Cuts risk trapping more people in homelessness

Survey of 500 homeless services shows rising demand, as cuts hit number of homeless people moving on to homes and jobs.

Research published today by Homeless Link indicates that the average day centre is now seeing a quarter more people a day than they were in 2010. While on any one night 80% of accommodation services surveyed say they have no empty beds for new homeless people.

As well as running at full capacity, six out of every ten projects also had their budgets cut in 2011. With services facing an average cut of 15% to their funding, the research highlights the impact this is having on both homeless people and local communities.

Fewer people moving on to homes and jobs

  • Of the 288 services who had seen their funding cut, 44% said fewer clients were moving into jobs and 38% said fewer were moving out of services and into housing
  • The reported availability of services to help clients settle into long-term housing has decreased
  • The single biggest issue services said they faced was the a lack of local housing for clients to move into.

Impact on the wider community

  • Of the 288 services who had seen their funding cut, 52% said they had seen an increase in rough sleeping as a result, while over 40% reported an increase in anti-social behaviour and street drinking.

Less help for new homeless people

  • 79 accommodation services closed in 2011
  • In the last two years the sector has lost 2,206 bed spaces
  • The number of paid professionals working in services fell by an estimated 11% in 2011.

Commenting on the findings Matt Harrison, Interim Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said:

"These findings make unsettling reading. In hard times, we might not be able to stop people from losing their homes but we should be able to help them get back on their feet.

"Cuts are causing fewer homeless people to get jobs and homes. This in turn is blocking-up services, reducing the help available for new homeless people and impacting on local communities.

"Our message is simple - don’t cut further. The more people who become trapped in a cycle of homelessness, the worse it will be for everyone.

"We call upon local communities to join our campaign and take a step to end rough sleeping by protecting funding for critical services."

More than half (55%) of all projects have been informed of further cuts in local authority funding for services in their area for 2011/12. Homeless Link has launched a campaign called ‘Take a Step’, which aims to encourage everyone to play their part in ending rough sleeping.

The ‘Survey of Needs and Provision’, which charts annual changes in homelessness, was carried out in November 2011 and involved 500 accommodation and day centre projects in England.

Download the full report