Rough sleeping commission launched

A new independent commission chaired by LGA President Lord Bob Kerslake has been launched to examine and learn the lessons from the emergency response to rough sleeping during the pandemic.

The Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping aims to help all agencies involved in supporting rough sleepers, and understand what is needed to embed good practice seen during the last year.

LGA Chairman Cllr James Jamieson, one of the commission’s 17 advisory board members, said: “The LGA is proud to represent councils on this important commission.

“Councils are determined to build on the success of the Everyone In initiative, which demonstrated what can be achieved when all parts of the public and voluntary sector work together to get people sleeping rough off the streets and into safe accommodation.

“It is vital we draw on lessons learned during the pandemic, so we can end rough sleeping and make sure no-one suffers the tragedy of becoming homeless.”

Meanwhile, a report by the Public Accounts Committee has recognised the “considerable achievement” of councils, the voluntary sector and government in housing people sleeping rough in the first wave of the pandemic.

However, it said the response exposed gaps in the Government’s approach to tackling rough sleeping.

The report found the 37,430 people who had been supported into accommodation by January 2021 was nearly nine times the last official estimate of people sleeping rough in England (4,266) made before the pandemic.

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