On Saturday 5th September, the Government published their long awaited updated rough sleeping strategy: “Ending rough sleeping for good.”
The strategy was signed by eight ministers including those from DLUHC, DWP, Home Office and DHSC, which is hopefully a sign of the cross-departmental approach within. It was informed by a programme of roundtable sessions where Homeless Link was well represented and an advisory board that included our Chief Executive Rick Henderson. The strategy covers a range of areas from emergency interventions to longer-term packages of support.
This is the plan that the Government says will end Rough Sleeping during this Parliament – a commitment which Liz Truss re-endorsed last week in response to our Open Letter to her.
The strategy is organised through four key themes – Prevention, Intervention, Recovery and a Transparent and Joined up System. The strategy also sets out for the first time a clear definition of what the government means by ending rough sleeping, which is that it is prevented wherever possible, and where it does occur it is rare, brief and non-recurrent.
Over the next few weeks, Homeless Link will look in depth at some of the areas: and provide a more detailed critique but for now some of the key announcements are summarised below to provide an overview of the key announcements held within.
£2bn investment over the next three years
This investment in rough sleeping was first announced in the Government’s spending review in October, but is confirmed in the strategy.
Rough Sleeping Initiative
£500m for the Rough Sleeping Initiative over the next three years.
Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme
The Government will invest £200m in the new Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme which will deliver up to 2,400 homes by March 2025, including supported housing and Housing First accommodation. The new accommodation will be aimed at adults experiencing severe multiple disadvantage and specialist accommodation for young people (under 25) who are at risk of, or already experiencing, rough sleeping.
Single Homelessness Prevention Grant
The Government will provide £316m further funding to the Homelessness Prevention Grant to help local authorities support people before they become homeless.
The strategy confirms that the three Government funded Housing First pilots in Liverpool, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands will be extended until 2025, while it will continue to support housing-led and Housing First approaches through the Rough Sleeping Initiative. The Government will also be working with us at Homeless Link to ‘explore the feasibility of a Fidelity Framework to support both existing and future schemes on upholding the seven principles of Housing First and drive a consistent approach across the sector.’
People leaving prison
The Government will invest £550m to support access to accommodation and support for people leaving prison. This includes expanding the Accommodation for Ex-Offenders programme, continuing to expand the number of Approved Premises for high risk offenders and doubling the number of housing specialists in prisons.
Rough Sleeping Drug and Alcohol Treatment Grant
The Government will expand the Rough Sleeping Drug and Alcohol Treatment Grant through an additional investment of £186m. This will expand the number of local authorities who have access to the funding to 83, plus five pan-London projects.
The strategy focuses heavily on the need to join up systems to provide the most effective support to people sleeping rough. This includes ensuring new local Integrated Care Systems take account of the health and social care needs of people sleeping rough and exhausting options ‘within the law’ to support non-UK nationals experiencing rough sleeping.
The Government will also commit £7.3m through the Voluntary, Community and Frontline Sector Grant Programme to enable stronger strategic partnerships between statutory, commissioned and non-commissioned services and increase the capacity and capability of the sector, through training and investment in the workforce.
The strategy recognises the need to better prevent young people from experiencing rough sleeping, with £3.2m funding for 69 local authorities to provide targeted support to young people at risk of sleeping rough and £36m to expand ‘Staying Close’, providing extra support for young people leaving children’s homes.
New ‘trailblazing’ data-led framework
The strategy outlines Government’s plans to roll out a new data-led framework to measure rough sleeping, developed with the Centre for Homelessness Impact. It states that ‘we will have ended rough sleeping when it is prevented where possible, and where it does occur it is rare, brief and non-recurrent.’
Night Shelter Transformation Fund
The strategy commits £10m to the Night Shelter Transformation Fund which will once again be managed by Homeless Link to increase provision of quality single-room provision within the night shelter sector.
Test and Learn programme
£12m will be committed to the Test and Learn programme to trial innovative approaches and test what works in reducing homelessness and rough sleeping.