Response to government announcement of rough sleeping taskforce

published on 5 May 2020

Man talking to Salvation Army officer

The Salvation Army has today welcomed the government's plans to set up a coronavirus rough sleeping taskforce.

Assistant Director of Homelessness Services Malcolm Page said: “The housing of rough sleepers during the lockdown offers a once in a generation opportunity to get people living on the streets the long-term support they need.

“We are pleased that the government has launched a taskforce, led by Dame Louise Casey to work with councils so that people can get sustained help to tackle the many complex reasons that led them to be on the streets which range from mental ill health, to domestic violence, to addictions.

“As one of the largest providers of homelessness support including specialist housing in more than 80 lifehouses plus night shelters, drop-ins and outreach street teams, The Salvation Army stands ready to work with the taskforce and get people off the streets for good.

“We know through our work with rough sleepers that the reasons for being homeless are often deep-seated and it is vital that any support provided is long-term and fully funded for the duration. It is a real step forward that local councils are getting this support from central Government, but we do want to see further details on how this is to be funded or whether this will come out of existing pots of money already announced.

“If one thing positive could come out of the lockdown then a meaningful and long-term structured effort to end rough sleeping could be it.”

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