22 JUN 2017
Thank you very much for taking the time to email me about rough sleeping.
Homelessness has been one of the factors leading to avoidable tragedies and the government at both national and local level have to play their part in reducing this risk. Earlier this year I met with members of the Torbay's End Street Homelessness Campaign and homelessness is an area in which I would be happy to join you in calling for further action.
I hope the following information on this matter from the Department for Communities and Local Government of interest:
In the 2010-2015 Parliament, significant progress was made in tackling homelessness across the country. £500 million was provided to councils and charities to deal with homelessness and help the most vulnerable in society get their life back on track. This helped to prevent over one million people from becoming homeless.
In December last year, the Prime Minister and Communities Secretary announced the areas set to benefit from new homelessness prevention funding. This consists of £20 million for Homelessness Prevention Trailblazers to pilot new initiatives; £20 million in rough sleeping grants, to provide targeted support for those at imminent risk of sleeping rough or those new to the streets; and £10 million in locally commissioned Social Impact Bonds, to help long-term rough sleepers with the most complex needs.
It is important to recognise that sleeping rough is rarely the result of a housing crisis alone, and many rough sleepers and homeless people have complex needs, such as mental health difficulties. That is why I am encouraged that the Department of Health is providing £40 million for the Homeless Change and Platform for Life programmes. This will help address mental health issues by providing decent accommodation and health support for homeless people, and highlights the importance of services coming together to help those on the street with complex needs.
The Government has also encouraged local areas to develop and improve hospital discharge arrangements for people who are homeless through the £10 million Homeless Hospital Discharge Fund, including by more effective multi-agency working. In addition, £1 billion a year has been put in place to help alleviate mental health problems more generally.
I will do everything I can to hold the government to the manifesto pledge of halving rough sleeping by 2020.
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