UK Government pledges further £310 million to tackle homelessness
lONDON: Councils will receive additional government support to prevent vulnerable people becoming homeless, the Communities Secretary has announced.
£310 million will be targeted at areas with high numbers of homeless people, those at risk of homelessness, or those living in temporary accommodation - helping them to rebuild their lives.
The funding represents a £47 million increase on this year and can be used to offer financial support for people to find a new home, to work with landlords to prevent evictions, or to provide temporary accommodation to ensure families have a roof over their head.
This underlines the government’s commitment to fully enforcing the Homelessness Reduction Act by ensuring councils have the funding they need to prevent homelessness and help more people sooner.
The funding is part of overall investment of more than £750 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping next year.
And this builds on the ongoing ‘Everyone In’ campaign, which is protecting thousands of lives during the pandemic by housing rough sleepers. By September, it had supported over 29,000 vulnerable people, with two-thirds now moved into settled accommodation.
To provide further help for those at risk of homelessness, the government has also ensured there is no bailiff enforcement action over the Christmas period apart from in the most serious cases. This builds on protections announced earlier this year, including six-month notice periods and new court rules meaning judges will prioritise the most serious of cases.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said:
As we look back on an incredibly challenging year, everyone who has helped protect rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness during this pandemic should be proud of the role they have played in our internationally recognised response.
Today I am announcing £310 million to help councils protect those at risk of homelessness in the year ahead. We have a moral duty to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society rebuild their lives and look forward to a brighter future, and this funding will help us to realise that ambition.
Minister for Housing and Rough Sleeping Kelly Tolhurst, said:
All of the charities, councils, housing providers and support groups have truly gone the extra mile this year to protect the most vulnerable in our society throughout the pandemic and I want to wholeheartedly thank all of those who have made this possible.
This new funding will play a vital role in helping councils provide better support to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place as we look to end rough sleeping once and for all.
The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 ensures people at risk of becoming homeless get help more quickly, with councils receiving funding to support them in these duties.
Since this came into force, over 270,000 households have had their homelessness successfully prevented or relieved through securing accommodation for more than six months.
This investment builds on more than £700 million government is spending on homelessness and rough sleeping this year. This has included the £15 million ‘Protect Programme’ scheme for councils which required extra support during the national restrictions and throughout winter to provide accommodation for rough sleepers.
We have also allocated £91.5 million to 274 councils in September to fund immediate support and interim accommodation for vulnerable people, as well as the £10 million Cold Weather Fund for councils to help to keep rough sleepers safe this winter.