Boris pledges £260m to eliminate homelessness and rough sleeping

Boris pledges £260m to eliminate homelessness and rough sleeping

15:03 PM, 23rd December 2019, About 4 years ago 7

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As part of his drive to tackle homelessness, over £260 million has been committed for local authorities to support people who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes. The funding will empower councils across England to provide the best services for local needs, helping those experiencing homelessness in their area to improve their lives and get back on their feet.

Councils can use the funding to employ specialists to provide practical advice to vulnerable people to help ensure they are meeting their rent payments, as well as helping them to find long-term stable accommodation.

Visiting a rough sleeping shelter in London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“It cannot be right in the 21st century that people are homeless or having to sleep on our streets, and this government will work tirelessly to bring this to an end. This new funding is going to help councils provide better support to homeless people, and importantly, prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.

“But we have got to do even more, and we’re committed to expanding rough sleeping and homelessness programmes, and ensuring more integrated working between our local health and housing services.

“I salute the Standard for their campaign on homelessness in London, particularly their vital work in supporting vulnerable women across the capital.”

The Prime Minister has also confirmed the Cold Weather Fund will receive an additional £3 million, taking the total to £13 million, to enhance support available for rough sleepers during the winter period.

This new action forms part of a wider strategy to tackle all forms of homelessness. The government is already investing £1.2 billon to tackle homelessness, and last year introduced ambitious new legislation, the Homelessness Reduction Act to ensure people at risk of becoming homeless get help more quickly, with councils receiving funding to support them in these duties.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said:

“As Communities Secretary, it’s one of my main priorities to ensure that we reduce all forms of homelessness and rough sleeping. That’s why we have announced an additional £260 million funding in homelessness funding – to ensure councils up and down the country provide crucial services tailored to their areas.

“Last year the number of people sleeping rough fell for the first time in several years, and while the government’s interventions are working, there is a great deal more work to do. We’re committed to eliminating rough sleeping by the end of the Parliament.”

Of the money announced today, the first £200 million comes from the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant, introduced in 2017, to lead to a radical change in the way councils were providing support to those at risk of homelessness.

The remaining funding, the £63 million Homelessness Reduction Grant, will go to councils to fulfil their duties under the Homelessness Reduction Act, which came into force last year, to help homeless households into accommodation.

The Act requires public bodies, such as hospitals, prisons and social services, to refer people who may be threatened with homelessness to a housing authority.

Case studies

A number of councils have already used funding from previous rounds of the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant to launch innovative solutions for people with a housing need:

  • Leeds City Council have invested heavily in upfront prevention to reduce the numbers of people becoming homeless in the city, with 5 times as much being spent on preventing homelessness than on temporary accommodation.
  • Rushmoor District Council have invested in 2 support workers to work with families with complex needs to maintain their housing and ensure they do not become homeless.
  • Basildon Council have invested in a ‘Rent Start’ scheme to assist all single homeless people with a housing need find somewhere secure to live.

Further information

Last April the government introduced the Homelessness Reduction Act, the most ambitious reform to homelessness legislation in decades.

Today £263 million has been announced for local authorities to prevent and relieve homelessness in their areas through the Homelessness Reduction Act, including the £200 million Flexible Homelessness Support Grant and the new £63 million Homelessness Reduction Grant.

In August last year the government unveiled its Rough Sleeping Strategy – backed by £100 million – which set out the next steps towards ending rough sleeping for good.

This forms part of a wider strategy to tackle all forms of homelessness, including:

  • investing £1.2 billion to tackle homelessness
  • providing £76 million for the Rough Sleeping Initiative to 246 local authorities – including the 83 areas with the highest number of rough sleepers
  • this year councils are using the investment to create an estimated 2,600 more beds and 750 additional specialist support staff
  • providing £28 million for Housing First pilots in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Liverpool to support vulnerable rough sleepers with complex needs
  • introducing the Homelessness Reduction Act to ensure people at risk of becoming homeless get help more quickly

The Communities Secretary also announced £10 million – extended today by £3 million – for the Cold Weather Fund, which will boost life-saving support for rough sleepers during the cold winter weather.

This government has committed to ending rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament in 2024 – 3 years earlier than the previous commitment.

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Dr Rosalind Beck

17:31 PM, 23rd December 2019, About 4 years ago

They would do better to prevent homelessness in the first place. As we all know, the attack on the PRS is leading to more homelessness. If they changed tack and started working with us rather than against us, there would be reduction in homelessness. The Government is now too blinkered to see that.

Martin Roberts

11:28 AM, 24th December 2019, About 4 years ago

And let us pray they provide shelter rather than give money to Shelter.

Michael Barnes

12:09 PM, 24th December 2019, About 4 years ago

So, once again tackling the symptoms and not the cause.

Robert M

13:24 PM, 24th December 2019, About 4 years ago

Many people on Twitter are pointing out that this is not new money at all, it is simply false news, as all this has already been promised and set aside as part of existing funding settlements. - I don't know the truth or lies of this, but it does sound like the sort of propaganda or spin often touted by governments.


13:34 PM, 24th December 2019, About 4 years ago

Well I'm sleeping a bit roughly, could he tackle that with some sensible policies at the both the demand and provision end?


14:32 PM, 24th December 2019, About 4 years ago

Wonder if he will allow small rooms in private HMO’s to be used again. There’s a few of those empty at the minute🙄. I’d rather sleep in a small warm room than on the street any day.

loretta wight

10:05 AM, 27th December 2019, About 4 years ago

watched the Scottish news , they spoke to 2 homeless women , one had children, they didn't like the houses they had because they were lonely. There are bigger issues . There is a social network of friends on the streets. They are entitled to at least temporary accommodation, yet the streets of Glasgow and other towns are full of homeless beggars. We need more honesty about the situation, throwing money at it is only part of the solution. For example , it seems strange that they pay for organisations to advise on homelessness/evictions yet not pay for their rent arrears or deposits to stop evictions or build more rented houses .

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