The UK government will invest £100m in a new strategy to end rough sleeping by 2027, including funding for mental health services and support for housing initiatives.
The announcement follows a rise in homelessness in the UK over the past few years, and aims to halve rough sleeping by 2022 through the pursuit of a number of initiatives, and with £100m in funding. The strategy will follow a three-pronged approach, which ultimately aims to end rough sleeping by 2027.
The new approach will prioritise the prevention of rough sleeping by providing support to those at risk, as well as offering faster support to people who are already on the streets. Efforts will also concentrate on helping people to find new homes, recover from periods of rough sleeping and rebuild their lives.
How will the funding be allocated to make the strongest impact?
According to the government, some £30m will be provided to fund mental health support for rough sleepers, and a further £50m will be spent on affordable accommodation for people who are ready to move out of hostels and refuges. This funding will support recovery and the rehoming of rough sleepers.
More research will also be undertaken, particularly with regard to the nature and scale of homelessness among members of the LGBT community, and training will be offered to frontline staff to provide greater support to homeless LGBT people, as well as victims of domestic abuse and modern slavery, and those with substance abuse problems.
How realistic are the government’s aims to end rough sleeping?
According to UK Communities Secretary James Brokenshire, the strategy will ensure rough sleepers are given the support they need to find a place to settle, and thereby bring an end to rough sleeping. He said: “It is simply unacceptable that people have to sleep on the streets and I am determined to make it a thing of the past… These vulnerable people need our support and, through our expert-backed strategy, I am confident they will get it.”
Prime Minister Theresa May emphasised that there are challenges involved in addressing the problem, adding: “We recognise this is a complex issue – as well as ensuring people have somewhere to live, we have to deal with underlying problems and ultimately help people turn their lives around. The strategy launched today will help us act to prevent rough sleeping before it happens and make sure targeted support is reaching those that need it.”