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Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee report on the private rented sector and homelessness - Crisis response

A new report from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, released Wednesday 31 March, has highlighted the need for an exit plan to help the private rented sector emerge from lockdown.

The report’s recommendations to government include:

  • establish a system of financial support for renters who have amassed significant rent arrears during Covid-19 and bring forward this model as soon as possible
  • clarify the legal powers of local authorities to support all rough sleepers and homeless individuals during public health crises
  • establish a taskforce to specifically address the impact of no recourse to public funds on homelessness
  • invest in a social housebuilding programme that delivers 90,000 social rented homes a year for the next decade

Responding to the report and its recommendations, Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “There is no doubt that government action to protect those facing, and at risk of, homelessness during the pandemic transformed lives and prevented many people from destitution. Today’s report is so important as it highlights the need to look beyond the emergency response to achieve lasting change and real progress towards ending homelessness.

“As the economic impact of the pandemic continues to be felt and unemployment rates rise, we know many households are struggling to keep their heads above water. We simply must not see an influx in renters becoming newly homeless in the weeks and months to come.

“The clear and helpful recommendations of this report are very welcome as they provide a strong basis for a strategy to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness going forward. There must be an emphasis here on preventing homelessness before it happens. Addressing the poor supply of social homes and a financial support package for renters in arrears due to the pandemic must be an integral part of this.”