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The Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI) funding allows councils and their partners to deliver services which reduce rough sleeping and improve local responses.  Unlike previous years where funding has been granted annually, this year sees a move to a multi-year settlement providing much needed stability to service providers.  And this time round, more than ever before, local authorities (LAs) are expected to involve their local voluntary sector in designing and producing their RSI proposals.  

This joint approach to RSI planning is underway in many areas and we are keen that our members across the country are engaged and involved in the process. We understand the challenges that working in partnership can bring but this is a crucial moment to build on the strengths and successes of Everyone In to develop local homelessness provision moving forward.

The homelessness sector is continually innovative: seeking creative and improved ways of delivering services and overcoming the toughest challenges. Providers of services, whether commissioned, non-commissioned, faith based or community based may have important ideas and contributions to help shape how rough sleeping is responded to locally. It is therefore a crucial time to ensure that your organisation can share ideas, expertise and insights to help shape local proposals for the next 3 years.  

What you need to know about RSI 2022-25

If you are a voluntary sector organisation that’s had limited involvement in RSI planning for your area so far, here are a few key points about RSI 2022-25:

  • All  LAs (and also combined authority areas and groups of LA working together) have been invited to submit applications by 25th February 2022 ( extended from 4th February 2022)
  • Submissions will need to propose three year local programmes with specific targets to reduce rough sleeper numbers.
  • LAs are expected to review their current rough sleeping responses and propose activities across these four areas:

Prevention - Activities to stop people sleeping rough for the first time for example, navigators or resettlement roles working with people leaving prison, those being discharged from hospital or young people leaving care.

Intervention - Support for those currently sleeping rough to move off the streets such as outreach services.

Recovery - Support for those who have slept rough to ensure they do not return to the streets such as specialist accommodation and support as part of a pathway off the streets.

Systems Support - Systems and structures to embed change and monitor progress such as strong partnership fora with voluntary & faith-based organisations and people with lived experience.

  • Importantly services for people with restricted eligibility due to their immigration status can be included as part of RSI plans. Examples of potential activities to support this group mentioned in the guidance include employing specialist support workers, funding for faith and community sector organisations who may be able to provide longer-term support/interventions through family placements with support, immigration and legal services to support regularisation of status and translation services.
  • As well as an application form and submission of a ‘high level’ project plan, a key element of the process has been the completion of a self-assessment pro-forma. This should have explicitly mapped the organisations and partners the LA has worked with on the self-assessment to ensure that co-production is underway.

What can you do if you haven’t yet been approached by your LA to get involved?

If you are a voluntary sector organisation with ideas of how to have an impact on rough sleeping in your local area, it’s important to get involved over the next few weeks. If you’re not involved already, get in touch with your LA and ask them about their co-production process, the completion of their self-assessment and the development of their 3 year plans. Find out how you can best contribute your insights and ideas.

Homeless Link’s Team of Partnership Managers work across the country to improve partnership working between the voluntary and statutory sectors. Your local Partnership Manager may be able to help in developing relationships between your organisation and the LA and with other homelessness service providers if this is needed. 

This process will shape how homelessness services are funded and delivered in your locality over the next three years. So if you only do one thing this week, make sure you reach out to your local authority and ask to be involved.

For more information check out our resources on partnerships and systems change including guidance on working strategically with local authorities. Come along to our next webinar on 20th January focussing on different approaches to supporting non-UK nationals which might also be helpful in informing RSI proposals.