The Government today releases its rough sleeping strategy, the first since announcing its commitment to halve the number of people sleeping on the streets by 2022 and to end the problem by 2027.
Responding, housing and homelessness organisations who were part of the strategy’s Rough Sleeping Advisory Group issued a joint statement saying:
“This strategy is a significant step towards the government’s goal of ending rough sleeping by 2027, which will make a real difference to people’s lives. As members of the advisory panel, we welcome the new funding commitment for dedicated outreach teams and for emergency bed spaces, while the announcement of nationwide trials of a ‘somewhere safe to stay’ duty and the review of the vagrancy act have the potential to pave the way for desperately needed reforms, preventing people sleeping rough.
“However, for the strategy to work, the government must also set out bold, cross-departmental plans to tackle the root causes of all forms of homelessness, and prevent it from happening in the first place. This must include plans to build significantly more social housing, to foster greater security for renters, to ensure people have access to benefits and other support they need to help them keep their homes. We also need to see a reversal of policies that leave migrants homeless and destitute, and healthcare, mental health and substance misuse services that are available and truly accessible to those who need it.
“To end rough sleeping by 2027, the government must build on today’s welcome announcement and set out plans to prevent homelessness from occurring in the first place. The ambitious target that the government has set itself will only be achieved if it is equally bold on addressing the polices that cause rough sleeping.”
Responding further Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said:
“Homeless Link welcomes this strategy as a positive starting point setting out a range of initiatives that could make a significant impact on reducing rough sleeping. However, to end rough sleeping for good the Government will need to ensure this plan is built on and prioritises tackling the structural causes of homelessness including action on reducing poverty, urgently addressing the chronic shortage of low cost housing and ensuring an effective welfare safety net.”