Response to the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy
published on 5 Sep 2022
Malcolm Page, Assistant Director of our Homelessness Services, said: “The Salvation Army welcomes this renewed commitment to tackling rough sleeping and to address the reasons why people end up forced to sleep on the streets.
"We know from our homelessness services that addiction support is a crucial part of helping many people move on from rough sleeping, so we are particularly encouraged to see some funding has been ring-fenced for that.
“We particularly welcome the plans to expand the Rough Sleeping Drug and Alcohol Treatment Grant, but we must be realistic about the challenges that we face.
“A recent Salvation Army report on homelessness funding found that:
- Homeless people’s deaths from drug poisoning have shot up 112 per cent, while funding for addiction services has dropped by 12 per cent since 2013.
- Funding for mental health services over the last decade has also gone down by 27 per cent, and figures for the number of people who are homeless with mental health problems has shown an increase of 19 per cent since 2018.
“Proper funding for support services is vital, and so The Salvation Army is calling for a commitment that more than 50% of future homelessness funding will be reserved for support services in future.
“Worse still, the cost of living crisis and the steep rise in inflation will also need to be taken into consideration. We are concerned that the annual £640M earmarked to tackle homelessness will no longer provide the level of support it was originally intended to. With inflation currently running at 10.1% and predicted to increase to 13% and higher over the winter, funding would need to increase to at least £705M to take this into account.
“Finally, we are standing ready to see rough sleeping increase as people struggle to make ends meet and become more vulnerable to losing their homes. Recent Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) stats show that there are new people being forced to sleep rough. We are seriously concerned that rough sleeping rates will start to rise.
“Measures need to be put in place to make sure that the cost of living crisis does not lead to a rough sleeping and homelessness crisis.”