‘Plan needed to keep homeless off streets’

The Government needs to bring together a comprehensive national strategy to prevent rough sleepers and homeless people returning to the streets after the pandemic, according to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee.

Research by homeless charity Crisis has raised similar concerns, revealing that more than half of frontline services have seen a rise in homelessness resulting from the coronavirus crisis.

The Government has since promised to make 3,300 homes available within 12 months for rough sleepers housed in emergency pandemic accommodation.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said the Government will bring forward £160 million of its £381 million, four-year rough-sleeping budget to be spent this year.

As part of the package, 6,000 ‘housing units’ will be built, and rough sleepers housed and provided with support for mental health or substance-abuse issues.

Separately, the Government also announced that there will be a two-month extension on the ban on evictions from social or private rented accommodation.

Responding to the Crisis research, Cllr David Renard, the LGA’s Housing Spokesman, said: “Councils have faced significant challenges housing large numbers of homeless people in a short space of time. However, thanks to a monumental effort, the overwhelming majority – nearly 15,000 – of rough sleepers and homeless people have been found accommodation, while councils have also worked closely with those tenants who are experiencing financial difficulty to help them remain in their homes.

“While the recently announced funding for councils to support rough sleepers is positive, we still need clarity from government on what additional practical support will be available to councils to help them move people out of hotels and temporary accommodation, and into housing.”

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