Extra £254 million to tackle scourge of rough sleeping

The Government has pledged an extra quarter of a billion pounds to help tackle the scourge of rough sleeping.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said £254 million would go towards ending rough sleeping as he set out his Spending Review for next year.

The funds include £103 million announced earlier this year for accommodation and tackling substance misuse.

The new money will be used to fund the Rough Sleeping Initiative, which helps rough sleepers rebuild their lives, and support local authorities to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping.

The Government will also provide funds to help people who are at risk of becoming homeless following their release from prison into private rental tenancies.

This takes total resource funding for rough sleeping and homelessness in 2021-22 to £676 million, when including funds already announced.

A homeless person lies on the pavement during rush hour on the Strand in Westminster, London (Victoria Jones/PA)
A homeless person lies on the pavement during rush hour on the Strand in Westminster, London (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Treasury said it represents a 60% increase in cash terms from the spending allocated for rough sleeping and homelessness during the 2019 spending review.

The Government will also commit £87 million of capital funding in 2021-22 – primarily for the delivery of long-term accommodation for rough sleepers.

Homeless Link, a membership charity for frontline homelessness services, welcomed the measures but said they did not go far enough.

Chief executive Rick Henderson said: “While we commend the additional investment to help alleviate rough sleeping, we are concerned that the Spending Review falls short of ensuring that we are able to fulfil the ambition of preventing and ending homelessness in all its forms.

“In failing to prioritise the issue with fully-funded, sustainable services and a welfare safety net that works for everyone, we risk allowing the progress made during the first national lockdown to slip away, as a growing number of people are pushed into homelessness.

“We urge the Government to commit to taking a longer term preventative approach.”