls short.

Councils in England will receive £203 million funding to help tackle homelessness, compared to the £112 million provided last year.

The money will support projects like shelters and specialist mental health and addiction services. It will be used by councils, charities and other local groups to fund up to 14,500 bed spaces and 2,700 support staff.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government also announced that its Rough Sleeping Initiative has reduced rough sleeping by 32 percent over the four years it has been running, compared to areas that did not take part.

However, the chief executive of homelessness charity Crisis, Jon Sparkes, said the funding an”will only scratch the surface”, adding “we urgently need long-term solutions, where people are supported into safe and permanent homes.”

Official figures suggest that rough sleeping has fallen by a third over a year, with 2,688 people on the streets on one night in autumn 2020, down 37 percent since 2019.

However, the number sleeping rough has gone up by 52 percent since 2010.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “At the beginning of the pandemic we took swift and decisive action to bring rough sleepers in from the streets and settled them into longer-term accommodation in record numbers.

“That work continues, the results are clear and are a huge credit to all involved.”

Calling for more comprehensive action, Mr Sparkes said: “Efforts over the last year to get people off our streets, into safe accommodation and connected to support have been vital. This funding to continue that work is welcome, ​and will help local authorities continue to make life changing interventions.”

However, he added: “For people with multiple support needs who require specialist programmes, like Housing First, to help them out of homelessness for good, this announcement falls short.

“Without such sustained support, those helped off the streets today risk returning to them tomorrow.”

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