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Crisis responds to Government’s refreshed Rough Sleeping Strategy

The Government has today (3rd September) refreshed its Rough Sleeping Strategy, building on the original strategy published in 2018, with new and updated measures and funding announcements.

The Conservative party committed to ending rough sleeping by 2024 in its 2019 manifesto.

Measures in this announcement include:

  • An extension of the hugely successful Housing First pilots, currently running in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Liverpool until 2025.
  • A new £200 million Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme, providing an extra 2,400 long term supported homes for those with the most complex needs.
  • Confirmation of an earlier commitment of £500 million over three years for the Rough Sleeping Initiative.

Government data showed a 9% fall in rough sleeping in England between 2020 and 2021, but figures from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) showed 2,998 people sleeping rough from April – June 2022 in London alone. This is an increase of 16% compared to the same period last year.

Responding to the Strategy, Matt Downie, Crisis Chief Executive, said: “Since the start of this strategy there has been some genuinely transformative action taken and we’re pleased to see further investment to provide the right accommodation and support, particularly through the new Single Homeless Programme Accommodation, the expansion of the Housing First pilots, and the launching of Crisis and DWP’s employer covenant, which will see businesses play their part in supporting staff at risk of homelessness.

“This updated strategy sets a foundation which the new Prime Minister can rightly build upon to deliver a truly ambitious and bold end to rough sleeping. We cannot ignore however that right now the cost of living crisis is applying immeasurable financial pressure to thousands. Many cannot pay their rent or keep the lights on, and risk being swept into the riptide of rough sleeping, which we know is all too difficult to escape from. Grasping the severity of this situation has never been more important.

“The success of this strategy now relies on the new Prime Minister stepping up to task in hand and ensuring that the wider policies that cause homelessness are being tackled by all of Government, starting by making sure that housing benefit covers people's rent, and that we tackle our severe lack of affordable homes, so we can prevent homelessness in an unprecedented cost of living crisis. Otherwise, we risk all of this becoming a wasted opportunity.

“We know it can be done, and what a legacy this could be for the new Prime Minister – to have finally ended rough sleeping for good.”