I am delighted to write that yesterday the Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire MP, announced that the Government will be allocating £534,466 to Westminster Council and £215,348 to the City from its Rough Sleeping Initiative fund. Our two local authorities already do so much good work in this area and this extra funding will further help them to tackle this terribly sad problem. To read the Written Statement in Hansard click here.
I am today announcing the allocation of a targeted £30m Rough Sleeping Initiative fund to support those sleeping rough and those at risk of sleeping rough in 83 local authorities with the highest numbers of rough sleepers.
On 30 March 2018 we announced a new, cross-Whitehall, multidisciplinary Rough Sleeping Initiative. A £30m fund, targeted at areas with the highest levels of rough sleeping, was part of that package to support the work of the Rough Sleeping Initiative team.
Over the last few months our team of expert practitioners have worked closely with local authorities and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to identify service gaps and create tailored packages to tackle rough sleeping in their area this year. Together they have coproduced bespoke plans to tackle rough sleeping based on local government and the third sector knowledge of what works.
This represents a first significant step in our plans to reduce rough sleeping. It will be followed by a cross-Government strategy, published in July, which will set out how we intend to meet the manifesto commitment of halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it altogether by 2027.
This funding will provide for over 500 new staff focused on rough sleeping. This will include more outreach workers to engage with people on the streets, specialist mental health and substance misuse workers and dedicated co-ordinators to drive efforts to reduce rough sleeping in their areas. It will also provide for over 1700 new bedspaces including both emergency and settled accommodation.
The new Rough Sleeping Initiative team will work closely with local areas to implement the plans and to monitor their progress.
In recognition of the expertise needed to deliver reductions in rough sleeping immediately, Jeremy Swain, currently Chief Executive of the homelessness charity Thames Reach, has been brought in to lead the Rough Sleeping Initiative. Jeremy is an outstanding candidate for this position, and he brings with him 30 years of invaluable front-line experience. He will be in post by early July.
A full list of the individual amounts allocated to the 83 local authorities and the GLA has been published on GOV.UK. Further funding for 2019-20 will be announced shortly.
I am confident this package will achieve substantial results in these areas of high need. It will also build upon the work we have already undertaken in order to meet out manifesto commitment. This work includes, piloting the internationally proven Housing First approach in three major regions of England, allocating over £1.2 billion in order to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping, including more upfront funding so local authorities can proactively tackle homelessness pressures in their areas, and also the recent changes made under the Homelessness Reduction Act which means that more people will get the help they need and at an earlier stage - preventing a homelessness crisis from occurring in the first place.