32 leading homelessness charities have signed a letter to the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak , raising concerns that the Government is not on track to meet its target of ending rough sleeping in England by 2024.
Homeless Link CEO Rick Henderson said:
“Rishi Sunak committed to ‘ending rough sleeping once for and all’ during his leadership campaign just last year. But all indicators show rough sleeping is rising fast, while homelessness services are struggling with extreme financial pressures caused by historic funding issues and prolonged inflation. Clearly urgent action is needed to protect services. Without it, people will continue to experience the trauma of sleeping rough on our streets.”
Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, says:
“The government made a commitment to end rough sleeping by 2024, and yet, just a year away from that deadline, we are seeing a 74% increase in people sleeping rough on our streets, compared to 2010. At the same time, providers of homelessness services are facing increased pressure from all sides. While the stark rise in living costs is affecting those using services, the steep rise in inflation is impacting cost of running services. These cost pressures mean additional, targeted support is needed now more than ever.
“Housing associations have always been a key part of the solution to homelessness, providing vital homeless services such as hostels, supported housing and prevention services to help people stay in their homes. However to protect these services we need the government to invest an additional £1.6bn per year in ring-fenced support funding for supported housing and homelessness services.
“Support to ensure people are not spending the night on the streets, is only one part of the answer. To make good on their promise and end homelessness and rough sleeping for good, the government must put in place a long term, national plan to increase social and supported housing to ensure low income people can access homes they can afford, and strengthen the welfare system so that those who rely on it have enough money to live on.”
Stephen Bell, CEO at the charity Changing Lives, said:
“Inflation continues to have a severe impact on our services and in turn on the people that we support. Rising costs for wages, rent and the continued pressure of high energy costs, alongside very few local authorities giving inflationary increases to support contracts mean that we are having to look at what we can provide and potentially reduce our services. This means that people already struggling to make ends meet and find a home will have less access to the support they need to move on.”
David Smith, CEO at Oasis Community Housing said:
"Some of the homelessness contracts that we operate through local authorities haven’t had inflationary increases in years. That means that we have to absorb these costs, which is simply not sustainable.
"Cost of living pressures are adding tens of thousands of pounds per year to our costs. It places some of our services at serious risk, and these are services which people facing homelessness depend upon."