Ending Homelessness through Policy and Campaigning

The challenge

A safe, stable and permanent home gives us the foundation we all need to be able to thrive.  Before the pandemic, an estimated 170,000 people were experiencing some form of homelessness in Great Britain, including sleeping rough or on some form of transport, sofa-surfing, squatting or staying in temporary accommodation such as shelters, hostels or B&Bs. 

The beginning of the pandemic was uniquely terrifying for people who were experiencing or facing the prospect of homelessness. Quick action was taken by government, and local councils, to protect people who were unable to self-isolate, through the ‘Everyone In’ initiative, which resulted in an estimated 15,000 homeless people moving into emergency self-contained accommodation.

However, as emergency measures and accommodation provisions are eased, now is the time to do what’s right and ensure that no one is forced to return to our streets or face prolonged stays in unsuitable temporary accommodations.

The solution

Home For All marks the beginning of the end of homelessness. Along with a greater focus on our own services and supporting the wider sector, Crisis is calling on the UK Government to commit to a plan which contains the actions needed to end homelessness for all. That’s why we’re asking you to join us in calling on the UK Government to commit to the following essential steps:

1. Roll-out Housing First across England  

Housing First is based on the principle of providing secure housing alongside an unconditional support offer for people facing interlocking challenges, often rooted in past trauma. It is internationally proven to be to the most effective way of supporting people, who have high support needs, out of the worst forms of homelessness.

2. Ensure no one across Britain is left without a safe place to stay because of their immigration status  

Ending homelessness in Great Britain will require removing the barriers that make it harder for people who have ‘no recourse to public funds’ to move out of homelessness. ’No recourse to public funds’ means that people are unable to apply for welfare or housing support as a result of their immigration status – they are effectively locked out of financial support from the state.  

The ‘Everyone In’ initiative to safely re-accommodate people from the street has given support into emergency accommodation based on need alone, and we must ensure that barriers to accessing housing and support are not reintroduced.  

3. Prevent people from becoming homeless by ensuring everyone can afford a home  

The welfare system is an anchor preventing people from being swept into poverty during difficult times. To stem a new tide of homelessness cases, the Government must permanently invest in housing benefit so it covers the cost of renting. In addition, the benefit cap, which limits the financial support people can receive must not constrain the effectiveness of other measures of support from the welfare system.

Whilst temporary evictions have been suspended in response to coronavirus, the UK Government must introduce emergency legal provisions so that judges can ensure people aren’t unfairly evicted because they can’t keep up with rent through no fault of their own.  

Finally, we need housing and welfare policies to work effectively together. That means significantly increasing the number of homes being built and made available at social rent levels.

4. Ensure everyone with nowhere safe to stay has access to emergency accommodation  

People experiencing homelessness are particularly exposed to coronavirus and will continue to be over coming months. The UK Government must introduce a new duty for local authorities in England to provide immediate emergency accommodation over the next 12 months to all those with nowhere safe to stay, regardless of whether they meet the current legal tests for homelessness support around priority need, local connection, intentional homelessness or immigration status.

How you can help

We will continue to work closely with government to make sure that these measures are as robust as possible, but need your support to make this the beginning of the end of homelessness. 

  • Campaign: Together we must make our voices heard in this pivotal moment for the whole of the UK and ask those in power to take action now. Join us in asking UK Government to urgently introduce emergency legislation and commit to a plan with the necessary measures to ensure everyone has a safe and settled home by writing to your local MP.
  • Share your skills: We always need pro bono support, research assistance and in-kind donations to strengthen our services and develop our staff: any ideas that you have for ways that you can play a unique role in supporting Crisis will be gratefully received. 
  • Donate: None of our work would be possible without the support of people like you. Supporters who fund our Home For All campaign will be directly enabling some of the most excluded people in the country, and those made recently homeless by the coronavirus pandemic, to access life-saving coaching support when they need it most. 

We are delighted to be partnering with Founders Pledge to end homelessness policy by policy. Please get in touch with the team today at philanthropy@crisis.org.uk to discuss how you can play a part in ending homelessness once and for all.