On 21 September, the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping published a new report entitled ‘A New Way of Working: Ending Rough Sleeping Together - Progress Report September 2022, which assesses the steps made towards ending rough sleeping in England and considers the impact of the current economic crisis.
The Commission, which is chaired by the former Head of the Civil Service, Lord Bob Kerslake, is made up of an independent group of 36 experts from the health, housing and homelessness sectors, of which Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, is one. It includes people with lived experience, as well as representatives from local and national government.
The Commission’s latest report warns that the cost-of-living crisis could have a ‘catastrophic’ impact on homelessness if the new Prime Minister and her Government do not treat it with the same level of urgency seen at the start of the pandemic.
Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, comments: “I am proud to be a part of The Kerslake Commission, which is a proactive and constructive force for progress, ensuring that the Government’s aim to end rough sleeping in this Parliament can be met. Homeless Link supports the Commission’s new recommendations with their focus on preventing people from losing their homes.
"The cost-of-living crisis, soaring rents and inflation are pushing people’s budgets to breaking point and leaving homelessness services themselves struggling to deliver vital support. While action on energy bills is welcome, this is not the only pressure, and without further Government action, we are headed for a fresh homelessness emergency.
“We need to see a package of support that includes, among other things, an increase in Local Housing Allowance, so that it covers the cheapest third of rents – an intervention that during the pandemic enabled thousands of people to keep up with their rent and stay in their homes. We also call for sufficient and sustainable funding for the homelessness sector, which, in delivering advice, support, accommodation and essential amenities, acts as a lifeline for people who are forced into homelessness, and must be kept afloat.”