Welcome announcement today from Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick MP regarding Government support for rough sleepers:
"The national effort to support vulnerable people, and in particular rough sleepers, through this crisis has been remarkable, protecting thousands of lives. I am hugely grateful to all those involved – in particular the charity workers and volunteers who have contributed so much. I’m proud of all that this country has done to tackle Coronavirus, from the heroic efforts of our NHS and the council staff ensuring vital public services continue to simple acts of kindness that unite neighbours, streets and whole communities in confronting the challenge.
We can’t let this opportunity to end rough sleeping go to waste. We have here a landmark opportunity to ensure that people do not return to a life on the streets and break the cycle of homelessness and rough sleeping for good.
That’s why last week I launched a new £266 million housing fund for vulnerable people, the Next Steps Accommodation Programme, meaning councils and their local partners can apply for funds to cover property costs and support new tenancies for those that have been provided with emergency accommodation during the pandemic. Over half of this funding will be used to provide over 3,000 additional supported homes this year for those currently housed in emergency accommodation, part of our total effort to provide 6,000 longer-term, safe homes for those in need.
This funding builds upon what we have made available since the start of the pandemic - £4.3 billion to help councils to manage the impacts of COVID-19, including £3.7 billion which is not ringfenced, £600 million to support social care and an initial £3.2 million in emergency funding for councils to support vulnerable rough sleepers.
In addition, we’ve tackled the root causes of rough sleeping, supporting those at risk of homelessness with an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system and providing £6 million of emergency funding to provide relief for frontline homelessness charitable organisations. Following a successful bidding process, over 130 charities across England have benefitted from that fund.
Government support for homelessness and rough sleepers now stands at over half a billion pounds this year.
And I am delighted Dame Louise Casey is spearheading our new taskforce with one overriding objective: to ensure that as many people as possible who have been brought in do not return to the streets.
Together we have already achieved so much and together we can end rough sleeping once and for all."