Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Interim report response
published on 27 Jul 2021
Salvation Army Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant, said: “The Salvation Army welcomes the conclusions of the interim report from the Kerslake Commission on Rough Sleeping and Homelessness, and agrees that if the Government acts now, it can build on the amazing progress made by the ‘Everyone In’ scheme during the pandemic, which took rough sleepers off the streets and saved lives.
“The 'Everyone In' campaign represents one of the most positive recent developments in tackling homelessness and rough sleeping. We believe that this is an encouraging sign of the Government's commitment to eradicating rough sleeping, but they must act now.
“Recent data from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) shows that more than 11,000 people were recorded as rough sleeping in London in 2020/2021. This represents a three per cent increase on the previous year, and a 94% increase in the last decade. Much more needs to be done to ensure the long-term legacy of the 'Everyone In' campaign.
“Long term solutions are needed to avoid spiralling costs and rising numbers of homeless people, once the furlough scheme and other government support finishes at the end of September. We agree with the commission that the £20 uplift in Universal Credit should be kept, and that homelessness prevention strategies need further investmentment.
“Effectively tackling homesless requires more than just providing housing, Services must help people who need support to tackle the wider issues that lead to homelessness, including addiction, debt, unemployment, and mental ill health.
“Schemes like Housing First offer that essential wraparound support, and so we were pleased to see the Commission highlight the importance of the Housing First approach.We have seen first hand how effective combining housing with support is with our Housing First programmes in Scotland and Wales.
“The Salvation Army have also proved that innovative housing solutions like Malachi Place, a modular building project, are cost effective ways of targeting homelessness. We would like to see these projects extended to other areas.
“As this report makes clear, £370,000 could be saved if 40,000 people were prevented from experiencing homelessness for a year. This shows that investing in homelessness services makes economic as well as moral sense.
“The Salvation Army agrees that we are at a pivotal moment and the government has the opportunity to ensure the abolition of rough sleeping becomes a major part of their legacy. As the Kerslake Commission makes clear, this is a turning point where that commitment must start to become a reality.”