The Prime Minister has announced an extra £236 million to help get people off the streets and appointed an independent adviser to lead an urgent review into the causes of rough sleeping.
The new funding will go towards offering Housing First style ‘move on’ accommodation for up to 6,000 rough sleepers and those at immediate risk of rough sleeping, to give them stability and certainty over the long-term.
Dame Louise Casey has been appointed to undertake a review into rough sleeping that will provide the Government with advice on additional action required to end rough sleeping within this Parliament.
Dame Louise has decades of experience both in the rough sleeping sector and within Government and is excellently placed to provide Government with advice on what is needed to end rough sleeping.
Adam Holloway MP will also be appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Robert Jenrick with specific responsibility for rough sleeping.
This announcement comes ahead of the publication of new annual figures on the numbers of rough sleepers, and before a visit by the Prime Minister to a homelessness charity.
Speaking ahead of a visit to a homelessness charity, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
It is simply unacceptable that we still have so many people sleeping on the streets, and I am absolutely determined to end rough sleeping once and for all.
Today I’ve announced extra funding to help thousands more people get off the streets, and I have appointed Dame Louise Casey as an adviser to undertake an urgent review into the causes of rough sleeping and provide expert advice on vital next steps.
We must tackle the scourge of rough sleeping urgently, and I will not stop until the thousands of people in this situation are helped off the streets and their lives have been rebuilt.
The new funding will bring suitable housing forward by acquiring new units, refurbishing existing accommodation units, and leasing private rented sector properties specifically for those who are rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping.
Dame Louise will report to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. She will consider as part of the urgent review the links between 24-hour street activity and rough sleeping and how best we can support this group. It will also look into those struggling with drug and alcohol misuse, and those with physical and mental health issues.
The appointment of Dame Louise and the new funding are the latest measures to support rough sleepers.
The Government has already committed £437 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in 2020/21. This includes more than £112 million last year to fund services for people sleeping rough through the Rough Sleeping Initiative. This funding will be used by councils to provide up to 6,000 beds and 2,500 staff over the next year.
This new action also forms part of a wider strategy to tackle all forms of homelessness. The Government is already investing £1.2 billion to tackle homelessness, and 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.
This comes ahead of the publication of the annual rough sleeping statistics this morning – showing how many people were counted or estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night.
Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
I’m determined that we end rough sleeping in this Parliament, meeting our moral obligation to support the most vulnerable in society.
We will be bringing together housing, addiction, mental health and the criminal justice system as never before to tackle this social ill from every angle. The coordinated effort that we will now pursue, beginning with this review, builds on the progress we have made in recent years, reducing the number of people sleeping on the streets.
Dame Louise Casey said:
I am pleased to accept this commission from the Prime Minister and the Housing Secretary. Homelessness, and within that rough sleeping, is something that causes misery so I hope that I will be able to help the Government and the country expedite action on this issue.